by Kevin Hadden

“Even if you start with a bad idea, you can end up with a great result……If you have the right people”.

Ed Catmull. Pixar Co-Founder.

While listening to ‘Beyond Entrepreneurship 2.0 by Jim Collins (Jim Collins – Books – BE 2.0), this quote jumped out at me. The detailed example quoted by Jim Collins was in relation to the creation of Monsters Inc by Pixar Studios, where the original story idea would only bear a slight resemblance to the final product. Only when a team of excited, engaged, enthusiastic and creative people listened to the idea (but didn’t dismiss it) did the result of Monsters Inc, Mike & Sully start to come to life.

Ed Catmull’s quote raised a number of thoughts and questions that are vital to what Masters in Minds are all about. When our clients interact with us, in addition to product, process, strategy and structure, many of them also ask for support with real, effective leadership and management of people.

This brings us back to some of the questions raised by the quote from Ed Catmull…

  • If there are ‘right people’, then who are the ‘wrong people’?
  • Can the right people become the wrong people and the wrong people become the right people?


I wouldn’t disagree with the comments from Ed Catmull, but would add to them… “Even if you start with a bad idea, you can end up with a great result… only if you have the right people AND inspirational leadership”.


Can there be right and wrong people?

It may well be that some employees have been recruited (carelessly or to quickly fill a gap) who don’t have the skill set or capability required for the role they have, aren’t a good fit to the values and standard of the team they or organisation they are joining. It may well be that it doesn’t work out for them in that role. For want of a more appropriate description, at this point in time, these would be the ‘wrong people’ for the job in hand.

So, who are the right people? The most skilled?

The Skill Will Matrix was derived from ‘Situational Leadership’ ( by Paul Hersey and Ken Blanchard. This matrix is frequently well received by learners with Masters in Minds. It enables Managers and Leaders to identify where they and their teams are on the matrix, and also offers guidance on what action to take. For many, this is a ‘lightbulb moment’ when there’s the realisation that while we should treat people in the same manner and respect, we can and should have varying management and leadership approaches.

The matrix also illustrates that the right or wrong people will be impacted by the skill with which they are managed and led. With appropriate attention, focus, development and communication; the inspirational leaders will continually have more of the right people for the job – this is no fluke!

Inspirational Leadership is the game-changer!

At Masters in Minds, time and time again we find that the ‘right people’ are the people with the most inspirational leaders… the people who are genuinely connected to the purpose and vision of the leader and the organisation, and have a leader who has communicated these!

The people who have leaders that understand that the culture experienced by the employee is not just what’s printed on the organisation’s induction booklet, or what’s written on the slick signage on the wall; the culture is driven and built by how the leader thinks, by what the leader does and how they behave every minute of every day.

This is one of the sweet spots for Masters in Minds. To quote Julie McCann, our Managing Director… “We change how you think, not just what you do”.

The underpinning philosophy of Masters in Minds details that the results and outcomes you have are driven by what you do and most critically what you think, by how you think. The ‘Human-Being’ (BE) drives the ‘Human-Doing’ (DO) which gives your outcomes (HAVE).

For many, it can really help to reverse-engineer the Be, Do, Have philosophy.

The Masters in Minds challenge and mental work-out for us all to consider, whether in leadership or even in our personal life is…

Have: What results or outcomes (good or not so good) do you currently have in leading your team, function, organisation or wider aspects of your life?

Do: What actions or behaviours, choices or decisions have you made that have contributed to your results and outcomes?

Be: What has been your attitude towards a situation? What beliefs do you have? What thoughts did/do you have? All of these, you, the Human-Being have driven the Human-Doing and those actions, behaviours, choices and decisions.

Back to Pixar Studios, Ed Catmull and Monsters Inc…

So, let’s consider Ed Catmull. He knows that he had the ‘right people’ in Pixar Studios to create Monsters Inc and many other successful projects, however, it was as important that those people had the ‘right’ inspirational leader.

If we think of what Ed Catmull’s Be, Do, Have would have looked like…

Be: “I know I have the right people”, we can make this work, I want it to work…

Do: Don’t dismiss ideas, build on them. Be excited, interested and enthusiastic. Listen and ask questions.

Have: The result of the incredibly successful Monsters Inc, Mike & Sully.

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