Why a Blue Sky Mindset Matters by Cydni Tetro

Automatic Summary

Embracing the Blue Sky Mindset for Growth

In my recent sessions, I have discussed the idea of a 'blue sky mindset'. It is an empowering perspective that sees limitless opportunities and envisions growth beyond boundaries. This mindset is inspired by the Blue Sky Group from Disney, where they design creativity and innovation without tangible constraints. This kind of mindset can help you in building a career, leading companies, embracing opportunities, and seeing beyond the limits.

Blue Sky Mindset: Why it Matters

For those not yet familiar, the blue sky mindset is about championing a world without limits – a belief that your potential is as vast and limitless as the blue sky itself. You must not be afraid to seize opportunities. You can't predict when certain opportunities may present themselves again, so the courage to just jump in and go for it is crucial. This is the essence of a blue sky mindset.

Turn Ideas Into Action

One of the distinguishing traits of individuals with a blue sky mindset is their ability to turn ideas into action. These are the people that activate and execute, building great companies and creating phenomenal opportunities. An example can be found in the personalized 3D printing industry, where ideas were turned into tangible products with major companies like Marvel and Star Wars, showing how you can turn these opportunities into reality.

Mastering the Art of Deal Sense

In the blue sky mindset, another aspect comes into play which I like to call 'deal sense'. People with this mindset excel at understanding the creation of value in partnerships with others. Every day we are creating value exchanges and negotiating deals between employees, between partners, and between companies. In fact, people with a blue sky mindset are so good at understanding the factors at play, they can often anticipate and meet the needs of others in order to create optimized outcomes. The ability to create win-win situations is paramount, as it fosters an environment for both values to grow and flourish.

Create Things That Matter

People embracing the blue sky mindset are committed to creating things that matter. Whether it is a business venture or a simple interaction, they are focused on building uplifting experiences, accelerating opportunities, and creating lasting impacts. An example from personal experience is my involvement with the Women Tech Council where I joined forces with other women in tech to empower and inspire young girls to pursue STEM pathways. This is a testament that the blue sky mindset goes beyond personal success – it's about using your abilities to impact others and change lives for the better.

Live by The Rule of One More

An essential valor in the blue sky mindset is the rule of 'one more'. Whether it is one more push-up in your workout, or inviting one more person to a networking event or giving one more employee access into boardroom meetings, these seemingly small things build up over time, which can serve as a catalyst for change and success. When we all do this, it can open doors for new opportunities and better outcomes.

Receiving Feedback

Lastly, individuals with the blue sky mindset are always open to receiving feedback. They listen carefully and reflect on ways they can do better. They perpetually strive to improve and never hold back in asking for feedback, for they understand that feedback is the path to securing better outcomes.

In conclusion, the blue sky mindset encourages us to think about what we could do to make a difference and to broadening our horizons to embrace limitless opportunities. I hope this post has inspired you, like the blue sky above us, to think without borders and harness the power within you to change and make a difference in the world.

Video Transcription

Thanks for joining today. This is a great conference and it's great to connect with everyone. Um Also, I'll, you know, watch the chat as we're going to so feel free to throw any questions out.Um As we go and hopefully in our short 20 minutes here, I can share with you some of the um thoughts and ideas around this idea that is this blue sky mindset. Um I'm gonna share a couple of slides in and out, but I'll also like go on camera so we can kind of see each other in the. Um And a few years ago I was working for Disney and at Disney, there was a group called the Blue Sky Group and it really created this mindset for me around how to think about kind of this world without limits. So actually, if you look behind me and you see the blue sky or you look out your window, if it's daytime where you are. Um And if you look up at a blue sky, one of the things that you'll notice is there's nothing that obstructs your view. There's this idea that everything is completely limitless and you can accomplish anything you can imagine, there's nothing that hinders what the possibility is for growth.

And you know, as I think about being a woman in tech and building a career and leading companies and teams, one of the things that has become really important to me is this idea that you can have this blue sky mindset that you can see beyond limits, that you can have opportunities and that you can really embrace them.

And so I thought in my short time here, I would share with you some of this idea, some of these ideas around what it means to have a blue sky mindset and why it matters and just walk you through a few, a few of those ideas um as in our time here. So one of the things that to think that I think about first or one of those kind of ideas around why the blue sky mindset matters um and things that I've learned that really allow you to embrace this mindset is this idea of, don't be, I've not been afraid to just go for it when you have opportunities.

Um At the time that I got um the opportunity to go and work for Disney, I spent about 5.5 years there. Um It was this, there was, you know, the way, the way that it is all unfolded is I had been a CMO at a tech company and like the CTO who had been there, he went to head of this group instead of I Imagineering called Disney Research, really focused on technology challenges the Disney Company would face again for the next decade.

