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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: June, 2018
Jun 26, 2018

Imagine a basketball team where one player decides to stay in the offensive end of the court because it is easier for him. Running up and down the court is hard work. Would the other players allow it? Would the coach allow it? No way! And it should not be allowed in the workplace either. 

Yet, it happens all the time. Specifically, it happens as employees are getting close to retirement. People should not "gear down" for retirement. Whether an employee retires in 3 years, 1 year, or 3 months. They have a responsibility to work as hard as ever and produce results. 

Some call it Retired on Duty. 

If someone is retired on duty, it is a leadership problem. Someone is letting it happen. 

Being retired on duty is unethical and unprofessional. If it is happening in your organization you can step in. In fact, you should step in.  You have the opportunity to step in and be an advocate for the right thing. 

When you accept someone who has retired on duty, it is a step in making the company worse. Other employees see how leadership handles this situation. If this person is allowed to get away with it, the company will start sliding in the wrong direction. 

Jun 19, 2018

If your business is struggling, it may be hard to hear this, but here is the candid truth...Your business is as good as you want it to be. 

Most business can turn things around in only 2 to 4 weeks. 

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, I use a doctor office as an example of where to begin to turn a business around. 

The problem in a doctor's office is the doctor doesn't know what is going on out front. But there is so much involved in a customer's experience than the time they spend with the doctor. 

Here are the three steps I would implement right away to change a doctor's office, or any business.

  1. Bring everyone together after the office closes and explain how the office will be tomorrow when it opens. Be clear. Be candid. 
  2. Write down what you expect for each position and role. Provide processes, procedures, guidelines, and scripts all focusing on creating a better experience for the customer. 
  3. Follow up. Ask customers how you are doing. If customers haven't felt the change, there hasn't been a change. 

You may have to repeat these steps over and over until change catches on. For the first month, you may have to be in front of your people every day before the door opens and the show begins. Repeat your expectations over and over until it begins to stick. 

Sure, it is hard work. But let me remind you, your business is as good as you want it to be. 

Jun 12, 2018

When you introduce yourself, or someone asks about you, what do you say?

So many people discuss the work they do. This is especially a problem for those of us in the United States. 

Be careful about becoming who you work for instead of who you are. 

Some people never recover from having a big-ego job. I get it. Those jobs make other people think you matter. Or, that is what you think, anyway.

When I retired, people would ask me if it was hard to leave a high position at Disney. No. It wasn't hard to retire, even though I was Executive Vice President of Walt Disney World. 

During my career, I never really identified myself with Hilton, Marriott, or Disney. I worked for Lee Cockerell. 

People get attached to their job because they work for a high profile company, or have a big position. It leads them to stay too long or keep doing work that doesn't make them happy. 

Next time you introduce yourself, remember this...who you are is more important than what you do. 

Jun 5, 2018

Remote teams are just a fact of business life now. There is no going back.

Whether it comes from telecommuting, an organization spread out geographically or working with employees who work from remote locations, most organizations deal with remote workers.

Now, leaders have to understand how to communicate better with people they do not see in person.

To discuss this topic, we invited Kevin Eikenberry to join us on Creating Disney Magic.

Kevin is the author of the new book, The Long Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership

Although remote work has changed the work environment, leadership has not changed. In the book, and on this episode, Kevin talks about how to lead remote teams. 

With distance between you and the staff, it becomes harder to check in. We have to be deliberate and intentional. We can't touch the people on our team, but they need to feel like we have had the personal touch with them.

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