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Creating Disney Magic

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 joins show host Jody Maberry to discuss how you can apply lessons in leadership, management, and customer service to create magic in your organization.
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Creating Disney Magic
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Jul 16, 2024

"Always do what they expect and then give them something they don't expect. A little plus it up. Give them a little bit more."

Key Moments

02:00 Overcoming insecurity through experience and hospitality.

05:44 Exceed expectations by adding a little extra.

09:05 Appreciate the little things makes life happier.

12:20 Avoiding PowerPoint in presentations to increase engagement.

15:55 More ways to learn from Lee

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Magical Vacation Planners  407-442-2694

It felt like time to take a walk down memory lane to revisit a never-before-heard episode. Jody and I recorded for the very first time together at the 2015 Podcast Movement. This throwback episode highlights timeless lessons on leadership, management, and customer service.

Three key takeaways from the episode:

Embrace Connection: At conferences or any networking events, don't shy away from introducing yourself. Building relationships and connecting with others can lead to invaluable learning experiences and opportunities.

Plus It Up: Inspired by Walt Disney's philosophy, always strive to give a little extra in everything you do. Whether it's adding a thoughtful touch or going the extra mile, those small efforts can leave a lasting impression.

The Power of Small Things: Often, it's not the grand gestures but the small, consistent acts of kindness and appreciation that build strong relationships and a positive work environment. Focus on the little things, and the big things will take care of themselves.

Catch the full episode for more ways to create magic in your organization.

 

Jul 10, 2024

"If you're not doing a good job, I'm going to speak to you about it. If you're doing a good job, I'm going to tell you about it. That's how we work around here

In hiring, clarity is key. Lay it out upfront: the hard work, long hours, and expectations. Magic happens not by chance but by setting clear, honest expectations. Be transparent to avoid disappointment later.

Entry-level work can be brutal. It's essential to prepare newcomers for the reality they’re stepping into. At Disney, we show them all aspects of the job, not just the glamorous parts. Honesty builds stronger teams. One way of making sure you build strong teams is by starting with strong training and setting expectations. They aren't just corporate buzzwords; they're fundamentals. If the team fails, often it's on leadership for not being clear or thorough enough. Train well and communicate often.

Professionalism goes beyond skill. It’s showing up, looking presentable, and acting the part. We can't assume new hires know the basics. Outline every detail, no matter how small. Better over-informed than underprepared. Every role, from housekeeper to manager, deserves clear communication about what it entails. Sugarcoating helps no one. Respect your team by being brutally honest about the work ahead. Authenticity breeds trust and success.

Remember, we're not just hiring bodies. We’re shaping futures, and the clearer we are, the more successful they’ll be. Let’s make sure they know everything they need to thrive.

Make sure to listen to episode 509 "Be Clear About What it Is Like to Work With You" for more on setting clear expectations up front.

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

About Jody Maberry

Mainstreet Leader

Magical Vacation Planners  407-442-2694

Key Moments

01:03 Frustrations with work, lack of promotion, stress, and discontent.

05:49 Performance depends on clarity with training and expectations.

08:33 Be on time and excel for advancement.

09:27 Differences in generational knowledge and awareness.

Jul 2, 2024

"Don't underestimate the influence you have every day on other people around you."

Key Moments

01:14 Family and Leadership

04:06 The Importance of Building Strong Family Relationships 

08:19 Sharing Knowledge and Experiences

11:27 The Importance of Hard Decisions

13:53 Power of Influence

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Magical Vacation Planners  407-442-2694

Don't Underestimate What You Can Accomplish

Leadership starts at home. Parenting taught me clarity and trust. A while back my son, Daniel Cockerell, interviewed me about leadership and parenting. It was recorded during the early days of Dan’s own podcasting venture. Our conversation highlights leadership lessons from a variety of personal and professional experiences.

Whether you are a parent or in a management role it is imerative to have clarity and consistency. Providing clear expectations and addressing issues head-on is crucial. It builds trust and ensures everyone knows where they stand. The key is finding the balance between being serious and showing love.

One thing I learned over the years is that kids and employees like to know the bigger picture and their role in it. They love to ask, "why?" Everyone’s contribution makes a difference when they see the broader impact of their work. It doesn't matter is they are a parking enforcement officer, hospitality worker, or child at school. They want to understand the greater purpose behind the work they are being asked to do.

Often people overestimate what they can accomplish in a day and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. Stay focused on long-term goals while acknowledging daily progress. Remember, your actions today shape the future. Don’t underestimate the influence you have on those around you and the things that you can accomplish. Lead by example and share your wisdom to leave a lasting positive impact. 

Make sure to listen to this episode to her Dan and I talk about navigating leadership, parenting, and how to not underestimate what you can accomplish. Then go take a vacation so you are well rested and ready to take on all the demands of your work. Call Magical Vacation Planners at 407-442-2694 to help you. They can accomplish a lot when it comes to planning your ideal trip. 

Jun 25, 2024

"Make sure you're doing things for other people long before you're going to ask them to do something for you."

Key Moments

01:24 Building Meaningful Professional Relationships

04:57 How to Handle Unresponsive Colleagues

06:31 The Power of a Phone Call or Face to Face Conversation in a Digital Age

07:43 Impact of Personal Stress on Leadership

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Build Relationships Before You Need Them

A crucial aspect of leadership and management is building relationships before you need them. When a someone takes the time to build relationships across departments, they ensure seamless collaboration when the time comes. Throughout my years as a leader, including an executive with The Walt Disney Company, I learned a number of practical strategies that maintain strong connections and while also making sure everyone is held accountable.

