Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Magical World of Corporate Culture Shock

Oh! So one of my bigggesssttt updates I need to address from the previous entry and forgot to do so is about the company’s corporate culture here at the Studios. I have been talking a lot lately with my roommate and several young co-workers about the environment and direction of the company, and it has always lead to some serious debate about future improvements. We talked about writing an email to the head of Walt Disney Pictures, the newly appointed Sean Bailey.

Not sure if you readers are aware, but the company is entering a new and interesting phase. I call it “The New Regime”. Back in October, the leaders and heads of the Studios stepped down after 30+ years of service, and then followed those closest to him. So for the last 8 months, Disney has been in a deep mode of transition trying to find new leadership and great projects. With a new President of the Studios, Rich Ross, President of WDPics, Sean Bailey, and President of Marketing, MT Carney, I think this company will face many new changes.

I have my own ideas as to what will happen and what could happen, but in this entry, I am writing a mockup email to Sean Bailey, President of Walt Disney Pictures. He will be the one responsible for what movies Disney creates for the next several years. From what I hear, he will do great and get this company back on track. While I have been temping, one of the biggest issues for me has been the contrast between the theme parks and corporate environment. I must say, the Studios is no where near as magical as I think it could be to work, and if I had any voice, I want him to be aware and listen to the youth of this growing company; this is what I would say…

Dear Mr. President,

I am writing you this letter today because, as you start your position as leader of the Walt Disney Studios, I want to make you aware of some areas I suggest that need improvement.

To start, “Congratulations” on your newly appointed role within the most astounding company on the planet. As the new President of the WDSMPG, I hope you will turn this company around and bring it back to the right track, which we seemed to have lost.

I have been a member of this company for almost 4 years now, and I do not dream of working anywhere else. I started working in the theme parks as a tour guide hoping it would get me into the company and I could make my way to the Studios. As of March this year, I have been doing just that. I would like to say that it is everything I have imagined, but I am saddened to say, I am going through a bit of Corporate Culture Shock.

I know I have been with the Studios a very short time, as have you, and I want to see this company reach its potential. I am not here to tell you how to do your job, but I want you to see it from the ground up. I want to represent the voice of the lower hierarchy, and I hope you listen.

First, I have started to notice that there is very little communication between the various facets of the company aside from the given Synergy department. I am talking about daily interaction and life on the lot. For example, Feature Animation does not talk too or really communicate with Live Action. We work across the street from one another, yet the work environments are two separate worlds. I am shocked to learn top execs from Live Action never heard of top execs at Animation. Isn’t this company built on the strength of synergy? How is it when a screening happens, say for Animation, the Live Action Cast Members never hear of it and vice versa? Or, how come one production department does not talk to another? We need this to change. We must communicate and be aware of each others’ presence in order to strengthen our projects, resources, knowledge and company.

Second, the physical work environment themselves are not in sync. How is it that Animation seems to uphold the tradition and passion of the heritage of this company and live action does not? For example, Animation has characters and drawings of Disney classic heritage all over the walls, celebrating where we came from. One instantly feels the connection and honor of the company just by walking into the building. However, Live Action has no sign of connection or brand loyalty. If judged from the outside, one would have no idea we worked for Disney unless he or she looked at my email signature. Where is the homage to our past, present, and future productions? We are built on a strong legacy, where is that pride?

If I have learned one thing from the theme parks, it would be to show brand loyalty and show it proud. Why do the Studios not uphold that? I want to see the characters from which this company was so strongly built. I want to see and feel a connection of happiness and pride with my fellow co-workers.

I was asked to through a party this week for work, and I was hoping to find pictures of the classic characters in a database to use as decorations and theming for the occasion. I was immensely disappointed to find this did not exist and no one wanted the characters in order to preserve its “professionalism.” Since when did the demeanor of our leaders become so unenthusiastic and indifferent? Mr. Bailey, we need more spirit; no ifs, ands or buts.

How are we to get that back? I think you know that answer; that is why you were chosen for you position. We need to go back to the basics. We don’t just need good films and projects, we need to remember where we came from and bring back the same classic stories we once made. That is where you come in. You are going to be the new voice of the company. I pray you find great content and great stories that will make our brand come alive again both on the screen and within its office walls. The Studios need to be reignited!

Lastly, I had read in the trades a few weeks back a quote between you and Rich Ross stating you want to bring new, young producers onto the lot. Well, I admire this concept, and I want you to know, some are already here, it is just they have no voice. I do not see the older generation of leaders mentoring and molding the youth of this company as much as they could. It seems the youth have no voice, which is quite the opposite from the theme parks. I would like to see the upper level executives work together more with those just starting their career. Our company has a renowned reputation on honing new leaders and pushing youth to work together as offered College Program, which I am an alumni. I think it is about time the Studios take responsibility for some of the leaders it has already branded through that program and young outside wannabes and teach as much as possible.

I know I may be a bit naïve and young, and who am I to voice such an opinion? Then I think who am I not too? I feel this company is so full of promise, and as it is taught in the theme parks, we need to respect the heritage and traditions where hence we came. Especially coming from the Studios, the Mecca of our company’s reputation, if we do not preserve the brand loyalty, communicate together on the principles of which we were founded, and maintain the childish eye of the viewer, I am afraid we may fall short of our previous accomplishments.

Please take what I have said into consideration. I want to feel pride among my fellow Cast Members in the Studios as I have at work. Our Corporate Culture can use a good improvement, and you have that power. I hope you understand where I am coming from and see some room for great changes. I am fully available and would be honored to talk about these changes with you if you are ever so willing.

I wish you the best of luck as you start your new journey, and I look forward to where we are going, just as long as we keep moving forward. Thank you for your time,



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