Business & Tech

5 business tips Robert Kraft learned from the CEO of Disney

The Walt Disney Company's CEO Robert Iger speaks with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during a talk hosted by the Boston College CEO Club in Boston.

Keith Bedford/Globe Staff

The Walt Disney Company's CEO Robert Iger speaks with New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft during a talk hosted by the Boston College CEO Club in Boston.

Where does Robert Kraft, one of the state’s most successful businessmen, turn for management advice? Try Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger.

Kraft interviewed Iger, a longtime friend and business associate, at a meeting of the Boston College Chief Executives Club on Wednesday. Among Kraft’s questions: As someone who leads a company with more than $50 billion in annual revenue, what do you see as the most important leadership qualities to have?

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Here are the traits that Iger, who has led the California-based entertainment conglomerate for 11 years, said has worked for his team:

1. High quality standards. You must “make sure most of your capital is put into creating quality.” It’s hard to find examples of “something that is of great quality that does not create great value.”

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2. Courage. Decision making isn’t always for the faint of heart. Sometimes you have to take risks, guided by a belief in what’s best for the company. “It takes a lot of guts,” he said. “A lot of these decisions are singular in nature.”

3. Curiosity. Companies need to evolve, and that often means being open to new approaches and ways of thinking. If you’re not curious, Iger said, “you don’t try new things, you don’t innovate, you don’t discover new places.”

4. Focus. When marshalling the forces of an organization, large or small, be clear about your priorities: “People need to understand what you believe is important.”

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5. Decisiveness. CEOs often have a wide range of opinions at their disposal. But they usually don’t have the luxury of time. “It’s very easy to weigh decisions for a long period of time,” Iger said. “You don’t have the luxury of doing that in a world that is so dynamic and so competitive.”

Jon Chesto can be reached at jon.chesto@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @jonchesto.
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