I recently read an article by Ed Catmull, cofounder of Pixar Animation Studios.
After launching the first ever all computer generated animated full feature film, and a story that touched millions; the Pixar team was on the brink of upheaval. He had gone out of his way to create a positive, progressive workplace, “I’d made a point of being accessible to our employees, wandering into people’s offices to check in and see what was going on. John Lasseter and I had very conscientiously tried to make sure that everyone at Pixar had a voice, that every job and every employee was treated with respect.” Even through all this, he missed a serious problem, an “ongoing rift between our creative and production departments.”
You see even though he had an open door policy, he had missed the issue, which nearly tore the studio apart. The pressure of making Toy Story had taken a told on everyone, and the open communication shut down. Not with Catmull himself, but with the associates he worked with being open and willing to talk to him.
Communication is the backbone of any organization, from the first year of pee-wee soccer to a multi-million dollar company such as Pixar. However communication goes both ways. Is it a great policy to have an “open door” to comments, concerns, and suggestions, however if no one takes that opportunity- then it really isn’t worth much.
While many argue listening is the greatest skill of communication, if there is no one talking- then what are you listening to? Speak up, let your thoughts be heard, don’t sit back and complain and grumble. Take action, start talking!
To read more of Catmull’s story, click here.