Who Disney calls when it’s out of ideas

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers

Thirty years ago, Epcot opened, and Walt Disney Co. completed its original vision of the Disney theme park.

The Imagineers, the company’s creative design and development team, then asked: Now what? Where could the company go next?

To find the answer, Disney leadership did something unconventional. They called in Ron Alexander, a therapist and meditation teacher.

“Over two years, I did a series of seminars on creativity, re-engineering, and revisioning, so that individuals in the division could begin to access new creative directions,” he says.

The Imagineers went on to open Tokyo Disney, Disneyland Paris, and Hong Kong Disneyland. And Alexander went on to work with other creative workers.

He asks all his clients to exercise their minds by meditating 12 min­­­­­­­­­utes daily.

“Mindfulness helps you to build what I call ‘mind strength,’” Alexander says. “This is an excellent strategy for ... transforming yourself and the people who work with and for you.”

Here’s Alexander’s method for mindful meditation, from his book Wise Mind, Open Mind:

√ Keep a tablet and pen nearby as you meditate, so you can jot down distractions quickly, then remove them.

√ Lie down, sit cross-legged or in a straight-back chair, feet on the floor. If lying down, keep your eyes slightly open; if sitting, close your eyes gently.

√ Set an alarm to end the meditation after 12 to 20 minutes.

√ Concentrate on your breath entering and leaving your nostrils, or on the rise and fall of your belly.

√ When thoughts or feelings arise, acknowledge them, but then refocus on your breathing.

— Adapted from “Exercising the mind’s muscle,” Anya Kamenetz, Fast Company.

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