Today I saw the movie Saving Mr. Banks.  It is a classic feel-good Christmas film which recounts the untold story of how Walt Disney secured the rights to Mary Poppins and the process it took to get it to the big screen.

Featuring Emma Thompson as P.L. Travers, the author of Poppins, and the incomparable Tom Hanks as Walt Disney, this movie is really about the immeasurable impact fathers have on their children and the profound influence their legacy has on them as adults.  Go ahead and pencil Thompson in for an Oscar nomination.

The following are 25 Leadership Quotes And Lessons From Saving Mr. Banks:

  1. The Influence Of A Father – The greatest influence in a person’s life is their father.  Whether present or not, good or bad, no one puts a greater imprint on person’s life.
  2. The Mind Of A Creative – As Travers went through the creative process, her mind continually processed things at a deep and emotional level.  For more on how creatives view the world, read 16 Lessons On The Value And Challenge Of Having Artists And Creative Leaders In Today’s Church.
  3. The Power Of Collaboration – Though she was often an overwhelming challenge for the Disney staff, Travers’s contributions to the film helped make it the classic it is.
  4. People Love Predictable Environments – Andy Stanley teaches people invite their friends to churches with predictable environments.  Disney provided the same driver each day for Travers, a wonderful man named Ralph.
  5. “The rain brings life.”  “So does the sun.” – This exchange between Travers and Ralph shows the different views of the world leaders have.
  6. Leaders Are Humble – Travers tells the Disney staff upon meeting them, “No one likes a show-off.”
  7. Great Leaders Break Down Walls, Build Bridges And Are Approachable – Walt Disney only allowed people to call him by his first name.
  8. Great Fathers Have Integrity – Disney says, “A man cannot break a promise to his kids no matter how long it takes.”
  9. Great Fathers Are Reliable – Disney adds, “I have not broken on a promise to my two daughters because that’s what daddies do.”
  10. Great Leaders Are Great Stewards And Place High Value On What They Have Been Entrusted With – While trying to get Travers to sign over the rights of Mary Poppins, Disney ensure her, “The last thing I would do is tarnish a story I love.”
  11. People Need Simplicity Rather Than Complexity – While driving to the Disney Studios, Travers notices no one walking on the streets during a beautiful Southern California day.  Ralph responds, “A leisurely stroll is a gift.”
  12. Great Fathers Do What Is Necessary To Connect With Their Children – When asking why he shaves during a flashback scene, Travers’s father tells her, “A man must shave to swish his daughter’s cheeks.”
  13. Great Leaders Place The Mission Of Their Organization Above Their Personal Preferences – When Ms. Travers demanded no red colors in the movies, Disney relented because the making of the film and telling of the story was more important.
  14. Great Leaders Make Things That Are Lasting – When watching one of the rehearsal scenes, Disney remarked, “Forget ironic.  It’s iconic.”  Great leaders make things which become soundtracks to our lives.
  15. Great Leaders Think Long-Term – Many leaders look for the quick buck when the long-term impact of their idea is beyond their wildest dreams.  When Disney was tempted to sell the rights to Mickey Mouse earlier in his life, he decided against it because “the mouse is family”.  Can you imagine how the world would have been different if he did.
  16. “This world is just an illusion.” – While not an illusion, Christians understand this world is not our home.  We were made for Heaven.
  17. Great Leaders Learn From Other Areas Of Discipline – Travers tells her driver Ralph, “You ask a lot of questions that have nothing to do with your job.”
  18. Leaders Focus On Today – Ralph tells Travers, “You can worry about the future but you can’t do that.  Only today.”
  19. “Disappointments are to the soul what the thunderstorm is to the air.” – Travers
  20. God Wants To Tell A Great Story Through Everyone’s Life – Travers tells Ralph about his handicapped daughter, “Jane can do anything anyone else can do.”
  21. Partnerships Allow Leaders To Make Great Things Even Better – Travers says, “I opened the door to Mary Poppins and who should be there but Walt Disney.”
  22. “Rare is the day I don’t think of that 8-year-old boy in the snow with Elias Disney with a belt in his hands.” – Disney on remembering his childhood.
  23. “Forgiveness is what I learned from your books.” – Disney.  While it was from a different book, I learned forgiveness from a book as well, The Bible.
  24. The Power Of StoryTelling – Disney reminds us, “That’s what story tellers do.  We restore order to imagination.  We bring hope.”
  25. Honor Your Father – The story of Mary Poppins is of a daughter wanting to bring honor to her deeply-flawed father.  Many of us could learn lessons from her on doing the same.

In  conclusion, go see Saving Mr. Banks.  It is a fascinating movie about extraordinarily talented people and what makes them so.

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