In my younger days, I had trouble talking about myself. They even called me "Low Key Lee" because I kept to myself. So you might not be surprised to hear I did not interview well.
But as I became an expert and became more confident, I became better at job interviews.
Looking back on my career, I realize there are three things to help you create magic in a job interview;
Here is a bonus tip...you get the job before you have the interview.
At Disney, we often knew who we were going to promote when the job came open. Reputation and results are what gets you from one job to the next.
Build connections and a strong body of work long before you go for the next big job.
Many businesses are missing a big opportunity by not finding the right time to make incremental sales.
Or you could call it situational selling. In the right situation, you offer an additional service or product to the customer.
It is what we do in the hotel and restaurant business. We encouraged it and sometimes would create a friendly competition.
Some people call it upselling, but it is more like upserving because you are finding a small way to serve the customer even better.
At Disney World, guests will listen when a cast member makes a suggestion. If you use the situation to sell additional services or products that will help a customer, you are not serving them well.
If I visit your store to buy a shirt and also come out with three ties, you served me well because now I have the exact ties to look good in my shirt. It saves me the trouble of looking for the proper tie later.
Incremental sales through situational selling will add a boost to your bottom line. All those little additional sales add up. If only 10% of the people say yes to your offer it adds up to big sales over time.
Many people set resolutions to start a new year. Most of those people don't follow through.
Usually, by February, people have already given up on losing weight, reading more books, or whatever resolution they set.
They key is to do things on purpose. Or, said another way, routines.
Routines are systems to help you get done what you need to get done. Can you imagine FedEx or IBM or Disney doing what they do without systems?
Your life is no different. You need the routines to keep your life under control and moving in the right direction.
Routine may feel boring. But you don't want it to be exciting. You don't want fires breaking out all around you and each day to be unpredictable.
My Time Management Magic course can help you develop proper routines and get more done every day. You can find out more here.
Focusing on numbers and neglecting the customer has become too common.
When times get tough, companies cut costs, often at the expense of customer service. Is that the right move? Does customer service really hurt the bottom line?
Absolutely not. Without the customer, you will not have a bottom line to worry about. Take care of the customer.
It takes discipline to offer excellent customer service while still meeting financial goals.
A constant focus on meeting financial numbers, you will wear down employees. Employees won't like it when they feel the focus move away from the customer.
Great organizations don't suffer as much during recessions. Great organizations take care of their customers no matter what is happening. Ordinary companies cut back and offer less to the customer when times are tough.
Anytime you get a promotion, especially when you are young, you may face an experience gap. Whether the experience gap is real or perceived, you have to address it.
When I was in the hospitality industry, I spent time as a cook, a banquet waiter, restaurant waiter, and I cleaned rooms. I worked most jobs in the guest side of operations.
Experience and exposure are the keys to overcoming the experience gap. Working your way through the operations with give you the experience you need and the exposure to what people in other roles in your organization are facing.
Plus, people will notice. If you spend all of your time in the office, people will continue to think you don't have experience and are out of touch. But if they see you putting in the time, they will know you have the experience.
The only way to get experience is to get out there. Reading about it and talking to people does not have the same impact as experience.
Building trust with your supervisor is an art. All of us, well, most of us, want to build enough trust so we get more autonomy and responsibility in our job.
If you want to build trust with your boss, you begin with results.
Bring a project forward, get approval from your supervisor, and then get good results.
When you have a track record of producing results, you will move from getting approval to being able to do the project on your own and keep your boss informed.
Sometimes you have to test it. Pick a small project and do it. Then inform your boss of the results.
Don't wait for your boss to tell you what to do. And don't maintain exactly what is expected of you. You want to perform better than simply meeting expectation.
If you ever need clarity on where the line is, ask. Have the conversation with your supervisor so you know what issues you should bring forward and what you should handle on your own.
At Disney World, we are always on the lookout for good people to become cast members. When we realized some of our best new cast members were referred by current cast members, we made a program out of it.
We had cards cast members could carry. If they ran into someone who gave great service, they could hand them a card with details about applying for a job at Disney.
This worked well because people who have a job, and are performing well at their job, are not actively looking for a job. And many people didn't think they could get a job at Disney. These referral cards took care of both of problems. Plus, cast members who brought in a certain number of referrals got to attend an awards dinner and receive recognition.
People who work at Disney help bring in the right kind of people. Your good employees want to bring in great people to keep the work environment enjoyable.
