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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Feb 28, 2017

Good ideas are everywhere. You can learn something new to apply in your business by visiting competitors or even other businesses in a different industry. Visit museums, golf courses, churches. Creative ideas to spark a new way to do business could be found anywhere.

You can even find new ideas in the paper, which is why I spend time every morning at Starbucks reading the Wall Street Journal or New York Times.

Great customer ideas can also be found in the ways other businesses do it poorly. Have you ever had an experience that left you wanting more? Understand why it happened the way it did and find a way to make sure your customers never feel that way.

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, we examine where you can find ideas outside and bring them into your business. We also talk about how to improve from within before you bring in new ideas. 

Feb 21, 2017

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, I answer a listener question about managing time conflicts. 

Specifically, he asks about dealing with conflicts of schedule of what I have in my DayTimer and events scheduled by my assistant at Disney. 

Here is how I would make sure there would never be a conflict of schedules;

  1. Every Sunday night, I would sit down and check my DayTimer schedule with the corporate schedule in Outlook.
  2. Every morning, I would open Outlook, I would make sure all of my appointments in Outlook were in the DayTimer.

If you want to stick to your own personal time management system, which you should, you have to understand how to make it work with the corporate scheduling system. Or understand other people can put items on your calendar you must tend to and you will have to remain flexible.  

You can go deeper with time management with my new course, Time Management Magic.

Do you have a question you would like me to answer on the podcast? Just hit reply to this email and ask your question. 

You can also ask a question on Twitter or Facebook.

Feb 14, 2017

To create a magical experience for your customer, you need to identify and remove any hassle the customer may encounter. 

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, we examine how you identify what is getting in the way of your customer having a better experience. 

First, look at customer complaints and look for trends. 

Next, ask your customers directly. Offer them something in return to sit down with you and answer questions for an hour. Find out what you do well and how you can do better. 

Finally, sit down with your employees. Ask what you do well, how you can do better, and what rules and procedures they don't like. 

With those three steps, you can find the areas creating the most hassle for your customers. Now work on a new system, guideline, or procedure to remove the hassle from the customer experience. 

During the episode, I explain some innovating ways we have removed customer hassles. 

My Time Management Magic Course is now available. You can find it here

Feb 7, 2017

Is it possible to initiate change if you are not in a leadership position? 

Some organizations are reluctant to change. Sometimes a boss can think they know everything. 

All you can do is to finesse in a change. Ask your supervisor if they are interested in hearing your ideas and input about your job. Be clear that when you bring an idea forward, you are willing to work it yourself and not put more work on your supervisor. 

Understand, you may not be able to have any impact on change in the organization. If that is the case, don't be willing to stay in that environment too long if it frustrates you. 

Referenced in this episode is the book Winning by Jack Welch

The Time Management Magic Course is now available. You can find it here

What is the best excuse you have heard from an employee? 

Send in your excuses and we will use some of them on an episode of Creating Disney Magic. The top 5 excuses will receive an autographed copy of one of my books. 

Feb 2, 2017

The Time Management Magic Online Course is now available. 

Based on the book, Time Management Magic, this course goes deeper into the content and concepts behind the book. The book introduced you to the idea of Time Management Magic, the course will walk you through every step of implementing this system into your life. 

The course includes a workbook to help you walk through the course material and discover the most important things in your life, set goals, work towards priorities, and have a better life. 

You can enroll in the Time Management Magic Course HERE

If you are business and would like to offer this course to your entire team, reach out and ask about special pricing for organizations. 

This material in this course is the same material I taught to leaders at Walt Disney World, at the Disney Institute, and to organizations around the world. 

This course is not just a how-to on using a Day-Planner. This is a system to uncover your responsibilities, discover your top priorities, and use your time to get the things done that really matter. 

CLICK HERE to enroll in the Time Management Magic course. 

Jan 31, 2017

Today, many people are skeptical of leadership. How can you overcome this?

People will remain skeptical until you build trust. You have to show you are credible, reliable, do what you say you are going to do, keep your promises. That is how you build trust and begin to create an environment where people are not skeptical of leadership. 

