The Walt Disney Method is an NLP model based on the successful Walt Disney’s working method, who built a successful business empire based on creativity and a highly distinctive way of working. Not only was he able to work innovatively, but he also had an endless imagination with which he managed to breathe life into his simple drawings in a beautiful way.
When NLP guru Robert Dilts modeled Walt Disney’s work strategy in the 1980s, he analyzed the unique working style that distinguished Disney and found why Disney was many times more successful than other cartoonists. Read more about modeling successful people.
Today, the Disney strategy is widely used by large companies to formulate business strategies, flourish on formulas for success and simply brainstorm. The technique can also be used for personal goals in the Walt Disney method. You can also use the model to shape your growth plan.
Walt Disney Method in a nutshell
One of Walt Disney’s most important qualities was that he could perceive his ideas from different perspectives. From every perspective, he extracted the best qualities and fused them into a synergistic whole. His strategy involved always starting in the dreamer’s chair for all his characters and stories. Here everything was possible, and he brainstormed about everything his creative mind brought him.
Then he had a physically different place where his realist/planner chair was. In that place, he put all dreams and visions into perspective and created a movie in his mind with the individual characters. He then checked to what extent he could realize his plans. In doing so, he examined factors such as available resources, time, and resources and gathered all the information he needed to make his production a success.
He then moved himself to yet another physical location, in which he empathized with the critical viewer. What is the entertainment value of this production? Do certain scenes need to be removed or added? In the critic’s position, fundamental matters could be mentioned that could lead to a complete revision of the plan.
Three different positions of the Walt Disney Strategy
The Disney method, also known as the Disney strategy or Disney technique, is a way of organizing your thinking to achieve goals or dreams more effectively and efficiently.
Many of our plans and large multinationals or corporations fail because dreams, realism, and criticism are completely intertwined. As a result, our goals remain daydreaming and often end in nothing. Because of our way of thinking, and not because our plans are too demanding or just daydreaming.
Why limit ourselves when we are able to achieve great results? That was the question Dilts asked himself when he analyzed Walt Disney’s method. He unraveled the way of working and then turned it into the Disney Method.
The dreamer focuses on creativity. When you let your mind wander, it’s essential to do that in an inspiring environment. For one, a super cluttered room works. Someone else goes on a psychedelic magic mushroom trip. Make sure you know where you can get the most from your inspiration.
Everything is possible when dreaming and fantasizing. So don’t let yourself be limited by “that can’t be done” or by other self-limiting thoughts. Make a complete brain dump, and don’t hold yourself back. Especially in a context with a team, this is a very exciting possibility, since several people naturally know more than one, inspire and complement each other.
After a flip chart or A3 paper has been written and drawn with dreams and fantasies, it is up to the realist to think everything out. How will the plans and ideas be worked out? Who takes care of which tasks and which auxiliary troops must be called in for this? It’s especially important in this phase to think pragmatically. Especially when you operate in a team, this phase is considerably easier because you know more together than alone. You have to make choices and perhaps work on the plans. After the evaluation, you put together a plan to describe how you will realize the ideas. What and who do you need to put this into practice?
After the realist has drawn up an action plan on how to realize the project, the critic takes over from the realist. Walt Disney had a different physical place for the critic than for the other characters. With a critical thinking mode, the plans are reviewed and tested to identify any weaknesses. It’s also critically examined whether the plan can be successful and whether it can be a winning formula. In this setting, you – or if you work with a team – give constructive criticism of the idea to identify the weak points and resolve them in the final solution. In this phase, you ask the following questions:
- What’s wrong with the picture?
- What are we missing?
- Why can’t we apply it?
- What are the weaknesses of the plan?
- What do we need to get to a final plan?
In some cases, it’s necessary to get back to the drawing table.
How do you use the Walt Disney method?
You can use the Walt Disney Method alone when coaching others or in a team. With the following tips, you are assured of the optimal application.
Make sure you operate in different spaces, so a space for the dreamer, a space for the realist, and a space for the critic. This keeps the different thinking styles separate. Sometimes a fourth space is designated as a “time-out zone”, a neutral zone where you can let go of everything for a while.
Creativity often comes about through movement. Cycle, walk or meditate – or even better, do a walking meditation – to optimally use your subconscious mind in achieving creativity. Make sure to bring a notebook and a pen.
Others smoke a joint or drink a glass of alcohol. Make sure you know what works best for you or the team. The most successful strategies are often born on the back of a beer mat.
Add feelings and emotions to any location. This ensures that you are optimally in your role. A dreamer is relaxed and light-hearted in order to cultivate his / her creativity. A critic is cold-blooded and not hesitant to reject. The realist is the mediator between the dreamer and critic and constructively looks at the possibilities. So the point is that you empathize with the role you play. Submodalities to get into your role can be really helpful.
Anchor the feelings and emotions by location. For any role, it is absolutely advisable to anchor the feelings that the role entails. Assume a strict role in the position of critic, a relaxed role in the position of the dreamer, and a pragmatic, clear role in that of the realist.