Optimization is another word for "magic." I define optimization as processes performed with minimal effort, maximum efficiency.
Minimum effort, maximum efficiency is a way of life. It is also an excellent business philosophy. But, what does minimum effort, maximum efficiency look like?
My Grandpa Bill is a pristine example of minimum effort, maximum efficiency. Following countless military tours in the United States Marine Corps, Grandpa Bill retired to work for Walt Disney. My grandfather's title shifted from 4-star rank Marine Captain to Head of Waste Removal at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom.
The family's memory of Grandpa Bill's employment change is vivid. (Full disclosure: I have boasted many more times, "my grandfather was the 25th employee of Walt Disney" than I have boasted, "my grandfather served in 3 differen wars.") My mother remembers Grandpa Bill's pride. Before Magic Kingdom's grand opening, Grandpa Bill gave tours of the amusement park's "behind-the-scenes", entirely underground utility system! My grandfather took pleasure in Walt Disney's insistence on optimization.
Disney’s penchant for “magic” is the focus on process—the drive and ability to optimize the mundane. He knew that the deliverance of a magical experience each and every time is dependent on developing processes that allow you to do so. What is now coined as the "Disney Utilidor System," short for utility corridors, grant employees like my Grandpa Bill the space to perform park support operations, such as trash removal, out of guests' sight. This avoids ruining the illusion being created.
Extra credit family history note: my dad earned some summer wages digging trenches and getting bit by marsh snakes during development of the smaller utilidor system at Orlando, Florida's Epcot. Walt Disney was a minimal effort, maximum efficiency visionary. Still today, the utilidor system at Walt Dsiney World's Magic Kindgom holds some of the world's largest utility tunnels.
To run a business like Walt Disney, you have to think about minimal effort, maximum efficiency in terms of small building blocks. If "magic" means optimization, then "magic" means this blog post is optimized. It's not. Come to think of it. Weenta Productions’ Instagram feed also needs work.
Instagram, the blog, the tone of each and every client email, the distance between trash cans at Walt Disney World's Magic Kingdom, none of these things are trifling. They are necessary building blocks of a successful company. Moreover, the optimization of all these building blocks means "magic."
I'm talking that Disney boast-worthy kind of "magic." “Disney World,” has a 70% return rate. 70% return rate is business speak for…your family, my family…2/3 of every single family who spends their life savings on Disney World will do it all over again. A 2nd life savings on the same trip? Damn. Those Disney trips cost. That’s customer loyalty on a whole other level.
So...As I think about what does it mean to co-direct a successful video production company, I invoke Grandpa Bill.
In our most recent, Women-in-Business Challenge session - “Strategic Growth Planning,” challenged me to think about “how” questions. “Continue to ask yourself how?… this will allow you as entrepreneurs to see the details of a problem right away and then come up with an appropriate strategy," explained Klassi Duncan, Director of the Greater New Orleans Urban League and Women’s Resource Center.
A list of how" questions I jotted down in my notes:
How do people experience your business??? How do we communicate these core values effectively? How can Weenta Productions provide a service that is different from our competitors? How can I engage people? How can Weenta Productions be a better company? How can Weenta Productions be more like Disney? But, how is does Disney do it….magic?
Yup. “Magic” is the right answer. “Magic” meaning Disney World’s trash is over-optimized and over-managed. "Magic" meaning minimal effort, maximum efficiency.