When I was in charge of East Coast Food & Beverage Operations for Marriott, I would stop by a hotel and meet with the waitresses and waiters. I would ask one question, "What problem can I solve for you today?"
It was a small question with a big impact.
Often, the problems they needed to be solved were simple. They were not big issues, but the problems were a big deal to the people who could not do their job properly.
When you have an employee who serves the guest, getting them what they need to properly do their job will have a big impact. The employee will be happy and have more respect for the leadership of the organization, and the customer will be happy, too.
In order to build trust, you have to take care of the problems they tell you about. The more you take care of employees, the more they will trust you with the problems in the way of serving customers.
If you want your copy of the Morning Magic Planner, you can find it here.
When you leave a position, you are often asked to do an exit interview. How should you handle it?
If you are taking a position in the same company, only tell them good things. Resist the temptation to explain how you could have been handled better, or items that have frustrated you. Tell them you learned a lot and you appreciate the time people gave you. Explain how what you learned in the position helped you get a promotion.
If you are leaving the company, feel free to tell them the truth about why you are leaving. If you have a good relationship with your supervisor, you can offer some feedback on how to improve. But there really is no upside for you to offer feedback as you leave.
Giving feedback is as art. You have to have the right relationship to be able to give candid feedback on your way out.
If you are faced with an exit interview, just smile and tell them how much you enjoyed your job. You can never get yourself in trouble that way.
How candid are you with the people you care about?
Candor does not show up as often as it should. But you can't have a healthy workplace without candor.
If you want someone to do well, you have to tell them the truth with empathy. This is what candor is all about - truth with empathy.
You shouldn't tell truth if there is nothing in it for the other person.
You can get a reputation for being someone who tells the truth to help other people.
If you don't tell someone the truth and they fail, it is your fault.
Begin today. Be candid.
If you have been to Disney World, you may have enjoyed a great meal at the California Grill. You may not realize the story behind what it took to create such a great restaurant.
California Grill may seem like a standard at Disney World now, but it was a risk to get the restaurant off the ground.
When we wanted to add the new restaurant, Deiter Hanning -a world-class chef - and I flew out to visit Michael Eisner and ask him for $6 Million dollars.
It was a risk that paid off. For me and for Disney World. California Grill turned around food and beverage at Disney World.
Are you willing to take a big risk?
You have to be willing to put yourself on the line and take a risk.
If you feel comfortable, you are not taking enough risk.
Risk can seem scary. Throughout my career, I have managed risk by making sure I have a hand in the outcome.
Here are two ways you can manage risk;
Don't be afraid to get experts around you. When you have consulted experts you will be prepared for any resistance you may get.
Don't do things too fast. Take time to understand what you are doing. And give the emotions time to pass.
When you hire a new employee it can be difficult to introduce her to your company culture.
This week, I answer a listener question from someone who is concerned about properly training employees while building a culture of trust without making
Clarity is the key to bringing new employees on board. Let them know up front what to expect, how often they will see you, and what will happen once they have demonstrated a full grasp of their tasks and responsibilities. Next, you have to take the time to make sure they know what they are doing.
Clarity and communication are so vital to build trust and get other people on board to what you are doing.
At Disney, we inject so much pixie dust into new cast members they can't get it out. We begin with training and education so they understand we do things the way we do them.
CLICK HERE to get my Morning Magic Planner.
Work Life balance is a myth. You only have one life and it includes work, family, and your personal life. You have to get all those elements in rhythm, not balance.
Here are three you can maintain the right rhythm in your life;
It is critical you spend time in a way that brings an investment back on your time. Stop wasting time.
You are wasting time every day. I know you could find an extra hour each day. The question is, do you have the self-discipline to implement the changes you need to make?
If you need help finding the right rhythm in your life, check out my Time Management Magic online course.
Do you have a great life? If not, what not? A great life is within your reach, but you have to decide you want a better life.