Every business ought to be ahead of the game. Get out in the community looking for the right people to fill your next opening.
We come to you live again from the North Idaho Leadership Summit, hosted by St. Vincent de Paul.
The audience asked questions and I answered. Again, we had a series of wonderful questions that lead to a series of candid conversations.
People asked me about picking your battles, creating a culture, diversity, and dealing with employees who aren't working out.
Throughout the questions and my answers, one theme was woven throughout...you have to stand up for what you believe in.
If you believe in a political position speak up about it. If you believe in building a strong culture you have to speak up about it. If you believe in diversity and inclusion you have to speak up about it.
Speak up so people know what you believe. Don't underestimate the impact you can have.
If you have built a good reputation you can speak up more often.
For the first time, Creating Disney Magic was recorded live in front of an audience.
St. Vincent de Paul of North Idaho hosted a leadership summit with me as the speaker. At the end of the first session, we took questions directly from the audience. When Jody asks me listener question on the podcast, I usually don't know what the question will be. But in this case, people were asking me questions directly on the spot.
Three questions are featured on this live episode. Audience members asked about overcoming challenges, dealing with negative and disruptive employees, and what inspires me.
During a recent visit to an upscale hotel, I asked the Bellman if there were a second luggage rack available for our room.
"I don't know", was all he said.
Can you imagine? Yes, you probably can because underwhelming service like that has become overwhelmingly common.
Most people will blame the bellman for having a bad attitude, or not caring. But it is not his fault.
Sure, he did have a bad attitude. And he did not care about guests of the hotel. But the responsibility is with the general manager. Some of the problem can be found in training, but most of the problem is in hiring. When you hire for skill, or simply hire to fill an empty position, you end up with a staff that doesn't care.
To deliver great service, you have to hire the right people. At Disney, I hired people to work in engineering, security, transportation, and other areas I have no skill in. But I was never hiring for skill. I was looking for motivation, attitude, and passion.
This episode of Creating Disney Magic was recorded in the lobby of the Coeur d'Alene Resort in Coeur d'Alene, ID. It was the perfect setting to discuss customer service.
When you are at a resort or hotel, or anywhere for that matter, and get great service, it is likely the result of training. Sure, there are other factors, like good hiring practices and personal attitude, but for the most part, great service comes from great training.
The same is true for bad service. Poor service comes from poor training.
Poor training leads to poor service. And poor service can sour a customer's experience no matter how good your product is. And if you have outstanding service, you can get away with bad carpet.
In this episode, we talk about Jeff Merhige, executive director of Camp Widjiwagan. Jeff applied what he learned in Creating Magic to find new ways to serve better. Jeff wanted to be great, and now the Camp he runs in great. Change like this starts at the top.
Jeff made the decision to move from managing a facility to managing a culture. This is when he began to Create Magic. Now, the changes Jeff has made in himself have flowed down into employees of Camp Widjiwagan. Changes have flowed into the facilities. Changes have flowed into the experience of the campers.
You, too, can decide to be a culture manager. It begins with making the decision to be excellent.
When I spoke to the Tennessee Air National Guard, the Colonel surprised me with a challenge coin.
A challenge coin is usually an award for excellence given out by officers in the military.
Over the years, as I have spoken to military units, I have received probably 50 challenge coins. It is an honor to have each one of them, but this coin was different.
When Colonel Smith handed me a challenge coin based on my book, The Customer Rules, I could hardly believe it.
My book is about customer service. These challenge coins will be given out to airmen who show exceptional service to people.
Colonel Smith gave me the honor of handing the coins to the first five recipients.
The value of these coins is much greater than the cost to produce them. The military has figured this out. These challenge coins are a motivator. People are proud to receive these coins. Challenge coins are a unique way to show appreciation and recognition.
What do you do to show appreciation to your employees?
Don't view tokens of appreciation as an expense. It is an investment in your employees.
Don't underestimate the value of showing appreciation to your people. Little things become the big things. Most people have not been recognized. If you find a way to show appreciation, with a coin, a pin, or a note, they will take it home and show their family.
This episode of Creating Disney Magic was recorded live at the Nashville airport.
After 3 presentations in Nashville, we were waiting at the Nashville airport and took the time to record. You will like the fun, conversational feel of this episode.
While we recorded, we sat on the shoe shine bench. Sitting up there talking into microphones attracted plenty of attention for people as they passed by.
While in Nashville, we stayed at the new TRU hotel by Hilton. Our hotel sparked the conversation for this episode.