Everyone needs to recognize that proactive relationship building is always valuable. Develop strong connections with colleagues outside your department long before you need their help. Invest time in genuine interactions—have a casual lunch, send a thank-you note, or simply check in. These small gestures accumulate and solidify a foundation of trust and mutual support.

When you need to delegate tasks outside your department, be persistent yet considerate. This is not as challenging to do when you have already built a relationship and have an empathetic lens.  Humor and directness can go a long way in breaking resistance. There are times you will have to push through the obstacles, but always maintain a respectful and understanding demeanor towards others' pressures and workloads.

In our digital age, it’s easy to rely on emails and texts. Switch things up and prioritize communication over convenience. Picking up the phone or having face-to-face conversations can resolve issues more effectively and save time. Direct communication makes sure everyone has clarity and shows your commitment to collaboration.

Whether you're in management, customer service, or just interested on leadership advice, this episode is an important one. If you are ready to create magic in your organization, make sure to listen. By the end you will be ready to build relationships that will pave the way for smoother operations and enhanced cooperation.

Magical Vacation Planners does a great job of building relationships. When you are ready for a vacation reach out to them. Once you meet their team you will know why you will want them to plan every trip you take. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Jun 18, 2024

"I think 99% of the time, they don't tell you everything that is causing that, and maybe they don't even know."

Key Moments

01:52 Effective Communication in the Workplace

02:46 The Impact of Workplace Pressure

05:34 Overcoming Fear in Your Career

07:58 The Power of Checking In

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Helping an Employee Deal with Burnout

One topic that resonates with many professionals is employee burnout. Someone recently reached out with concerns about an employee feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. It is a reality many employees and leaders face. However, it is important to recognize that it is not just about one stressor. Burnout is often due to a combination of personal & professional pressures. Identifying the root cause is key.

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • Understand the Underlying Issues: Often, burnout isn’t just about the current workload. It can stem from personal issues or a lack of balance. It's crucial to have open and honest conversations to uncover the root causes.
  • Maintain an Open Dialogue: Consistently check in with your team members. Don't wait for them to come to you; actively engage in discussions about their well-being and potential stressors.
  • Promote a Supportive Culture: Create a workplace environment where employees feel valued and heard. Sometimes, just knowing they have your support can ease feelings of burnout and anxiety.

Some experience burnout more intensely than others so it is important to know how to handle it. From understanding the underlying causes of burnout to practical solutions for alleviating stress, this episode provides guidance to help you support your team members effectively.

If planning a vacation has you feeling burnt out, let our friends at Magical Vacation Planner handle the details so you can truly relax.  Make sure you reach out to them at 407-442-2694.

Jun 11, 2024

“Leaders need to recognize how important it is to have trust and involvement and being inclusive, and especially appreciating people telling you the truth."

Key Moments

03:14 Mishandled meetings lead to a toxic culture.

05:15 Empower employees, listen, learn, and succeed.

07:08 Navigating the choice to improve or accept a bad workplace situation.

09:54 Responding to constructive criticism as a leader.

12:04 Impact of implementing pre-shift meetings

13:45 Recapping the art of effective meetings

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Dealing with Bad Meetings

One way to create a toxic environment and drive away talent is to lead with a “my way or the highway” style. Recently a listener reached out with a question about dealing with bad meetings. The meetings she mentions are so bad that employees now call their meetings the “you suck meeting.” This term was coined by employees frustrated by the negative and authoritarian style of their morning meetings. Unfortunately, culture issues like this can develop in any workplace if leadership doesn't strive for positive and inclusive communication.

If you are ever in a toxic workplace situation and are on your way out, consider writing a helpful and constructive note. Let leadership know the impact of their approach. They may not even realize how their actions are driving away good employees. Workplace information delivered the right way can spark change. On the flip side, if you are staying in a workplace with a toxic culture you are going to have to face a hard truth. You either deal with the environment or start looking for a better one.

Leaders need to pay attention. Creating a toxic atmosphere drives away talent. When an employee gives feedback it is important to be open to it. When you create an environment where people feel included in meetings you are less likey to get to a point where your meetings are no longer deemed effective. There are two essential questions to include in your next pre-shift meeting. What do I need to know to help you do a better job? What do you want to be working on? Empower your team through involvement and support.

If you want to be average, let it go. If you want to be great, everything matters. Aim for greatness. And remember that every detail counts.

To make sure you have a great vacation make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Jun 4, 2024

"Something I learned from Al Weiss was if you don't understand something, ask questions."

Key Moments

01:10 Questions from 500th episode that are focused on Disney

02:49 Importance of asking questions in leadership

06:25 Opening day of "Euro Disney" had challenges with multinational staff

09:31 Disney enforcing professional uniform and appearance standards.

11:08 Value of sharing knowledge across generations.

15:31 Experience and exposure opens eyes to new career paths and possibilities.

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Great Leaders Ask Questions

During our live recording for episode 500 people asked a lot of questions in the chat. Any time someone asks a question I appreciate it. Years ago while working at Disney I realized that great leaders ask questions. During this episode we answer more questions about my years working for Disney, including who taught me to ask questions. 

When I moved to Florida from Paris I worked closely with the president of Walt Disney World, Al Weiss. Al's clarity, financial acumen, and insistence on understanding the details really shaped my approach to leadership. The company has great attention to detail, which is brought to life through hard work and clear communication from leaders. Those were key in making big moments happen, such as the opening of what was then called Euro Disney. Disney's commitment to clear expectations, training, and professionalism are the keys to creating Disney magic over and over again.

One of the best parts of being retired and now teaching, speaking, and conducting workshops on more leadership and management lessons like these. I get a lot of joy in passing on valuable knowledge to individuals of all ages. Not only here in businesses and schools, but in locations like Mexico and Brazil. There are always stories and lessons to share after so many years working for an organization like Disney. Let me know how I can help your organization create their own version of Disney magic. 

