Toy Story 3 & Management Accounting
My MBA Class’ “Essay on Learnings from ‘Toy Story 3’ ” (by Garrick Lee & Rhyan Reyes)
For the past years, Pixar has been consistently producing excellent animated films that capture the imagination of peoples of all ages: from Monster’s Inc, Cars, and now the latest addition to their repertoire, Toy Story 3.
Toy story 3 is about a group of toys once loved by a young boy named Andy who has now grown up. In just a few days before Andy moved out for college, his mom asked him to classify his things and sort out which would be stored in the attic, which would go to the trash and which would be donated to the daycare. The much neglected toys panic, and this kicked off a crazy adventure that would test the team’s problem-solving skills, teamwork, loyalty and friendship.
The characters in the movie showed us that problems can be solved by teamwork and perseverance. Having common goals despite huge differences in opinion, temperament, abilities, strengths and weaknesses allowed the characters to prevail over their predicaments and triumph over adversity. Coordinated strategy transformed the cast of characters into a team whose value was clearly greater than the sum of the individual parts.
The adventure of our motley crew of toys climaxed as they tried to escape the daycare center which they thought would be a safe haven for them. Packed with lots of creativity and enthusiasm, the leader Woody tried to save his friends from the hands of the daycare’s boss, Lots-o, a bad strawberry-smelling pink teddy bear.
Woody was forced into the role of main protagonist by the turn of events and did not shy away from what was asked of him. Without hesitation, he concocted a plan against the wicked teddy bear to free his friends and this involved all members of the gang, thereby making everyone a valuable part of the adventure. Woody saw the real issues at hand and the events that were hidden from the other characters (wrapped up as they were in a garbage bag). He held onto an unpopular point of view and would not be easily swayed by popular dissent that was built on false hope. Our cowboy hero stuck to his guns and was proven right.
On the other hand, the case of Lots-o showed us how decision-making can be greatly affected by emotions. Decisions should not be made at the peak of emotion, whether positive or negative, as this will have a great impact on objectivity and rationality of the whole decision making process. This is what happened to our friend Lots-o, who decided to take over the daycare toys with himself at the top of the tyrannical pyramid. This action was prompted by heartbreak arising from perceived abandonment by his previous owner, which ultimately led to a despotic, chaotic and unhappy day care environment for the toy characters.
Pixar does not fail to amuse the audience with their heartwarming animated films that are not just fun to watch but full of life’s lessons as well. Toy Story 3 contains valuable lessons in strategic management for MBA students. It teaches students how to use their creative minds together with their analytical skills in solving problems, and to believe in the value of teamwork. This can be broadened to a corporate setting where various divisions and departments cooperate and strategize in cross functional teams to do great business, thereby satisfying the customer well and adding value to all invested stakeholders.
The film also shows us that one should look at the big picture and consider all the facts before making a huge decision. And having decided upon a course of action, one should not forget one’s core values and prior commitments so that one will not falter in the face of hardship, or be easily waylaid by quick fixes, short term gains, empty promises and half-truths. In the corporate setting, top management should know all their facts and figures before making huge changes in the company’s business structure. Management should keep in mind their mission statement and maintain focus on quality and commitment when they make decisions. After all true value lasts a lifetime like the friendships of the characters in the movie.