This hotel is not what you expect. Hilton is stepping out and creating a hotel with a unique environment by shifting the focus of the hotel from the rooms to the lobby.
Usually, you get a hotel with a big fancy room. This is what you have come to expect.
How can you take what people expect in your industry and rethink it?
Hilton reworked the lobby to be a gathering place. With this, they are keeping out in front of patterns and needs of customers. Consider what you can do to serve customers differently, uniquely, and in ways that serve customers better. The world is changing fast and you have to pay attention to how you can keep ahead rather than trying to catch up later.
If you want to exceed expectations through innovation you need to take what people expect and do it differently. Be curious. Look at what the competition is doing.
Have you ever been passed up for a promotion?
How did you handle it?
If you feel you have been overlooked, there are a couple of ways you can deal with it.
When you don't get a promotion can do nothing. Or you can complain to your friends and family about how unfair it is. Or, and this is what I would do, is have a talk with your supervisor. Ask what you need to do to get a promotion the next time one is available.
If you want to understand the truth, you can ask for it. But you have to be open to hear the truth if you are fortunate enough to find someone willing to be candid with you.
Next, set a date 90 days from now to make the decision to stay at the job or find a new job. If you don't feel like you are not being supported, it is time to go. Continue to do a great job before you leave, but don't discover yourself stuck in a job you don't want three years from now.
In this episode, we also talk about time management. If you want to watch the first lesson of my Time Management Magic Course you can do so HERE.
You can find my Morning Magic Planner HERE.
When you start a new job, should you add your personal flavor right away? Or should you sit back and see how the new organization and staff operate?
Personally, I would not do too much at first. Before I start to add my personality and ideas to the operation there are some things I am looking for.
First, I want to understand what the issues are surrounding the new position and organization. Once I get the feel for the staff and the business, then it may be time to insert myself.
"How long should I wait?" is a question I get asked. Well, I suggest taking 90 - 120 days to observe and understand the new business.
I have seen so many people take a new job and run through the door making changes immediately. It never works. Even if you have support from the top, people do not like new people coming in and trying to make changes right away. They need to get to know you first. You need to get to know them.
You don't need to impress the boss the first day on the job. This is a long-term game. It takes patience and discipline. When you change things early, you often have to change them again because you made a mistake. Take your time and get the environment right.
Often, people ask me about time management. It is a common question because I wrote Time Management Magic, and so many people struggle with getting work done.
People are overwhelmed and are looking for an answer. This week on Creating Disney Magic, we answer a listener question better project and time management.
If you are looking for a better time management system, technology is not always about the answer.
Sure, technology can help, but rather than just keeping track of the things you need to do, wouldn't you be better off understanding how to keep your life under control?
Apps for your phone, or even a Day-Timer like I use, are just tools. They help you get to where you want to go, but you have to understand where you want to go in the first place.
If you want to get started getting your life under control, my Time Management Magic seminar is a great place to begin. You can sign up for the course here.
Donald Miller, author of Building a StoryBrand, returns as a guest on Creating Disney Magic to talk about why people are ignoring your brand.
Every piece of marketing you do should communicate how you can help people survive and thrive and do so simply so customers will not have to burn calories to process the information.
Unless your message is aimed at helping them survive and thrive, customers will ignore you.
If your marketing makes people think too much, they will ignore you.
In this episode, Don Miller breaks down how Disney applies these concepts to get loyal customers who return every year.
If you are struggling to attract customers, you do not want to miss this episode. Don Miller will explain these concepts in a way to help you clarify your message.
Get a copy of Building a StoryBrand.
Visit StoryBrand.com to find out more about Don Miller and get more StoryBrand resources.
Nobody really cares about your story. Rather than hear your story, they want to be invited into a story where they can play the hero.
Disney has excelled by inviting people into a story. But do you have to be Disney to create a story people want to be a part of?
Of course not. And Donald Miller joins Creating Disney Magic to talk about how your business can build a story around your brand.
Don's new book, Building a StoryBrand teaches you how to invite people into a story and clarify your message so customers will listen.
In this episode, Don not only breaks down the StoryBrand Process, he examines how Disney has created used the story plot idea for not just Disney World, but for individual rides within the park.
Get a copy of Building a StoryBrand HERE. Learn how your organization can use this process to invite customers into a story your brand can deliver upon.
If you missed it when I was a guest on Donald Miller's podcast, you can hear it here.
This episode we celebrate the 150th episode of Creating Disney Magic.