Make sure to listen to this episode and find ways you can apply the lessons in your own work environment. Whether it's asking more questions to gain clarity, maintaining high standards, or finding opportunities to pass on knowledge to others. Creating a plan is the first step in creating magic.

Another step to take is to reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694 so they can help you create magic on your trip. 

 

May 28, 2024

"We don't make a big deal out of the podcast. It's just like you dropped by the coffee shop and we were sitting there talking."

Key Moments

02:03 Global connectivity via podcasting

03:48 Value of dialogue about anxiety, depression, and feedback.

08:23 Using a podcast format best fit for your message

11:06 Solve problems through conversations and new perspectives.

15:25 Podcast bloopers and learning opportunities.

17:27 Celebrating 10 years of support for Creating Disney Magic podcast.

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

 How to Spread Your Message with a Podcast

We recently celebrated a big milestone for the podcast with the release of our 500th episode. That episode ended up being a live recording so people all over the world could join us, and they did. Despite Jody losing his voice, the event was a success with a lot of questions popping up in the chat. There were quite a few questions about podcasting, so we decided to dedicate this episode to answering them. 

There have been a lot of topics around leadership, management, and customer service shared over the 10 years of this podcast. Despite not knowing much about a podcast, it didn't take me long to realize that they are a great way to spread your message worldwide. The format we've decided to use, with Jody as the host, has seemed to really help with the conversation and engagement. We haven't had many guests, but when we do they provide great new perspectives. One of the biggest recommendations I have is to keep it authentic and conversational. That is how your audience will connect with you.

There have been a few memorable moments such as the episode when I discussed my experience with depression and anxiety. That one really touched a lot of people. Even though we don't really plan our episodes in advance we've not had a bunch of bloopers. The episodes are great conversations that feel like you are walking into a conversation at the coffee shop. I think that is what has made it so successful. 

This podcast has been great and I have no plans to slow down. At this rate, episode 1000 would be done when I am 90. I love the subjects that come up because it makes me think about the way I handle myself in situations. And when you do this, you learn along the way. It may seem like I am teaching, but I'm also learning. 

If you have been thinking about starting a podcast, go for it. 500 episodes ago I would not have realized how much it would have helped me spread my message around the world.

Thank you for continuing to show up to the podcast. If you want to find the other work we're doing, go to cockerellacademy.com. You can also reach us at leecockerell.com and jodymaberry.com. 

You should also reach out to Magical Vacation Planners for help planning your next vacation. They are great supporters of the show and great support for the people they help plan trips for. Reach out to them at 407-442-2694.

Until next week, go out and create magic for others.

May 21, 2024

"We need less bosses and more teachers because that's where you make the big impact, and that's where people get better, And that's where people get more comfortable with you."

Key Moments

00:57  Reflecting on the importance of teaching, helping others, and leaving a lasting impression.

05:11 Learned skills at Marriott and Disney then developed training and the skills to others

09:06 Professional experience open opportunities to share knowledge and influence others positively.

10:31 Write down skills and strengths when reflecting on career 

13:44 Upcoming workshops and Masterminds with Lee

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Dan Cockerell’s Book How’s the Culture in Your Kingdom?

Be a Teacher

Adopting a teaching mindset can make you a greater leader in your professional and personal life. Once I took on a teacher's mindset I transformed my leadership style and career for the good. It's a lesson that took me a long time to figure out, but pretty fulfilling as I hear about the the long-lasting impact I've had on others' careers and lives. During our conversation, Jody and I talk more about why leaders need to be a teacher, the value of writing down your knowledge, and how you can remain relevant and influential even after a long career.

Three key takeaways from our conversation:

  • Teaching Transforms Leadership: transitioning from being a boss to becoming a teacher can have a profound impact on your career and legacy. It's not just about leading; it's about helping others grow and succeed.
  • Importance of Patience and Repetition: Effective teaching requires patience and the willingness to repeat essential lessons until they are understood. It's these consistent efforts that create lasting value in your team/students' lives.
  • Document and Share Your Knowledge: Whether you're transitioning careers or just want to make a bigger impact, writing down your insights and experiences is powerful. It helps crystallize your thoughts and serves as a valuable resource for others. My son Dan Cockerell did this after retiring from Disney. He used those notes to write his book, "How's the Culture in Your Kingdom?"

Make sure to listen to this episode for more lessons from my career, and how teaching will have a major impact on your personal and professional growth. Let this episode be the inspiration you need to become a teacher in your own right. Let’s continue to learn, grow, and create magic for others.

Looking for someone to teach you a lesson on how to enjoy a relaxing vacation in your dream destination? Make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation with you. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

May 14, 2024

“Every problem in business is a person that didn't do what they say they're going to do.”

Key Moments

01:37 Effective leadership requires self-reflection and collaboration.

03:52 Identifying and overcoming workplace barriers.

05:13 Candor is truth with empathy.

07:01 Identifying and overcoming personal barriers.

10:14 Cockrell Academy program: guiding you to leadership.

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Magical Vacation Planner 407-442-2694

Leaders Break Down Barriers

Great leaders are good at removing obstacles to create a cohesive, efficient workplace. However, sometimes you just don't know why there's a barrier. When you don't know, you feel it and you know it's there, the leader should be the one to step up and find out why. We need to stay committed to the job that we took, which includes taking care of each other and our guests. And when you don't break down those barriers or put in the effort to remove obstacles, one of those is going to suffer.

