Lessons from Disneyland

Build your map and build value

Have you ever been to Disneyland?  Millions of people, children and adults alike, have visited it and enjoyed its magic and experienced the wonder it has engendered. But did you know it nearly didn’t happen?

When Walt Disney first tried to get financial backing for his project – the future Disneyland – his own studio refused to fund it. So what did Walt Disney do?

He sent his brother, Ray, to meet with potential investors in New York. Imagine going to meet with potential investors to sell the concept of Disneyland – a concept that was new, unknown and untested. However, Walt Disney did not send his brother unarmed or empty-handed – he equipped him with a map of what Disneyland would look like.

Figure 1 – The Original Map for Disneyland

The map of Disneyland allowed Walt and Ray Disney to share the vision with their potential investors, it made the idea tangible for them, and provided them with a path that they could follow to see where this concept would lead it to.

Maps provide a point of reference for you and others, a guide to how you will achieve your vision, and a way by which people can align their interests and effort by creating buy-in and engagement. They reduce risk and provide a yardstick that you can measure your progress against.

What is the map that you have drawn, or have to draw, that you need to share with your stakeholders – your staff, your customers, your suppliers, your investors and shareholders, and your community. And when you have your map – how will you share it and communicate so it aligns their needs, interests and actions with those that you need?

The first map illustrating the Disneyland concept recently sold for over USD $1 million at auction. What will your map be worth to you in the future?


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