Disney is arguably one of the most successful companies operating today. Not only are they known for their blockbuster films like the wildly popular Frozen and the Marvel series, but they also sell experiences – their theme parks, complete with family friendly rides, shows, restaurants, and hotels, attract over 150 million global visitors annually [Smith, 2020]. Disney has figured out the perfect formula for creating nostalgia and selling memories.
However, Disney was not always the multimedia entertainment conglomerate that it is today. When entrepreneur and visionary Walt Disney first started the company, it was a pioneering animation studio, creating cartoons but not much else. Walt Disney had a much grander vision for his company though, and one that continues even today. Disney is such a successful company because it is constantly thinking about the next step – what can we do next? How can we continue to diversify? What can we do now to prepare ourselves for where we want to go? This forward, critical thinking is precisely what a company needs in order to succeed.
As the 2018 restructuring announcement illustrates [The Walt Disney Company, 2018], Disney is constantly thinking about its future and is quick to adapt internally to give itself the best chance of success. Disney understands that critical thinking doesn’t just mean deciding where you see the company in 5 years – it means evaluating your team and making sure you have the right resources (including the right leaders) to take the company where it wants to be. Your leaders need to have a clear understanding of what the vision is, and Disney’s 2018 reorganization did just that; it created 4 distinct business segments each with a specific plan for the future, and each segment is led by highly experienced executives who each would own a piece of the organization, but also collaborate together to get the best results. Critical thinking allowed Disney not only to come up with a future-ready plan for the company, but also put in motion a means of accomplishing it.
There is a common adage often repeated in the corporate world: “In business, you’re either growing or you’re dying.” Disney wholly subscribes to this idea, and this is why they are continually diversifying. They have progressed greatly from an animation startup to cover nearly every form of entertainment consumers use. Disney evaluates the entertainment landscape, where it’s likely to go (i.e. with its entrance into the streaming service space), and goes from there. This requires a high level of critical thinking as they must not only consider what is the best course of action now, but what will be the best course of action in the future. Media and technology are constantly evolving, and Disney is able to stay right on the cusp thanks to critical thinking and future planning.
Disney is able to use critical thinking and the current entertainment landscape to predict what consumers will want in the future. They take the information available today and extrapolate to what will be needed; they then organize their business and prepare their leaders for future success. This allows Disney to keep evolving with changing times and continue to be one of the most successful businesses year after year and decade after decade.
Smith, C. (2020, July 17). Annual Disney Park Attendance Statistics and Charts | Disney Parks Resources. Retrieved November 01, 2020, from https://disneynews.us/disney-parks-attendance/
The Walt Disney Company Announces Strategic Reorganization. (2018, June 27). Retrieved November 01, 2020, from https://thewaltdisneycompany.com/walt-disney-company-announces-strategic-reorganization/