Whether you are leading a team, managing a project, or trying to excel in your personal life, understanding and overcoming barriers is key to success. Be proactive about detecting and addressing conflicts that can create barriers within teams. Whether these barriers are relational, organizational, or self-imposed, identifying and directly addressing them can prevent minor issues from becoming major roadblocks.

Being honest and straightforward about challenges has a ton of benefits. It clarifies expectations and builds trust within teams. This openness paves the way for more effective collaboration and problem-solving. When leaders create an culture where apologies and accountability are valued, it encourages a more collaborative and trusting team dynamic. Be open, be honest, and lead with empathy. Candor is kindness.

Recently I realized that I needed to remove some barriers in the Cockerell Academy. It has been revamped to make learning leadership, management, and customer service more structured and accessible. It’s now easier than ever to navigate through the resources with guided paths. Check it out and let me know what you think. There is a link below in the resources.

Considering a magical vacation? Contact our friends at Magical Vacation Planner at 407-442-2694 and let them know Lee Cockerell sent you. They’ll help craft a vacation as seamless and enriching as navigating through the revamped Cockrell Academy.

May 7, 2024

After many years in leadership I found there are some great tools to keep in your leadership toolbox. During this special virtual event celebrating episode 500, Jody and I welcomed people to a live recording.  It was a great turnout and fun seeing so many familiar faces. Thank you for the ongoing support and commitment to create Disney magic in your organization.

This episode focuses on one big question to ask yourself:

Do YOU have the right tools in your toolbox to be an effective leader?

When you have a people problem, you need the right tool/tools to fix it. I've put together a list of the tools that have been most effective in my professional and personal life.

42  TOOLS

*Hiring, *Training, *Treatment, Discipline, *Empathy, *Knowledge, *Truth, *Clarity,

*Fairness, *Firmness, *Caring, *Coolness, *Calmness, *Collectedness, *Delegation,

*Trust, *Coaching,  *Courage *Values, *Morals, *Learning, *Hiring, *Training, *Forgivness

*Treatment, *Urgency, *Teach *Hard Conversations, *Patience, *Recognition, *Apology

*Appreciation, *Encouragement , *Respect* Listen, *Inclusive, *Development, *Advice,

*Simple reminder, * Verbal Warning, Written Warning *Termination.

Remember, YOU may have created the problem in the first place by not using the right tools. Using the wrong tools can make the  problem worse. 99 % of all problems are created by people and the other 1% by Mother Nature….Lee Cockerell

Special thank you to Jamie and J.J. Eubanks, founders of Magical Vacation Planners, for joining on this live episode. They are great and always make sure people have a great trip. Make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners to plan your next vacation or group travel event. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

And another thank you goes to Katie Currens, of One Spark Stories podcast, for shifting gears from her usual behind the scene work on the production of the show to tagging in to co-host this special episode.

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Apr 30, 2024

"The most important customer interaction is the one with the person you are in front of."

Key Moments

01:20 Cultivating a Positive Culture in Leadership and Management

02:56 Customer Centric Business Approach

05:08 Personalizing Interactions and Customer Service

09:09 Maintaining Personal Service in Large Organizations

Resources

Register for Episode 500

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Treat People As Individuals

The heart of customer service and leadership is the importance of valuing every person as a "Very Individual Person (VIP)". It's the individual attention and personalized service that makes all the difference in both our professional and personal lives. Every interaction in leadership, customer service, or even daily life can be magical when we understand individual needs. 

Here are 3 key takeaways from this conversation:

- Every Person as a VIP: VIP stands for Very Individual Person. Treating each person according to their unique needs and preferences is what sets exceptional customer service apart from the average.

- Observation & Personalization: To really cater to individual needs, we must observe closely, ask the right questions, and personalize our approach. It’s about going beyond the generic encounters, learning what matters to your customer, and acting on it.

- Consistency & Presence: Whether it's one guest or one team member, the most important interaction is the one you're currently having. Be present, not preoccupied, and give each person the focus they deserve to feel special.

Every day, we meet people with diverse needs. Some want public praise, others a quiet note. Knowing each preference and responding to it is not only key in leadership but in creating life-lasting relationships. Individual care makes all the difference. 

Join us for the milestone 500th episode – a live virtual party with giveaways, including a rare 1-on-1 coaching call with Lee Cockerell himself! 

And if you are about to celebrate your own milestone, make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Apr 23, 2024

"They are perfect place to remind everyone every day about your expectations and pump up the team to win big when delivering to your customers and team members."

Key Moments

00:00 Pre-shift meetings are a key leadership strategy.

04:23 Regular training improves performance and morale.

06:35 Purpose of pre-shit meetings are communication, appreciation, inspiration.

10:14 Effective pre-shift meeting strategies.

12:46 Celebrate 500th episode with giveaways, on May 6th.

Resources

Join the live recording of the 500th Episode

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Creating Magic with Pre-Shift Meetings

As a leader you should understand the importance of pre-shift meetings. These brief interactions can transform your team's performance and engagement, which ultimately impacts your customer experience. These meetings offer so much clarity that I know they are what help Disney World's leaders create excellent, consistent service. I want you to be able to make magic in your organization too. In this episode I detail how you can apply these strategies to your team.

The three things to consider when setting up a team huddle. The first thing to be aware of is that the meetings should enhance communication and clarity. Don't just have a meeting to have a meeting. That will have the opposite effect. Align your team with daily goals and expectations. Provide a platform for team members to ask questions, voice needs, and share vital updates. Use that information they give you to guide the conversations in the huddles.  

Team huddles, or pre-shift meetings, are a great opportunity to boost team morale and focus. Use this time to inspire and motivate your employees and team. Including celebrations is a way to ensure everyone is in a good mindset as they start their shifts. Don't just do a annual or quarterly recognition. Acknowledge individual and team successes regularly.