"What if" are words Lou Mongello did want haunting him later in life. So he left his job as a lawyer in New Jersey and moved to Orlando to pursue a great life. Now, Lou is the host of the popular WDW Radio. Lou has a great life.
If you are young, go do what you love. Make mistakes. Get experience. Make money later in your life.
Fear today is not nearly as bad as regrets tomorrow.
Getting fired showed me there is not too much to be afraid of. If I can get fired from my job and still find a way to provide for my family, how bad can it be? Knowing this armed me with what I needed to take bigger risks.
In my entire career, I have only had a handful of days where I did not want to be there. Taking risks lead to a great career.
If you become complacent, you will not be successful. Do not settle. Failure comes when you quit.
Are you going to settle for a good life? Or, are you ready to have a great life?
Don't underestimate what you can do with your life.
Twenty-Five years ago Disneyland Paris opened. On this episode of Creating Disney Magic, I reflect on the experience of being involved in opening the park.
Lou Mongello, host of WDW Radio joins us to discuss Disneyland Paris and ask some tough questions about what it took to introduce the Disney culture to Europe.
In this episode, you will learn about my personal experience in Paris. And you will take away lessons you can apply in your life and business.
You may also enjoy this episode of WDW Radio where I join Lou Mongello to talk about DisneyWorld.
How do you handle criticism?
Criticism can be hard to take. Personally, I used to feel stung when someone criticized me, even if they were trying to help.
When you make a mistake or receive criticism, the only way to handle it is to focus on being great. Get back in favor by letting people see you have a great attitude and you have learned a lesson.
You can get your copy of the Morning Magic Planner here.
If you did not learn something new yesterday, you weren't paying attention. Every day is a chance to get better.
To be successful, one of the most important traits is curiosity. If you are curious, you can improve every day.
Some companies adopt Six Sigma or Lean Thinking to get better. Disney adopted a culture of continuous improvement.
A listener wants to know how you can continue to focus on improvement without overlooking the great work and accomplishments people are doing every day. Quite simply, you involve everyone in your effort to improve.
If you include people who are on the front line doing the work.
Continuous improvement is part of the culture. If you get your culture right, everything else gets easier.
You can get an introduction to Six Sigma in Jack Welch's book Winning.
This week on Creating Disney Magic, I answer a listener question about changing college majors. But it leads to a conversation that is important to you. We talk about not getting stuck.
Too many people get stuck in a job get stuck in a job they do not enjoy. My guess is 70% - 80% of people don't like their job, probably more.
It does not have to be that way. You don't have to get stuck in the wrong job, wrong city, wrong relationship or with your the wrong boss. Take control of your life.
Don't just get used to how things turn out. Make something happen. You have to take a risk to have a great life.
Click Here to get the new Morning Magic Planner.
When people question the importance of checklists, I quickly mention pilots as an example. Would you like your pilot to fly the plane using a checklist or fly the plane based on what he remembers?
Many airplane crashes are caused by pilot error. The same is true in our life. Most of our failures come from not doing what we are supposed to do at the right time.
On a personal level, checklists can help you get everything done you have said you will get done. Throughout an organization, checklists will help you provide better service, implement better financial controls, and provide better training for employees.
If you don't currently use checklists, start by sitting down with a clipboard. Gather the rest of the team around and pick one process, such as opening the business every morning. Collect all the steps and tasks involved with opening the business. Once your checklist is in place, move on to the next process.
A checklist will help you complete every step along the way so you don't miss the details.
Measuring Key Performance Indicators are part of the culture at Disney. Cast members know what we are reaching for and how our performance measures against the goal.
Setting targets for performance is important. You can't improve what you do not measure.
Once you hit your target, you can adjust to ensure you continue to improve.
Put key performance indicators in place and then make employees aware of them so they can help you move towards the goal.
Individuals should also have key performance indicators to help them be successful. In this episode, our discussion about key performance indicators also covers how to set goals for others and what to do if you can't reach key performance indicators others have set for you.
Politics is a tricky subject to talk about in the workplace. No matter which political side you agree with, you are likely to offend or incite someone who feels differently than you.