And they got to this point where they needed people with business mindsets to be able to come in and help figure out how to make businesses out of it. I remember flying down having these interviews with them. I come back and Tom's like, OK, said, we'd love for you to come do this. But here's the deal. It's a brand new role. I don't know exactly what it looks like. I don't know how long it's for. I can't tell you exactly what all the projects look like, but I think that you should do this and I think it would be amazing. And I remember in those moments pausing for maybe just 10 seconds and saying, I don't know when I'm ever going to get this opportunity again and I'm gonna jump all in and this idea that you can put fear aside and you can just jump in and not be afraid to just go for it. I think is part of what creates a blue sky mindset. This idea that no matter where you're at right now, if you take advantage of opportunities, then you will have outcomes that really empower you for the next step. That for me, it was really the first time in my career that I said, I'm not planning exactly what that next thing is I'm gonna jump at this opportunity because I don't think I'll get the call again that says, are you willing to take this opportunity and can you do it?

And from that one kind of crazy discussion of like, hey, I don't know how long this will be or what this looks for. I ended up staying for 5.5 years um and focused on creating these businesses out of technology and it really was a completely like magical time of my career and being able to build these businesses inside of a large corporation like Disney. So then when I think about like the one of the next things that I think are really important in this idea of the blue sky mindset. Um is this idea that I think people who have a blue sky mindset are really the people that can turn ideas into action. I'm a very big belief in being an activator. I think they build great companies. I think those people who can take ideas and strategy and then turn them into execution, create phenomenal opportunities. So a couple of years ago, I started a company in the personalized 3D printing space where we could literally make you Iron Man. And we created partnerships with Marvel and Star Wars. Here you can see eventually, Hasbro built an Act, a toy line for us and that had posible action figures and this was a super fun business to build.

But when I think about this idea of how you turn ideas into action. And I, I think that that is part of your willingness to see. Now, this was a company that we started. We had this great idea, we had these great relationships. We had partnerships with everyone from the NFL to the MLB, to Marvel to Star Wars, to Harry Potter, to gaming companies like Halo and Assassin's Creed. Um Really any of the IP companies we've become partners with. But then it really became about how do you activate these ideas.

So we did our very first launch at Comic Con and, you know, Comic Con in San Diego is this amazing place with all of the IP companies. We met a bunch of relationships and when I right after we launched the, the company and the kind of the product line there, and I came back from Comic Con, I got this phone call that said, hey, Sid, how many Walmarts could you launch? And for superhero September, which happened to be like 75 days away from the day that we were looking at. And, you know, we had this idea, we were building this company and again, this idea that when something happens, how do you turn it into reality? And so we said, we don't know when this call is coming. Again, we're gonna take this idea of launching for superhero September and jump all in. Now, the really interesting part about this is, we were really built and ready for retail. And so over the course of six days, you know, I looked at our product and we were selling these full collectibles and we ended up having to need, I, the price point was too high for what I thought would do well in Walmart. So we ended up needing to create a new product. So the contact Hasbro to see if that worked with us for the course of 60 days, we created a toy line. We changed our pricing structure.

We built infrastructure to go into the Walmarts and somehow magically, we launched in 60 days for superhero September and it included us building action figures by like popping heads off these action figures and putting 3D printed ones and, and repackaging them and delivering them to customers all in this really crazy accelerated time frame, even looking back at it.

Now, I don't know how we did it all. But what I know is that the mindset of the team was completely focused on how you take ideas and you turn them into action. It's how you build great companies. It's how you build great teams. It's how you derisk big ideas. So when you have this mindset, you are able to do creation in a way that sometimes hinders others. And so I really encourage you when you think about a world where opportunities are the things that you're going after and that's really how I operate I think one of the things that you can embrace is that you can be an activator that you can drive the execution and not just the ideas but validate those and introduce them to market and really be willing to have this mindset of whatever comes at me.

I'm gonna pivot, I'm going to adjust. I mean, I remember with the superheroes and I still have the heads at my house because we had to pop all the heads off and replace them. Um And we had to come up with attachment systems for that and we had to do really creative things that we would never have imagined from the beginning. But the mindset allowed us to launch and then that created this acceleration for future launches into toys R us and into Target. Um And really across the country, we did installs at the World Series at the Super Bowl at all these places where those would never have happened.