It is no secret that knowledge is power. There are many times the only way a leader has knowledge of something is if their employee lets them know. Likewise, employees are often busy completing their tasks that they depend on the leader to pass on any new information from the organization. Keep the team informed on pertinent topics, from customer service strategies to safety reminders.

When you are intentional about equipping your team with information it empowers them to deliver exceptional service. Whether you're a seasoned leader or just starting in management, you can create organizational magic by crafting meaningful pre-shift meetings. Take a listen to this episode for more guidance on creating magic with pre-shift meetings. 

Also, don’t forget to mark May 6th on your calendars for our 500th episode celebration. I would love to have you join to celebrate and create more magic together.  And if you are looking to take a trip for your own celebration, reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. They will do a great job planning your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Apr 16, 2024

“People don't know what you’re thinking. You have to have the courage to go tell them."

Key Moments

03:46 Typecasting in the Workplace

06:02 Taking Opportunities for Career Advancement

08:33 Proactive Pursuit of Career Goals

10:54 Preparing for a Career Discussion with Your Boss

13:48 Supervisors Should Focus on Your Career Goals.

Resources

Join us for the live recording of episode 500. You can register here - leecockerell.com/500

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Ask For Your Next Opportunity

If you want to advance in your career there are times that you need the courage to ask for the opportunities you're seeking. Don’t let yourself continue to feel stuck or typecast in your role. The best way to shift toward your next opportunity is by making yourself visible and showing your value to leadership.

Often, employees assume their hard work will automatically be recognized and rewarded. The reality is that it’s not always the case. It is crucial to be proactive about your aspirations. Have an open conversation with your leader about your career goals. Let them know where you envision yourself within the organization and beyond. That will increase the likelihood of creating that next big break for yourself.

In the meantime it is necessary to work on developing a parallel plan. If you've been locked in the same role for a long time, then start to explore and confirm opportunities elsewhere. Seeing other roles will give you reassurance that can provide the courage needed to discuss career progression. It may even prompt a change if progress within the current organization isn't feasible.

Meanwhile, managers need to be more observant and proactive with their team members' career progression. Have regular career discussions and encourage an open-dialogue. That can prevent the loss of valuable team members who feel unnoticed or unappreciated. It's not only about what you can do for your team, but also about recognizing what your team can do for the organization with the right opportunities.

Remember, it's not just about showing up. It's about standing out! Don't wait to be noticed. Take the initiative, demonstrate your value, and ask for the opportunities you want.

Speaking of opportunities, don’t miss the opportunity to be part of 'Creating Disney Magic' history. Sign up to join Lee, Jody, and the rest of the community by heading over to leecockerell.com/500 and registering for the live recording of episode 500!

Make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Apr 9, 2024

"Include others that have been there and are doing the work. They know what works. If you ask their opinion and listen with an open mind, you don't need to know much yourself. And you can still make a good decision."

Key Moments

03:02 Customer and Employee Wisdom

06:12 Inclusive Decision-Making in Business

08:01 Human Ego Impacts Learning Opportunities

09:33 Reflecting and anticipating lead to better leadership.

12:20 Growth and Maturity in Management

14:03 Leading By Example Based On Experience 

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Leaders Don't Need to Know Everything

 

Leaders can get more clarity during times of uncertainty by involving employees in decision-making. Never underestimate the value of frontline employee and customer insights. This is one of those skills that can impact all aspects of life. I was reminded of this as I transition from executive vice president of Walt Disney World to a retired husband.

There is a bit of a distinction between 'authority' and 'actual power', similar to domestic responsibilities versus corporate decisions. Having decision-making power in a business context doesn't necessarily translate to personal life. It is important to understand where one's influence begins and ends. Effective leaders must respect boundaries and recognize the specializations and autonomy of those within their teams—be it at home or work.

Knowing the strengths of your employees it makes it easier navigating moments of uncertainty in leadership. Experienced leaders involve their teams and seek out diverse perspectives to inform decisions. Acknowledging that nobody has all the answers is the sign of smart person. Leaders need to be less impulsive, gather varied inputs, and embrace a collaborative approach. Those will help them manage uncertainty and minimize the risk of costly mistakes.

Leaders should actively consult their teams, especially those on the frontline with direct customer interaction and practical know-how. This helps cultivate an environment of respect and active listening. It not only enriches leaders decision-making process but also creates a culture of inclusion and shared responsibility. Reflecting on past decisions helps leaders anticipate future challenges. This diligent practice can help reduce feelings of insecurity and provide a clearer direction.

Whether you're leading a household or a multinational company, the principles of good leadership remain the same. Lean on experience, listen to your team, and never stop learning. That's how you create organizational magic.

One group that always listens to the needs of their customers is Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Apr 2, 2024

“We sometimes, worry about telling people hard things or things that'll disappoint them. But in the end, if you do it, and you do it the right way, and tell them the truth with good reason, then there shouldn't be an issue."

Key Moments

00:00 Navigating Tough Conversations

04:24 Corporate Restructuring

07:46 Patience While Hiring Pays Off

10:21 Decision Making in Hiring

Resources

Carol Quinn

Best Culture Solutions

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

How to Tell Someone They Didn't Get the Job

No one looks forward to delivering disappointing news to job candidates. Unfortunately some people avoid those difficult conversations altogether. This is a crucial step to maintain positive relationships and uphold a company's reputation. Anyone in a leadership role should be well trained on how to handle informing qualified, yet unsuccessful, candidates that they didn't get the job.

To start, honesty is the best policy. Being truthful yet respectful is important when delivering the news to a candidate who didn't get the job. Maintain transparency and communicate the reasons behind the decision. This helps give them clarity, while maintaining the individual's view of the company and the possibility of future opportunities.