Political talk at work is just like other aspects of your company culture. It is what you let it become.
Many organizations have rules in place about talking about politics at work. But it does still happen.
When coworkers try to involve you in a political discussion, simply say"I don't feel comfortable talking about politics." If it becomes a problem, you need to talk to your supervisor.
If you are a supervisor, you should never talk about politics in the workplace. Certainly, never allow talk about politics to take place in front of customers.
In short, if you talk politics at work, stop. There is nothing to gain and plenty to lose.
Get a preview of my Time Management Magic course HERE.
After hosting Creating Disney Magic for over two years, Jody Maberry spent four days at Walt Disney World. This gave him first-hand experience of the concepts I talk about every week on the show.
In this episode, Jody brings forward some situations he saw during his time at Disney so I can discuss why it works the way it does.
If you have ever spent time at Disney and wondered why the service is so good, how Disney stays on top of the trash, then you will enjoy this episode.
If you want to hear more about Jody Maberry's time at Disney World and the lessons he learned, you can find all the episodes here.
When your competitor makes a mistake, should you take advantage of it?
United Airlines has been in the news lately for mistreating customers. This is an obvious opportunity for competing airlines, but what is the best way to handle it?
Some airlines have published advertisements mocking United Airlines. Other airlines have done nothing different.
Aggressively beating up a competitor in advertising can set you up in a bad way when you make a mistake. And you will make a mistake.
The best way to take advantage of your customer's mistakes is to remain excellent.
When you are excellent, people will forgive you when something goes wrong.
By the way, situations like what happened at United Airlines happen because of the culture of the organization. The way staff talks about customers, even when no one else is around, makes a difference in how customers are treated. Not giving employees the authority to take care of customers leaves them helpless when a situation arises.
Referenced in this episode:
Imagine what it would be like if you went on vacation without planning first. You would pay more for a flight. You would end up staying in a hotel you don't like. All of us would avoid having a bad vacation through planning.
Yet so few people take the time to plan out their day. If you take the time to plan out your day, it just turns out better.
The key to planning is to examine the responsibilities in your life and consider if you are putting enough time toward them this year, this month, and this week. And you take the first step today.
Do things now that won't pay off until later. Most people hope, wish and pray things will work out. But you don't have to do that. Spend time planning your day so you get the most important things done.
Before I began planning every morning, I was working late at night, bringing work home, coming into work early, working every weekend. Time Management and morning planning helped me get under control. My workweek dropped by at least twenty percent.
If you don't don't take the time to plan the life you want, you will spend a lot of time living the life you don't want.
One key trait in becoming a successful lead is self-awareness.
To become self-aware, you need people who are willing to speak into your life. You need someone who will tell you the truth.
Early in my career, I was defensive. Do you like to work closely with someone who is always defensive? No one does.
My boss did me a big favor when he spoke up. His advice helped my career dramatically.
Be open to taking a profiling system like Gallup or DISC to better understand your personality and how you work.
You have to begin by being aware that you want to be more self-aware. But you also need someone else you trust who is willing to speak truth to you.
Implementing change can be hard.
A new policy can bump into many roadblocks, including seniority.
Before you make a change, you have to understand how and why you are making a change before you sell it to employees in your organization.
Take time to consider all the rejections, objections, and complaints you will receive when trying to implement a new policy. Develop your responses so you have an answer ready for any challenge.
You should not be implementing a new policy until you know it is right for employees, customers, and the bottom line. When you are certain it is time for a change, don't cave into the pressure of the people who complain.
Understand people want answers. They deserve an explanation of why you are making the change.
What seems like a big change now will work out eventually. Get through the early resistance and people will settle in as they get used to the new policy.
The Time Management Magic on-line seminar is now available. You can find it here.
Too many organizations overreact when a customer does something negative.
Look at the signs you see at most organizations. What language do the signs use?
You see words like "Don't", "Prohibited", "No".
All words your guests and customers shouldn't hear if you are trying to delight them.
