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Creating Disney Magic: Lessons in Leadership, Management, and Customer Service

Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World, shares his wisdom and experience from his time with Disney, Marriott, and Hilton. Lee discusses how you can apply lessons in leadership, management, and customer service to create magic in your organization.
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Creating Disney Magic: Lessons in Leadership, Management, and Customer Service
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Now displaying: September, 2017
Sep 26, 2017

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

Sep 19, 2017

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. 

Sep 12, 2017

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

Sep 5, 2017

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. 

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