When you are making hiring decisions remember that patience pays off. Throughout my experiences at Marriott and Disney I saw the long-term benefits of holding out for the right candidate. By prioritizing quality over speed, I was able to make strategic hiring decisions that ultimately led to success for both the individuals and the organizations in the long run.

Once you make a decision, be proactive in your communication. Rather than keeping multiple candidates waiting, inform candidates of their status after each interview. This demonstrates respect for the candidates' time and allows both parties to move forward with clarity. This is a way to ensure a positive hiring experience even for those not selected for the role.

Remember, every interaction in the hiring process shapes your company's reputation and culture. Make sure to listen to this episode for more on handling job rejections and the significance of perseverance and patience in the hiring process.

One company that I have hired for the job when planning a vacation is Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Mar 26, 2024

“Your children have to know what you believe in, what you stand for, what the family is, what ethics are, and honesty, and what the expectations are in a family. It's the same in the workplace."

Key Moments

02:37 Workplace Ethics at Disney

04:18Leadership and Transparency

08:02 Importance of Communication and Respect in Teams and Families

11:57 Workplace Discrimination

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Leaders Need to Take a Stand

There can be a number of challenges that come up when you are managing a work environment with cultural differences. It is important to know how to address such situations effectively. Creating a culture of respect and inclusion includes setting clear expectations for behavior and taking swift action when necessary. When leaders take a stand in the workplace they are setting the tone for the culture.

During this episode, Jody and I explore more ways for leaders to take a stand, including:

  • Establish Clear Expectations: It's vital for leaders to set a standard of respect and behavior in the workplace. Clear communication about the organization's values and expectations is crucial.
  • Address Issues Promptly: Leaders need to take quick action when they witness behavior that doesn't align with the established standards. Addressing issues promptly can help prevent toxicity from festering.
  • Encourage Speak-Up Culture: Employees should feel empowered to speak up when they witness inappropriate behavior. Encouraging an open dialogue about respect and inclusivity helps foster a positive and supportive work environment.

Make sure to listen to the full conversation for more effective leadership strategies that will ensure you are creating a positive workplace culture. And make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. They are who you want to help plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Mar 19, 2024

 “You can brag that you have a 99.5 safety rating on your rides, but what if you're the family member of the point 5% that something bad happens to? That's just not acceptable and therefore, there is no wiggle room.”

Key Moments

01:37 Customer Service Challenges and Safety

03:44 Disney Parks Experiences with Safety

08:42 Handling Safety Concerns and Maintaining Guest Experience

11:14 Importance of Leaders Discussing Safety

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Keep Safety a Priority

There is a delicate balance between prioritizing customer service and maintaining safety in a customer-facing role. As a leader it critical that you stick to safety protocols, even in the face of unrealistic customer expectations. As a frontline worker or manager, it's crucial to have the support of management when enforcing safety policies. No one should be bending the rules for customer satisfaction.

Make safety a non-negotiable priority. This should be the case in any customer-facing industry including hospitality and entertainment. While at Disney, we spent a lot of time creating practical strategies for frontline workers and managers to handle situations where safety is at stake. Safety and well-being of guests was put above all else. If they aren’t safe they aren’t going to have a great time.

Safety isn’t a one-time lesson. People need constant reinforcement of safety practices. Everyone needs reminders. Too often people get comfortable and start to assume that nothing will happen to them. It is the responsibility of leaders to consistently communicate and prioritize safety, reinforcing it as a core value within their organization.

Employees depend on having the support of management in adhering to safety policies. Trust and empowerment ensure that frontline workers have the confidence to enforce safety measures.  They want to know that they will be supported by their superiors.

There is a reason that safety is a reoccurring theme in the Main Street Leader newsletter. Regular reminders about safety are crucial. Continuous reinforcement keeps safety at the forefront of everyone's minds while building a culture of responsibility and awareness. Make sure to listen to the full episode for more on prioritizing safety while maintaining exceptional customer service.

If you want to have a safe vacation, then make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. They will help plan your next vacation, making sure you have all the information needed to stay safe and have fun. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Mar 12, 2024

"It's about what can you do, not what you know. A lot of people know a lot, but they can't get anything done."

Key Moments

02:37 Show what you can offer, expertise matters.

06:33 Education and skills matter for job opportunities.

09:11 Early experience crucial, expertise brings further success.

11:44 Overcoming doubts, gaining confidence, finding success.

14:09 Expressing gratitude and encouraging others to create magic.

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Do You Need a College Degree to Succeed?

There is often a debate on whether a college degree is necessary for career success. I belive that experience shows expertise and dedication can outweigh paper qualifications. That is how I became an executive at Marriott and Disney without a college degree. Here are three key takeaways from the episode that you won't want to miss:

1. Experience and Expertise Matter: The modern workplace is increasingly valuing skills and expertise over formal degrees. Companies are more interested in what you can bring to the table and how you can contribute to their success. Highlighting your practical knowledge and accomplishments can often carry more weight than a degree on paper.

2. Focus on Creating an Impact: Emphasize to potential employers what you can do for them and how your unique skills and talents can enhance their organization. Crafting a compelling narrative in your cover letter and during interviews, showcasing your value proposition, can make a lasting impression and set you apart from other candidates.

3. Continuous Learning and Growth: While a college degree can certainly open doors, pursuing ongoing learning opportunities, whether through online courses or professional development, can further bolster your credibility and expertise in your chosen field. Keeping pace with industry trends and continuously enhancing your skill set can serve as a powerful asset in your career journey.

