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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May 26, 2015

Skill can be learned, but attitude must be decided. Lee Cockerell shares a story of how his attitude while peeling potatoes in the Army set him apart. Doing work with a positive attitude, no matter what your job, will ensure you get noticed. 

Having a great attitude and being reliable are the two most important aspects of your career. Self-reflection is the first step to ensuring you are working with a great attitude. 

May 19, 2015

To be an effective leader you need to be a reader. Lee Cockerell explains how reading helps a leader understand current events and effective leadership methods. You can become an expert in any topic just be reading a couple of relevant books. 

Lee also offers reading recommendations. 

May 12, 2015

Stories are a powerful way to connect with other people. 

Stories are all around us in books, movies and even podcasts. Understanding how to tell a good story gives you an advantage in your career. If you want people to remember a point, wrap it in a story. 

In this episode, Lee also talks about why you are cheating yourself if you are not copying ideas from other people. 

May 5, 2015

Your people are your brand. If your employees give terrible service, peope will perceive your company the same way. Bad service given by bad employees will lead people to find another place to buy what you are selling. 

The key is to hire outstanding people. Hiring outstanding people will give you a competitive advantage over competitors. 

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee Cockerell explains the process to hire outstanding people. 

Apr 28, 2015

The founder of Marriot gave Lee Cockerell an unexpected lesson in why you should look professional.

Since Lee learned this lesson, he has always gone out of his way to look professional. In this episode, Lee explains why you need to look professional and the impact it will have on your career.

Lee also talks about the new videos he has filmed for Thrive 15 to help you with time management. Use the code MAGIC for one free month. 

Apr 21, 2015

Lee Cockerell is known as the lovable leader from Walt Disney World, but that wasn't always his reputation. Lee was so tough on those around him he was known as the Doberman. Back then, Lee was not managing his reputation and he became known as someone you may not want to work with. 

Lee will tell you he is no longer a Doberman, he is now a Cocker Spaniel. He changed his mindset and the way he worked with other people. Eventually, he built a reputation as a great leader. In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee offers advice on how to manage your reputation. 

Apr 14, 2015

Although Lee Cockerell is best known for his time with Disney, he is also a great writer. Lee is the author of three books and several hundred blog posts. 

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee answers questions from writers. Lee discusses writing habits, how to deal with writer's block, how to research for your book and much more. 

Apr 7, 2015

One of the keys to creating magic is having high expectations. You can use training to set clear expectations for everyone on your team. 

Training is important to any organization, but training does not have an impact if it is not followed by testing and enforcement. Training and enforcement create excellence because it builds confidence. 

Mar 31, 2015

Lee Cockerell never met Walt Disney. In this episode Lee discusses what he would have asked Walt Disney if they had met. Lee also discusses other great leaders. 

Lee also explains the difference between leadership and management. 

Mar 24, 2015

When you attend training or a conference, just being there is not enough. You need to get the most out of the training. 

Lee Cockerell offers advice on how to get the most out of any training, conference, or class you attend. It begins by sitting in the front row. 

Lee offers insight to how Disney determines how price their products. It is all about value, not price. 

Mar 17, 2015

Being a professional means more than dressing nice. Being a professional is an attitude and a decision to act a certain way. A professional adds value in any situation. 

Lee Cockerell also explains how companies give employees free fuel by recognizing them by name. 

Mar 10, 2015

Many organizations get off track with bad policies and processes. Customers see it and feel it, but often, an organization does not realize the impact of bad process. 

Lee Cockerell explains how you can identify what processes and policies are causing trouble for your organization. 

Mar 3, 2015

Developing college and high school students into leaders gives them a head start in life. Lee addresses how students can begin to develop as leaders and how others can help. 

Lee also reminds us, nothing is the way it is, it is the way you let it be. 

Feb 24, 2015

Lee Cockerell tells the story about growing from a shy young man who dropped out of speech class in college to becoming a keynote speaker. He also offers tips on how you can give great presentations. 

Lee also gives advice on getting the job you want by doing the best you possibly can at the job you have now. 


Feb 17, 2015

When Lee Cockerell took a job with Disney he moved to Paris and hired 200 managers for a new resort. In this episode Lee explains how he created a Disney culture in Paris, where Disney did not have a presence. 

Lee also offers advice on how to gain trust from your team. 

Feb 10, 2015

If your business relies on a product as a competitive advantage, it is only a matter of time before you begin to lose customers. Other business can match your product, but your service will set you apart. 

Excellent customer service can be the best competitive advantage. 

Lee also discusses how entire communities can came together to offer great service and ensure tourists continue to return. 

Feb 3, 2015

When the doors open at your business, it is as if the curtain opens for a show. 

To put on a great show, it takes everyone in your organization to play their role. When everyone realizes they play a role in a show, the team can work together to create a great experience for the customer. 

Lee explains how to adopt the concept of putting on a show in your organization. 

Jan 27, 2015

Have you ever called a company with a question or concern only to be transferred to a customer service department?

Lee Cockerell explains that customer service is not a department. Instead, customer service is an organization wide attitude. It is an approach an organization take to giving authority to employees to serve the customer. 

Jan 20, 2015

Don't underestimate the influence you have on other people. As a leader, it is your responsibility to help those around you become great. 

Lee Cockerell explains how you can help others live up to their potential. 

Lee also discusses how knowing the rules can help everyone win. 

Jan 15, 2015

Is your Time Management Effective?

In this episode, Lee Cockerell explains how to effectively manage time and get more done. All of us have the same about of time available, but the most successful people manage their time different.


Successful people create magic with their time, and you can too. 


Jan 13, 2015

Most people can get 50% more done with their time. Being overworked is not the problem. Being under-organized is the problem.

In Lee Cockerell's new book, Time Management Magic, he outlines the exact system he used to get so much done while he was the Executive Vice President of Operations at Disney World. Time management is the key to Lee's success. 



Jan 6, 2015

Lee Cockerell explains how he used a weekly newsletter, the Main Street Diary, to build connections with Disney Cast Members. The Main Street Diary helped enhance the Disney culture and shared stories of success at Walt Disney World. 

Lee offers advice on where to begin to create a newsletter for your own company. 

Lee also explains why you need to work on the hard things to improve your life. 

Dec 30, 2014

Lee Cockerell asked his 12 year old granddaughter what makes great customer service. Her simple answer of "Be Nice" can have a profound impact on your organization. 

In this episode Lee explains how being nice will help you in customer service, management, and other areas of your life. Lee also outlines a script you can use to be nice during difficult conversations. 

Lee also talks about how to handle a culture of poor customer service in a small company. 

Dec 23, 2014

Lee Cockerell explains an early lesson he learned from Bill Marriott. 

This lesson about flies at a hotel stuck with Lee through the rest of his career. Understanding the concept of "Everyone Has Flies" caused Lee to take responsibility of any problem and grab a flyswatter to attack the problem. 

Lee also discusses the impact time management had on his career and personal life. Lee's upcoming book, Time Managment Magic, outlines the system Lee uses to manage his own time. 

Dec 23, 2014

Everyone who works for Disney is a cast member, not an employee. In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee Cockerell explains why they are called cast members and the impact it has on the culture of Disney. 

Lee also reveals his favorite ride at Disney World. 

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