Last week, I had the privilege of visiting the studios of Pixar, the animation film company in Emeryville, California, best known for films such as Toy Story, Cars, Finding Nemo, Up and most recently, Brave.
Although film animation and professional services are two very different industries, I believe there is much that firms can learn from Pixar. Here's what I noticed:
1. Warm welcome - Everyone with whom I came into contact at Pixar showed warmth, respect and courtesy to guests and each other.
2. Pride - The cabinet in reception displaying a vast array of awards including several Oscars was evidence of the pride in Pixar's achievements over the years.
3. Family - Everyone who works at Pixar is referred to as 'family'; there are blown up photos on the walls in the corridor of past Pixar events - what they describe as the 'Family Album'.
4. Design - The entire campus, - offices, eating areas and recreational facilities, has been designed with one thing in mind - to support the 1,200-strong Pixar 'family' and to create a great space in which to work and share ideas.
5. Displays - The walls along the corridors are adorned with pictures and stories about how Pixar movies are made, rather like a museum.
6. Relaxed mood - I felt as though I was visiting a university campus for grown-ups. No dress code, no time-sheets, but an overall sense of professionalism, fun and creativity.
As my nephew who works there said to me, 'it is an honour and a privilege to work here. I love coming to work because it doesn't feel like 'work'; we all have fun while getting the job done.'
Can you say that about your firm?