Connect with us on Facebook on the Creating Disney Magic Podcast Page

Jan 24, 2017

Is there an "It" factor? Do some leaders just get it? 

Yes, some leaders have it and some don't. But it is possible for you to learn it, enhance it, build it. You have to understand your impact on the people around you and consider leaving a legacy before you can get the It factor. 

If you focus on it, you will eventually get it. 

In this episode we mention Carol Quinn and her book, Don't Hire Anyone Without Me

Jan 17, 2017

In this episode, Lee discusses communication with vendors. A key to working with vendors is to get as much information as you can and be prepared. With more knowledge, you will understand if you are getting treated fairly. 

Use your judgment on how much information you should share. You have to give enough information to allow them to help you solve your problem. 

When working with vendors you have to be clear about what you want. 

If you have a question, you can connect with us on the Creating Disney Magic Podcast on Facebook.  On Twitter, connect with Lee Cockerell and Jody Maberry.

Jan 10, 2017

Does it ever make sense to take a voluntary demotion? 

At one point in Lee's career, he took a voluntary demotion when he was passed over for a promotion. In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee explains the situation that led to the voluntary and why it was good for his career. 

Get Lee's newest book, Career Magic, HERE.

If you want to be one of the first to know when the Time Management Magic Course is ready, get on the list HERE

Jan 3, 2017

During the holidays, gift giving can be awkward. Should you give a gift to your supervisor? As a supervisor, should you accept gifts from employees?

During this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee examines gift giving in the workplace. We also discuss what to do with gifts from vendors. 

You need to understand what do to about gifts before it happens so you know the proper way to handle it. 

Dec 27, 2016

Recently, a listener to Creating Disney Magic wrote in and said that it seems that Lee makes negative comments about introverts. 

In this episode, Lee addresses the listener complaint, but he also examines introverts. Lee himself is an introvert. 

The key in business is to get people in a role that best fits them. Perhaps an introvert would not enjoy customer facing jobs as much as they would enjoy a role backstage. If someone likes the work they are doing they will do a great job. 

If you work with people as individuals, you will understand how people get energy and work best, whether they are an introvert or extrovert. 

To learn more about introverts in the workplace, check out the book Quiet by Susan Cain. Or the follow-up book Quiet Power. 

The Time Management Magic Course is almost ready. To be one of the first to find out when the course is available you can add your name to the list HERE

Let Connect - 

Creating Disney Magic on Facebook

Twitter - Lee Cockerell  and Jody Maberry

Dec 20, 2016

Everyone organization will experience change. Change is healthy. 

The problem is people want everything to be the same, but they also want change. So change, even if it is good, can be disruptive. You have to manage change with customers but also within the organization. 

Change should be a part of the culture of your organization. If your organization does not have a culture of change, you will face resistance when it happens. 

Be one of the first to find out when the Time Management Magic course is available. Get on the list HERE

Follow Creating Disney Magic on Facebook

Dec 13, 2016

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee Cockerell shares a travel story that nearly ruined his plans. Bad weather and canceled flights threatened Lee's chance to make a flight to South Africa for five speaking engagements.

Instead of giving in to the situation, Lee rented a car and drove from New York to Atlanta to make sure he made the flight to South Africa. His can-do attitude made sure he was able to meet his obligations. An attitude of determination to make things happen will set you apart throughout your career.

Get Lee's new book, Career Magic.

The Time Management Magic Course is almost here. Be one of the first to get updates. CLICK HERE to get on the list. 

Dec 6, 2016

During his time at Marriott, Lee opened 100 new hotels. 

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee shares what how Marriott was able to open so many hotels in a short amount of time. 

When you expand and open a new location, customers don't care that you have only been open a few days or a couple weeks. The customer paid and expects excellence. Being new is not an excuse for not delivering. 

Nov 29, 2016

Sometimes work doesn't get done because of team members. Sometimes work doesn't get done because of bad policies, poor communication, or a number of other institutional reasons. 

The real reason work doesn't get done is because of poor project management and poor time management. In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee examines ways we can all get more work done. 

We are recording the modules for the Time Management Magic course. If you want to be one of the first to know when the course is available, you can add your name to the list here.