Had we not been willing to jump in and just solve these problems? Um And really just take action for great ideas that we had and not think about all the reasons we would fail, but all the reasons we could not possibly make it happen. And of course, the destination was winding, not a straight line, but it got us exactly to the place that we needed to be. One of the other things that I think you have to learn along the way is this idea of deal sense. So about a year and a half ago, I jumped in to run a company called Brand List that was acquired from a private equity firm. And today, you know, we look, we, we acquire mission driven like minded brands and bring them into the platform. One of the things that I had, you know, that I've really been anchored in is this idea that I talk about, that's called deals sense. When you're creating deals, when you're building companies and relationships, I think at the core of it is this idea that you become very good at understanding how you create value in partnerships with other people because I don't think deals are just the deals that we do for multimillion dollar sales contracts or partnerships and strategic agreements.

I think every day of our lives, we are creating value exchanges and ultimately negotiating deals between employees between partners, between companies. You know, a su who's really focused today on acquiring lots of companies and negotiating deals all the time, like daily or negotiations.

This idea that you could walk into a room and worry less about what you're saying. And more about what the other person needs that you can create situations where you have your sense of relationship building tuned so high I think is the hallmark of someone who can see a world full of opportunities because you know how to negotiate a couple of years ago when um I was there was a deal that had been structured um, in a company that we were building and the deal wasn't making us any money.

We were completely losing money on this deal and it was a multi, it should be a multimillion dollar deal for us and it was only a couple 100,000 and we were spending enough resources that it should have been a multimillion dollar deal. And I remember having to go into, you know, the CEO of a company was about $10 billion in negotiating this deal. And, and the thing that we ended up talking about was actually this idea of deal sense that people want to create value between each other. And if you can understand what someone else needs from you and you can deliver that um in the context of that relationship, you create these environments where people really want to work together and they feel aligned and incentive for the outcome. And I think it's a skill set that requires a lot of um a lot of work to really be able to read a room to not be so focused on yourself that you can't understand how to stop, how to pause, how to not give the presentation that you are expecting and how to react to what other people need in that moment in order to move, to move forward for you.

And it's this constant pivoting in other people. And sometimes we're so busy making sure we deliver what we want, that we forget that it's all about what the other people in the room want and the more we feel like we can meet them where they need to be, the better our outcomes are. And people who think in the blue sky mindset are very good at this. They're very good at reading people reading rooms and then in the mid, in the moment, modifying what they're doing in order to get the outcomes that they want along the way. So it's one of the things that I would encourage you to really think about and to really put into the, the skills that you're building. In addition to that, there's this idea that it doesn't have to be a zero sum game. This is really also tied to that deal since I don't have, you don't have to lose for me to win. We can create environments where no matter what we create opportunities that create benefit for both sides. Sometimes we live in a world where people think that someone has to lose and someone has to win. But those deals never end up being great for someone.

When I think about the negotiations that we do every day, I'm not trying to create a deal structure where someone's so frustrated on the other side that once a deal is closed, no one feels good about moving forward. I want when win solutions, I want both sides to win. As I mentioned a moment ago when I went in to renegotiate this deal, it was all about a win win situation. I walked in and I said, look, this isn't working for us. We can't cover our costs. We're adding all of this value. We, we think we need things that kind of work for us this way. And we walked out with a multimillion dollar deal structure because it was adding enough value for them. It could meet what I needed, we could figure out what the economics were and we could deliver that value. And I think that we should all have that mindset. You don't have to lose. I don't want you to lose. I actually want you to win because when you win, the pie gets bigger and the returns get greater. And you know, we often say that you should work with people, you like people you trust and then you end up making money together. And that's the world that we, that is the world that I want to live in. It's the world that I want other people to live in with me. And it's the world that I think gets us to better places with better outcomes and people.

So as you're thinking about things, and I think this is true with employees. I think this is true with partners that we create. I think it's true in sales deal, the more we're focused on creating value, creating win win situations for both sides, the better we end up being when we're at the end or when we're developing the relationship because now we're aligned and we both appreciate that we're trying to do great things for great people.

And every time we're not aligned, we end up creating conflicts and the deals very rarely continue to move forward. Or the relationships really struggle along the way. The next one that I want to leave with you, um, is that I think people with the blue sky mindset build things that matter. They're heavily invested, not just in, you know, the day to day activities, but giving their time and talent to things that make a difference. This picture here is a group of young, I, in addition to my day job, about 14 years ago, we started an organization called the Women Tech Council and we run this program called She Tech that has had about 20,000 high school girls go through it and it's all about how we activate these high school girls into stem pathways and introduce them to mentors and role models.

