Dave Goodman: Creative Leadership in the 21st Century

Eller PDC PDC Events

This past Wednesday we were fortunate to have Dave Goodman, the former VP of Walt Disney Entertainment and current CEO of a creative consulting firm, to speak to us about creative leadership. Those of us who were able to attend the event also had the opportunity to engage in a cool career mapping activity. But here are a few takeaways that everyone can draw inspiration from:

“There is no right place at the right time. Everything that happens in your life–it’s always the right place at the right time.” Leaders don’t wait for opportunities to come to them; rather, they take their current situation and turn into an opportunity for themselves. And in today’s world of continuous, fast-paced change, there are more opportunities for us than ever before.

There is a difference between being a manager and being a leader. To name a few traits: managers are profit-oriented, follow a standard order of procedure, are reactive to problems, and supervise and use others. On the other hand, leaders are people-oriented, do what’s right based on a vision, and empower and mentor others.

Finally, Dave shared what he believes are the four essential traits of a great leader based on his many years of experience working in the entertainment services industry:

1. People first: As mentioned before, this trait distinguishes a leader from a manager. Developing the potential of everyone in your team is essential to overall success.

2. Curious: This goes back to our constantly changing environment; an insatiable desire to learn helps us to keep up with the world.

3. Energetic: Energy is infectious, and people will not want to let you down if you show passion towards whatever it is you are leading. Further, we are most potent as leaders when we are doing what we want and love to do.

4. 20/20 Vision: Being able to look ahead and anticipate change will make us more adaptable as leaders. But Dave was also referring to social responsibility, something that more and more people are looking for in businesses and organizations today. The ability to forsee how our actions are socially and environmentally impactful in the future is crucial to long term success.

Above all, Dave emphasized the importance of being able to generate ideas and creativity, which together are “the currency of the future”.

Dave Goodman’s Creative Leadership for the 21st Century was one of two speaker series to celebrate Eller’s 100th Year Anniversary. You can also find a summary what our other speaker, Dean Len Jessup, had to say about the future of Eller