Nov 22, 2016

If not everyone can be the best is it okay to accept being average? We often put a wrong spin on success. Success is measured by happiness not by money.

Listen in as Lee talks about what success looks like and what you can do if you're ready for something different.

You can order Lee's new book, Career Magic, HERE.

Nov 15, 2016

When it comes to employee discipline, you must remain consistent and fair. 

At Disney World, with over 73,000 cast members, the only way to remain consistent and fair is to have a documented system in place. In order to get fired at Disney, you must accumulate 12 points. Everyone knows the system. Everyone knows it is fair.  

If you do not have a clear system in place, now is the time to begin. Nobody should be confused about discipline.

You can get more information on the Time Management Magic course HERE

You can order Lee's new book, Career Magic, HERE

Nov 8, 2016

It is becoming more common to have team members who are working from remote locations. 

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee tackles the challenge of communicating and leading a remote team. 

For managing teams, having a podcast just for your team is an ideal way to keep your team up to date and in touch with what is happening in the company. 

Team members who work remotely can easily feel like they are unnoticed and forgotten. A manager must be deliberate to make sure everyone feels included, encouraged and inspired. 

Nov 1, 2016

When Lee Cockerell was the Executive Vice President of Walt Disney World, he would schedule visits at various properties. But he also made sure he visited the properties unannounced as well. 

You have to know what it is like to do business with yourself. The best way to get that knowledge is first hand. Get out there and experience your business as a customer. 

Even if you have a small business, you can find a way to get the information you need. If you want to know the truth, you will find a way. 

In this episode, Lee also tells the story behind the tie he always wears. The tie is to support one of Lee's favorite charities, Give Kids the World. You can get a tie just like Lee's, and help create magic for kids, by CLICKING HERE

Career Magic, Lee's fourth book, is available here on Amazon

Lee and Jody have begun recording modules for the Time Managment Magic Course. If you want to be the first to know when the course comes out, you can get your name on the list HERE.  

Oct 25, 2016

Creating Disney Magic has hit the 100 episode milestone. Lee Cockerell and Jody Maberry reflect on the past 100 episodes and then answer a listener question. 

Lee talks about the struggle of the balance of having enough staff to deliver an amazing experience and being mindful of staying in your budget. 

Too often, and organization needs more people because they don't have the right people on staff. 

You can now order Lee's new book, Career Magic. CLICK HERE to get your copy from Amazon.

Oct 18, 2016

Lee Cockerell's fourth book, Career Magic, is now available. In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee discusses stories from the book and gives valuable career advice.  

CLICK HERE to order Career Magic from Amazon. 

Oct 11, 2016

The hit movie Frozen was an unexpected success for Disney. In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee Cockerell discusses how Disney handled the success. Lee also talks about how you can handle unexpected success in your business. 

The key is to already have a culture in place where your team is willing to jump in and do what they need to do to respond to the demand of the success. 

Oct 4, 2016

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee Cockerell answers two listener questions, both about attitude. 

Attitude makes the difference in they way you serve customers and guests. Attitude will set you and your organization apart. If employees have a bad attitude, it is because managers allow it. It has to be dealt with promptly. 

But even a good attitude can't overcome poor performance. Being nice only goes so far. Being nice and acting professional is a given. It has to be there. But if you can't perform, attitude can only take you so far. 

Leaders have to deal with the whole person, not just the pieces they want to deal with. 

Sep 27, 2016

Often, Lee Cockerell gets questions about how to get hired at Disney. 

Truth is, it is not easy to get hired at Disney World. It gets harder when you can not afford, in salary or the step back in your career, to take an entry level job. 

There is no short cut to getting a job at Disney, but Lee shares little steps that may help you get noticed. 

Lee's new book, Career Magic, is available for pre-order. You can order it here

Sep 20, 2016

Do you ever have trouble getting paid what you are owed?

A collection problem can be the beginning of the end of a business. 

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee Cockerell gives counsel on how businesses can get paid when customers are slow to give money. Remember, if you don't collect the money you are owed, you can not serve your customers. If you go out of business, you and your customers will lose. 

Lee also discusses the importance of staying current in the news that is most relevant to you. 

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