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Forced out? Maybe it’s a good thing

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in Workplace Communication

Imagine being at the top of your career, then very publicly and unceremoniously fired.

It happened to Jeffrey Katzenberg, when, as a studio head at The Walt Disney Co., the company forced him to resign. As painful as it was, though, it was one of the most valuable lessons of his career.

Why? Because after he left Disney he united with Steven Spielberg and David Geffen to form DreamWorks SKG, creating some of the most successful films of the 1990s and 2000s, including “Shrek.”

Katzenberg says, “I was kicked out the door. And everything about that, the humiliation of it, the embarrassment of it, the anger of it, the ego of it, all of those things that were all bad at the time, ultimately were invaluable, because that’s what fueled me to get on and understand that, if anything, I had been held back.”

It may also have been the “kick” he needed to evolve as a leader—something he admits he didn’t always excel at.

“Ultimately it was like getting pushed out the door, from the top of the building, and someone said, ‘You better spread your wings if you want to see whether you can fly.’”

— Adapted from “The Benefit of a Boot Out the Door,” Adam Bryant, The New York Times.

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