Who’s the Leader of the Club

Posted on November 18th, 2013 in Perspectives on Leadership by John Jensen

Hello Leaders!

Most people who have read this blog in the past know that I am a huge Disney fan (as I have written about it before).  Today just so happens to be the anniversary of the release of “Steamboat Willie” (the first distributed Mickey Mouse cartoon).  Although “Steamboat Willie” was not the first Mickey Mouse cartoon to be created, today is often treated as the official birthday of Mickey Mouse (he’s 85 years old today).  So I thought today would be a good opportunity to take a look at some leadership lessons we could learn from Mickey Mouse.

Be Kind

Mickey Mouse has taken many different characteristics over the last 85 years.  During some times in history he has been more mischievous than during other times where he has been more of an average guy just trying to get by.  While in some Mickey Mouse cartoons he can be kind of mean (The Band Concert), Mickey has typically always been a kind friend to those around him.  Because of his kindness, his friends have always been willing to follow him and help him out in any way.  Goofy and Donald (despite Donald’s frequent outbursts about Mickey’s fame) have always remained loyal friends to Mickey.  This is a characteristic that is extremely important for any leader, because if nobody likes you, then no one will follow you.

Be Curious

Mickey has always been a curious character (Thru the Mirror), always trying to seek out adventure or something beyond anyone’s imagination (a frequent theme of the Disney brand).  But curiosity is something more than just that.  Curiosity is the way that we all learn new things and continue to grow as people.  If we aren’t curious, we will never grow and have new experiences.  Sometime’s Mickey’s curiosity gets him into trouble, but ultimately it’s what makes him an interesting character that we can relate to.

It’s Okay to Make Mistakes

A lot of the time when we think about leadership we strive for perfection, but we are all going to make mistakes and that’s okay (The Barn Dance).  Mistakes keep us humble, vulnerable, and human (unless you’re Mickey, in which case you would be a mouse).  Being humble, vulnerable, and human are extremely important to leadership.  It is what keeps us grounded and keeps the people around us willing to continue to follow.  Despite popular belief, people do not want larger than life leaders.  These people are often fake and superficial and are not the best leaders we could get.  People who make mistakes are more real and we are able to relate with them better, which makes us more willing to follow.  In addition to this, not every ending is happy (See ‘The Barn Dance’).  This is also okay.  We will fail, but as you have probably heard, our failures are what eventually lead to our successes.  You learn from your failures and aim to do better the next time.

Be Yourself, Have Fun, and Be a Friend

Lastly, all anyone wants you to be is yourself.  Acting like someone else is not going to help get anyone to follow you, being a real person will bring other people to you.  Have fun, even if you make mistakes, enjoying yourself is extremely important.  If you don’t enjoy what you do, how could you expect anyone else to enjoy doing it either.  Even through tough times, it is important to always be a friend to those around you.  Friendship is extremely important in leadership and in life.


There are probably tons of more leadership lessons we could learn from Mickey Mouse (or any other Disney character for that matter), but I think that these are really the key ones to take away.  Happy 85th Birthday, Mickey.


Until Next Time,


“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

Believe in yourselves, dream, try, do good

Posted on November 6th, 2013 in Perspectives on Leadership by John Jensen

Hello Leaders,

Did you know that the complete series of Boy Meets World just came out on DVD yesterday?!?!?!  Are you stoked?

For anyone who has never seen Boy Meets World, first off shame on you.  Boy Meets World was a hugely popular television series in the ’90s that went on for about 7 seasons that followed the main character, Cory, through middle and high school.  You probably should go watch it.  Cory’s teacher, Mr. Feeny, always managed to become Cory’s teacher throughout his entire academic career, and was typically irritated with Cory’s antics.  However, Mr. Feeny’s wisdom is definitely worth noting and highlighting some of his great lessons that he taught throughout the course of the show.

There is an awesome BuzzFeed article called “The 13 Most Important Life Lessons Learned From Mr. Feeny on “Boy Meets World” that you should really check out.

The two bits on here that I would like to highlight are the following

1. “See, it’s not enough to leave schools and just desire to succeed in this cold, cruel world.  because then you’ve simply become a part of it.  You must also have the desire to change it.  And to change it, you’ll need your fine mind, and his good heart.”

Here Mr. Feeny is saying that success after leaving school is not just about getting a job and making a living, it is also about changing things and making a difference.  All to often I hear from college students that their goal is to get a job for the time that they graduate and then their life will be complete.  However, money is not everything and to truly be fulfilled you need to do things that make you happy, you need to inspire change and make a difference.

2. “Believe in yourselves, dream, try.  Do good.”

This quote is from the last episode of Boy Meets World when the main characters visit Mr. Feeny’s classroom one last time after they graduate from High School asking for one last lesson.  This moment was one of only a few moments of complete compassion from Mr. Feeny throughout the series.  In this one statement Mr. Feeny sums up all of the lessons of the show.  There is a funny moment (at least to me) where Cory’s girlfriend Topenga says “Don’t you mean well?”  To which Feeny responds, that he indeed means to say “Do good.”  As “That Guy that Corrects People When They Say Good vs. Well”, I think this statement is actually very profound.  Mr. Feeny is giving them a call to action to go out into the world and make a difference.  Do good things, help people, and inspire change.

Until Next Time, Believe in yourselves, dream, try. Do good. (and watch Boy Meets World)