Spielberg Gets Ideas From Children

Great leaders don't think they have all the good ideas. Instead, they humbly solicit ideas from all levels of their organizations. Steven Spielberg is the most successful movie producer in the world. He's got plenty of creative ideas and has every right to tell the actors to sit quietly and allow him to tell them what to do. Yet, listen to actress Drew Barrymore tell how Spielberg worked with her and the other children in the movie E.T. ?Right off, I fell in love with Steven [Spielberg]. In many ways he was ? and always will be ? the dad I never had. I wanted so badly to be accepted by him, and when I was, it meant a lot to me. I was thrilled when he invited me to his Malibu house. We?d run along the beach, collect seashells, and build sand castles. It was so much fun to hang out with him. But working with Steven was even better. In most of the scenes he let me do whatever I wanted. All of us were free to offer input, but he especially seemed to like the silly things the kids came up with. Like in the scene where Henry, Robert, and I are hiding E.T. in the closet from our mother, Henry tells me that only kids can see E.T. There wasn?t a line to go with that, and Steven told me to just make something up. So when we did the scene again, I just shrugged and said, ?Gimme a break!? He?d often take me aside and say something like, ?You?re talking to me now. Do you really like this? Or do you have a different idea? Do you think it could be done a different way?? Eventually I?d add something and Steven would smile and say, ?Good, let?s combine ideas.? It made me feel so good. For once I didn?t feel like some stupid little kid trying to make people love me. I felt important and useful.? (Drew Barrymore with Todd Gold, Little Girl Lost, Pocket Books: New York, 1990, p. 58) The point? As leaders in the home and in the world, we desperately need good ideas. Also, we need to help our children and employees to feel ownership, like they're an important part of the team. To build your children's self-esteem, ask for their input. To make your employees feel good about their work, gather and reward their ideas. (Written by Steve Miller, Copyright May 6, 2002)

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