On this episode, we take on two listener questions. We talk about what to look for when you partner someone in business. At Disney, we were clear on what would be involved in a partnership.
The second question is along the same lines. How do you get other businesses, who are your partners, who have different missions and values, to work in alignment? Again, it comes down to clarity. Everyone needs to understand what you expect and what it looks like to meet expectations.
In both cases, the people you work with need to know how to satisfy customers. The experience should be seamless for customers.
If you have a question you would like me to answer on the show, just reach out. Answering listener questions are my favorite part of the podcast.
I recently returned from a tour through several countries including Russia, Czech Republic Austria, and Hong Kong.
It reminded me how traveling and gaining a new experience can help you serve people better.
You are never as good as you think you are. Traveling is one way to find out what other people and organizations are doing. You will find out how good you really are and how you can get better.
When you understand how good you can be, you will raise your standards.
Experience and exposure are two things you will gain from traveling that will change your worldview and help you better serve your customers.
You don't have to travel internationally. Visit big cities. Visit new businesses. Go places where you don't know people where your eyes will be open to a new way of doing things.
Travel changes who you are. Every new experience opens your eyes.
Time Management Magic is now available as an audiobook. You can get the book here.
If you don't have a copy of the Morning Magic Planner, you can get it here.
When I was at Disney and someone would tell me they wanted more money, my answer was almost always "yes." But probably not in the way you think.
Here is how I would tell people they could get more money;
"There is always a position that pays more than the one you are in. If you want more money, become qualified for the other position.
When you can show us you are capable of performing a job that pays more, you will make more."
When I would explain it so straightforward, people would understand. Just tell people the truth.
If you want more money you have to be qualified to earn it. It is that simple.
When I worked as a Greaseman at a hotel in Lake Tahoe, I wanted more money than the $90 per week I earned. When I promoted to housekeeping a $10 per week raise came with the position. I became more qualified, moved into a different position and earned more money.
This is the formula to get more money.
Identify the job you want and focus on what it will take to get in that position. Talk to people who have the job. Find out more about the position and keep learning. Most people don't try hard enough. If you apply yourself and show you can do the work, you will get your chance. Be persistent.
There was a time when I was running Walt Disney World when I was frustrated we were not improving customer service quick enough. At the same time, we were not moving quickly enough to build trust with cast members.
That was when I developed the Disney Great Leader Strategies. You can find the 10 Great Leader Strategies in my book, Creating Magic.
Our Great Leader Strategies moved Disney World from being good to great. Or great to greater.
Developing the strategies was one thing. Getting everyone on board was another thing.
In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, I share the story behind the implementation of the Great Leader Strategies to over 40,000 cast members.
I began by spending 4 hours with my direct reports, explaining each strategy and explaining what my expectations were. From there, each of them had 3 weeks to pass the Great Leadership Strategies on to their direct reports. And so it went until every cast member had been trained.
Too often, when an organization wants to implement a new policy or procedure, or even make a drastic change like we did at Disney World, a leader will just issue a memo. Without proper communication, hope is all you have to rely on.
For change to take hold, you have to roll it out slowly with great detail. Communication is the key.
The best definition of communication is clarity. Without clarity, people will not understand what you expect and what they need to do.
You can find the Teacher's Guide for Creating Magic here.
In every organization and every business, we have to deal with angry customers.
Some of them are so angry the situation can be hard to diffuse.
When a family saves money for years to visit Disney and something goes wrong, they can get very angry. When a situation got to me, I did what ever I could to solve their problem.
Remember, they are not mad at your personally. They have 10 other problems you don't even know about. Don't take it personally.
The customer is not always right, they are often wrong. But they are always the customer. And you if you want them to be a repeat customer you do what you can to turn the situation around.
Don't get defensive. Use empathy and try to solve the problem.
Do your best and then forgive yourself. That is all you can do.
This week a listener asked a question about whether a company should hire employees or contractors.
Sometimes organizations let contractors get away with behavior they would not let performers get away with.
If you are going to use contractors, you need to include clarity in the contract. Outline behavior, appearance, client interaction. Lay out expectations for professionalism and hold them to it.
At Disney, we are so clear with contractors a guest would never know if they had an interaction with a cast member or a contractor.
If contractors are not living up to expectations, you need to deal with it promptly and directly. If they are doing business in your name, they need to perform as well as you do.
Also in this episode, I answer a second listener question about how to find a job when you move to a new area.