The bottom line is that is important that you are showcasing expertise, skills, and experience to potential employers. It's about what you can do, not just what you know. Make sure to listen to this episode for more on keys to success without a college degree. There are plenty of ways you can be showing that success is within reach regardless of formal education.

One group that knows how to help you have a successful vaction is Magical Vacation Planners. They are always on top of the experiences out there. Make sure you reach out to them to help plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Mar 5, 2024

"This will take someone from feeling like they know nothing all the way through becoming quite successful. And it is done in such a way that the story itself kept the reader's hearts involved and the teaching was strong."

Key Moments

00:00 Book set in New Orleans teaches sales principles

03:27 Collaboration and Mentorship

09:14 "Fusion Point" combines logic and emotion intentionally

11:21 Using Collaborative Storytelling in Businesss 

13:52 Reframing "No" into Valuable Sales Strategy Lessons

19:45 Personal Beliefs Shape Individual Perceptions of Truth

Connect with Bob and Jeff

Order the Book Streetwise to Saleswise

Bob Burg on LinkedIn

Jeff West on LinkedIn

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Becoming Saleswise

Bob Burg and Jeff West have teamed up to write a new book, "Streetwise to Saleswise: Become Objection Proof and Beat the Sales Blues." They join Jody and I for a conversation on the valuable principles this book teaches about sales, rejection, and overcoming objections. There are many themes in this book that relate to experiences in leadership, management, and customer service. During our conversation we talk a lot about the concept of becoming objection-proof and dispelling the myths of overcoming objections in sales. Here are my 3 key takeaways:

  1. Objection-Proof Selling: Instead of trying to overcome objections, work effectively within the objection. Understand the concern, empathize with the prospect, and collaboratively address the root cause. Empathy and understanding are key.
  2. Fusion Points: Harness the power of fusion points to create positive emotional responses connected with logic. This cultivates loyalty, persistence, and happiness in your prospects or clients.
  3. The Power of Story: Bob and Jeff's collaboration on this parable takes the reader through a transformation from a non-salesperson to a star salesperson. The book weaves together both Bob's and Jeff's teaching on leadership, sales, and emotional connections, making it a valuable resource for anyone in sales.

Make sure to listen to this episode and order their book, "Streetwise to Saleswise", using the link listed. I know it will empower and inspire you to elevate your sales game, build meaningful connections, and achieve success in your professional endeavors. While you're at it, make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. They are great a building meaningful connections and helping you with your vacation endeavors. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Feb 27, 2024

"If you've hired the right people and they're committed and loyal and they are trained and they know how to do their job, you can get them ready for you to be gone for a little while."

Key Moments

03:16 The art of delegation as a leader.

05:51 Effectively managing a leave of absence.

08:42 Returning from a leave of absence

09:33 Organization culture’s influence on mental health in the workplace

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Making a Leave of Absence Work

Part of being a leader is developing your team and empowering them to make decisions when someone is on a leave of absence. A member of the Cockerell Academy recently asked a great question about minimizing the impact of taking time off for medical issues. This question highlights another reason to hire right, train them right, and treat them right. When you have the right people in place you can confidently give them the authority to handle things while someone is away. This means preparing for everything leading up to the absence to the transition upon returning to work. 

As soon as it is known that someone will be taking a leave of absence there needs to be an honest conversation between the team and leader. By informing them of a known absence it gives time to make a clear plan for delegation and communication. Document your processes and responsibilities to make it easier for someone to step in. Anticipate important dates and deadlines, and make sure the right people are aware of your absence to avoid any surprises. 

There are situations where challenging circumstances require an extended absence. If this seems to be the case, have a transparent conversation with your team. By openly addressing potential changes in the duration of an absence, the team can work towards minimizing undue stress and uncertainty, both for themselves and their colleagues. Having a discussion about the "what ifs" can help reduce stress and ensure everyone is on the same page.

When it comes time to transition back to work, express gratitude to the team that supported the needs during an absence. This act further enhances a positive work environment by reinforcing a culture of mutual care and support among colleagues. These situations are a perfect reminder of the importance of creating a workplace culture that acknowledges life’s unpredictability. It really shows up when the organization demonstrates genuine empathy towards employees’ personal circumstances.

Remember, taking time off is important for many reasons including health and well-being. As leaders, invest in the time to create a supportive environment where people can take care of themselves and each other without added stress or anxiety.

If you are looking to get away for an extended time, Magical Vacation Planners can help you make the most of that absence. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Feb 20, 2024

"Create products based on the problems you are good at solving and you like solving."

Key Moments

01:27 Career transition strategies for coaches. 

03:13 Strategy sessions for high-value companies; focus on product messaging to boost sales.

08:51 Offer specific coaching services for targeted results.

10:04 Creating high-dollar workshops to increase sales.

13:09 Experienced mentors provide value through their wisdom and belief in achieving goals.

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Starting as a Coach

It is not impossible to become a successful coach that turns your expertise into a profitable career. Donald Miller returns to talk about the world of coaching and his new book, "Coach Builder: How to Turn Your Expertise Into a Profitable Coaching Career." He shares valuable insights on how to start and run a profitable coaching business.

During this episode we discuss:

  • When starting a coaching business, it's essential to design a menu of products and offerings rather than being vague about your services.
  • New coaches should focus on specific problems they are good at solving and enjoy solving, and create products around those areas.
  • Why professionals often underestimate their potential impact and need to learn how to effectively market their expertise and experience.

Listen to the full episode for coaching tips and unique perspectives on starting as a coach. And make sure to get Donald Miller's new book, "Coach Builder". It offers a wealth of bonuses and tips for aspiring coaches, including a list of 27 successful coach websites. Transform your expertise into a thriving coaching career with essential resources and guidance like this episode and book.