You can not overreact when one customer tries to scam you, or file a false complaint. It is the cost of doing business. You have to be careful not to offend the rest of your customers because of the behavior of one person.
You should remove hassles for customers, not add more. Rules and signs you put in place because of bad customers create new hassles for your best customers.
Referenced in this episode: Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard
The Time Management Magic Course is now available. You can find it here.
There will come a time when you have to fire an employee. Whether they can't get the job done anymore, or the requirements of the job have changed, there are situations when you have to let someone go.
Depending on who you talk to, there are several tips or best practices about how to fire an employee. Some of the examples I have heard include firing on the day the decision to do so is made and waiting until Friday.
When I could, I always gave notice when I fired someone. Being let go was never a surprise because I communicated with them along the way about their performance.
When the time came, I would tell someone their new job is to find a new job. I give them time, one month up to six months, to spend their working time looking for a new job.
When you fire on notice, it is important to give them a specific end date so they know when their last day at the company will be.
Now, if someone has done something inappropriate or illegal, do not give someone time. They will have to leave the company immediately.
The Time Management Magic on-line course is now available. You can find it HERE.
Change comes slowly in some organizations. It is not just organizations that change slowly. Even in some countries, change can take longer than you would hope.
A young lady from Oslo, Norway asked my opinion about women in leadership roles getting resistance.
It all comes down to culture.
At Disney World, we have embraced women in leadership roles. It is part of our culture. But that is not true at every organization.
When I began my career, there were few women in leadership roles. In my experience, women are more likely to pay closer attention to detail and have more empathy.
In this episode, I talk about women in leadership and answer a listener question about personal branding.
Resources mentioned on this episode;
How do inspire yourself?
For me, inspiration comes from doing what I love. I focus on being a teacher and helping people grow. When I receive a note from someone explaining how Time Management Magic, or one of my other books, helped someone, it inspires me.
You can find inspiration in the work you do and the people you meet. If your work does not inspire you, begin helping other people. It won't take long before you are inspired and excited and you might not even notice when it happens.
Once you become inspired it rubs off on other people. It is contagious. Inspired people inspire people.
Don't underestimate the impact you can have on other people's lives. You have the ability and knowledge to make a difference for someone else.
The listener question this week came from Anna Knudsen from Oslo, Norway. After becoming inspired by the Time Management Magic book, Anna designed her own planner, which she sells at byallthings.com.
My new on-line Time Management Magic seminar is now available. You can find it at TimeMagicSeminar.com.
Often, small businesses have an advantage over big businesses. I know, it doesn't always feel like you have the advantage, but you can get to know your customers better.
A big business may have a lot more products, more staff, and a bigger store, but it is hard to find someone to help you. And when you find someone available to help, they don't often have the knowledge to help.
Recently, I visited all the big box stores looking for outdoor ceiling fans, a product I know nothing about. No one could give me the information I needed until I stopped at a small local fan store.
Not only was the staff at the local store available they were knowledgeable about the product. I spent twice as much as what I planned to spend. Which more than I likely would have spent at a big store.
The ability to connect with customers and take care of them is the advantage small businesses have. Small business can create relationships and deliver extraordinary customer service that big businesses just can't match. It is hard for a customer to walk away when they have a relationship with you.
To create your advantage you have to wake up every morning and ask "What can we do better today than we did yesterday?
The Time Management Magic Seminar is now available. Find out more HERE.
Always remember, employees are unique people. We all have our individual needs. At times, we may need accommodations to keep the rhythm between professional and personal life in sync.
In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, we examine making accommodations for employees.
Each need for an accommodation should be considered individually.
How does the request fit within company policies and procedures?
Are you able to make an arrangement where an employee can work from home?
Do whatever you can to help employees. We all want to feel special. We all have family situations and tragedies that arise. Do the best you can to work with an employee's situation.
But keep in mind, the business has to still be able to operate. If the business goes out of business, everyone will have a problem.
Do what you can to accommodate an employee, but do not make an arrangement that will punish other employees.
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