And when I think about the thousands of volunteers that it takes every year for that and about things that I care about investing my time in. It is about building things that last and about building things that lift people up that accelerate opportunity. Um And that create impact in a way that is bigger than who I can just be in any moment. But that creates these inclusive environments for success and continuing success. And when I think about the mindset that you need to do it, it is a mindset of abundance. It is a mindset that there are great things that you can do in all aspects of your life that lift other people and make a difference for them. And it, you can do it in the micro level and you can do it in the macro level. And it's really how we prioritize our time and our energy. But every person I know so many great talents that they have this ability to impact other people and change the trajectory. And I will tell you in girls that as mentors come in. So we just did a big event. We had a couple of 1000 high school girls there and one of the other presenters walked by me and she stopped me. And she's like, hey, can I talk to someone who, you know, is in charge? And she said, I just want to share my story, you know, seven years ago, I came through this program and I heard a woman on stage who is an aerospace engineer talk about what she did.

And she said that one moment changed my life and I'm about ready to graduate with my engineering degree and I'm headed into that field and that's a seven year commitment. But it is about spending time in building things that matter in companies inside of your relationships inside of places that you decide to give back. And when you can see a world full of opportunities and optimism and um things that you can make a difference. I think you spend your time doing things that make the world better because of the talents that you have and people who have a blue skin mindset are constantly looking for those opportunities and related to that. There's one other thing that I wanna leave with you in my few minutes here, which is this idea of living by the rule of one more. So a woman in the middle with the Olympic medal around her neck. Um Her name is Shannon Barky Happy and she's a friend of mine and we took some of high school girls skiing last year and we were talking about her training and she shared this story with us that she was doing her Olympic training. One of the things that she was really focused on was this idea that every time she was working out.

So whether she was doing her squats or sit ups or her push ups that she would focus on doing one more, that she would do one more push up or one more squat. And over the course of time, it created this strength and this opportunity that just one small thing made her stronger and more competitive in the spirit of the Olympics. And so when we thought about that, we started applying that to what we all have to do in our lives every day, which is really what we now call the, I call the rule of one more, which is this idea that in our lives, if we can help one person have one more opportunity, if we can accelerate one more, one more person's career, if we can look and it, it becomes in really small things.

Like sometimes it's in the little things of like inviting one more person to the next networking session we go to or one more person into the board room to just learn or one more person into a sales environment where, where they get an opportunity to learn something they didn't or one more person into a product development room so that they can hear the user stories and they can understand prioritization.

Really. This rule of one more is in the tiny, tiny things that over the course of time change, the trajectory of who people are and what they can become. And so we, I've created this challenge over the last year and I challenge anyone listening also. That what is the thing that you can do one more of that might not take any extra time out of your day but will make a huge difference for people. I actually think about this every day in my role of running a company. And I'm like, oh, you know, I don't actually need to go on that stage. I can give that opportunity to someone else. Someone needs me to serve on a committee for some nonprofit. I don't need to do that. I can grant that opportunity to one more person and in doing so I change opportunity for them. What happens if we invite one more of our like, you know, entry level employees into a meeting that they wouldn't normally get access to or one more woman into a boardroom. So they get exposure to what happens in a boardroom. All of those little tiny things, they're the things that stack up. They're the things that change and accelerate the entire environment around us, including the number of women in technology because they get access at a table that they might not have had. So I challenge you to think about in your daily life.

What is the one more thing that you can do to really create opportunities for others and to really reach outside of who you, of what you're doing and give people access into the great things you're doing. And I think we can all do this in so many amazing ways that it will help other people. It's just a mindset change that we have to think about. And then one of the thing as I'm closing that I'd like you to think about is I think people with blue sky mindsets are also great at taking feedback. They're great at taking in the moment and listening to what other people say. There's a really quick story when I was very early in my career and I came out of grad school. So I did my undergrad in computer science and then I did my MB A. And I remember when my VP coming to me at the time and saying, sid, you have to stop talking in the meetings and you have to listen. And it was one of those moments where I could have been really mad at him and said, hey, he's just like trying to put me down or I could pause and reflect. It became a pivotal moment for me.

And it forever changed the course of my life for his willingness to give me the feedback and my willingness to reflect and see the parts that I could be better. So when you and I think that that has become a cornerstone for me in a blue sky mindset, I always ask for feedback. I always want to know what I could have done better. I want to know how I should have approached a meeting better, what I can do better for the people who work for me and how I can just make the environments that I'm responsible for with people better because of the way that I see and approach the world. So my challenge for you is to think about what it means to have this blue sky mindset and to really do it because it's in your power with the tools that you have to really change and make a difference and take advantage of opportunity. So great for all of you guys to attend. Thank you so much. I know we're jumping to the next session of all of these amazing speakers. I hope you guys have a great day.