One place that has clearly designed a business around a specific offer is Magical Vacation Planners. They are who you will want to help plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Feb 13, 2024

“Maybe it's time to pivot your career and start pouring into other people all the wisdom that you've gotten to save them a heck of a lot of trouble that they could get into." - Donald Miller

Key Moments

[00:04:45] – The impact of coaching

[00:06:44] - The inspiration behind Donald Miller’s new book, "Coach Builder."

[00:08:54] – Transitioning to coaching and making money as a coach

[00:11:42] - The value of coaching and consulting.

[00:14:39] – How to access Donald Miller's new book and additional resources.

Resources from Donald Miller

Order the Book Coach Builder

Visit the website https://coachbuilder.com/

Connect with Lee

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Building a Coaching Business

Donald Miller is a renowned author and expert in business coaching. He returns to the podcast for another conversation about how business leaders unlock their full potential. This time by building a coaching business. We also discuss his new book, "Coach Builder: How to Turn Your Expertise into a Profitable Coaching Career." There are a lot of opportunities in the world of coaching, especially once you understand how personal experiences add value to your wisdom in coaching.

Coaching is not just about imparting knowledge. It is also about leveraging one's expertise to build a fulfilling coaching career. Donald Miller's new book, "Coach Builder: How to Turn Your Expertise into a Profitable Coaching Career," is designed to help individuals discover the potential within themselves to transition into the coaching profession. No one should underestimate the value of sharing wisdom and knowledge through coaching.

Acknowledging setbacks and failures is part of the journey toward success. Sharing personal challenges and seeking guidance has the power to inspire and connect with a wider audience. Donald mentions the impact of providing a safe space for entrepreneurs to share their struggles. Doing that can lead to incredible opportunities, such as connecting with influential individuals for mentorship and personal growth.

Connect with others to share stories of resilience, opportunity, and risk-taking. Opening up and networking has the potential to uplift and empower others. Sharing stories and experiences goes a long way with people. Through exchanging stories and wisdom, individuals can gain invaluable insights, find inspiration, and build connections that drive personal and professional growth.

Make sure to listen to the full episode for more information about building a coaching business. Remember, embracing the power of coaching and collaboration can lead to transformative opportunities and the creation of a supportive network for personal and professional development.

Of course, we couldn't forget to mention our friends at Magical Vacation Planner. If you're considering a VIP tour at Disney World like Donald, be sure to give them a call at 407-442-2694.

Feb 6, 2024

"Make sure you reach and research a subject to understand it. Become an expert, and you'll probably come off as an expert."

Key Moments

02:10 Research and collect input from others.

04:54 Organize knowledge and gain confidence to share your ideas.

08:31 Speak up to share your ideas and opinions. 

10:09 Companies need experts for informed decision-making.

Make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Building Credibility

It is important to compose yourself and create credibility, especially when you have limited experience in a new management role.  This is especially true if you want to nail your executive presence and create credibility in front of your leaders. Collect information and ideas from others, practice speaking up, and be fearless in presenting new concepts to executives. Continuous learning and preparation are the easiest way to build credibility.

Enhancing your executive presence is about conveying confidence in your ideas, knowledge, and abilities. Don't be afraid to speak up and share your thoughts in meetings. Your expertise will shine through. Just remember that building credibility in a new management role takes time and effort. Immerse yourself in the company's values and products, gather insights from experienced colleagues, and always be prepared to discuss customer service and training programs. 

Don't let intimidation hold you back. Create an open and supportive environment where all ideas are welcome. Your organizational success is dependant on creating a circular team dynamic where expertise surrounds and supports you. This concept is focused on the idea of leaders being surrounded by experts, rather than being at the top of the traditional hierarchy. Implementing this approach creates a supportive culture that values diversity of thought. Even if you are new in a role, you can help create an environment that celebrates continuous improvement and collaboration.

Knowledge is power. Strive to become an expert in your field by staying informed, learning from others, and continuously expanding your understanding of leadership, management, and customer service. Confidence comes from expertise.

Jan 30, 2024

"If you understand how it benefits a customer and you get to know your customers, then you can promote or upsell products that are a good fit for them because you know them."

Key Moments

02:21 Employee motivation for cross selling.

04:36 Importance of understanding, rehearsing, and training for product sales.

07:12 Promote products by understanding and educating customers.

12:19 Cockrell Academy is shifting to individual courses.

Resources

The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader

Upselling Your Products

It takes a clear understanding of your customer to encourage and motivate employees to upsell products and services through service. 

Providing thorough education on the products and services offered will empower your team. Once they understand what they are selling, they will be able to confidently engage with customers and understand the value of each offering. When employees understand the benefits of a product or service, they can effectively communicate how it can serve the customer's needs.

Offer solutions, Nnot just sales. Encouraging a mindset of offering solutions rather than just making a sale can significantly impact how employees approach upselling. By focusing on how a product or service can benefit the customer, employees are more likely to authentically promote offerings that are genuinely valuable to the customer.

Embrace personalization of your product or srevice. The power of personal touch cannot be overstated. Whether in a traditional business or in a digital environment, personalized interactions resonate with customers. Personalized outreach and product recommendations can effectively capture a customer's attention and convey genuine care, enhancing the upselling process.

It wouldn't be right to talk about knowing what your customer wants without sharing an exciting update that we are revamping the Cockrell Academy. All our courses available for individual purchase. Whether you're interested in mastering time management, honing leadership skills, or elevating customer service, you'll soon have the opportunity to access our wide range of courses on-demand.

Make sure to listen to this episode in full to hear more on upselling your products. And if you want to plan a vacation, make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. They get to know their customers so much that they know exactly what experiences you'd love. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

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