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Creating Disney Magic


Lee Cockerell shares his wisdom and experience from his time as the Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World. Along with host Jody Maberry, Lee discusses how you can apply lessons in leadership, management, and customer service to create magic in your organization.


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Lee Cockerell shares his wisdom and experience from his time as the Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World. Along with host Jody Maberry, Lee discusses how you can apply lessons in leadership, management, and customer service to create magic in your organization.




Starting as a Coach

"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: 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.


Building a Coaching Business

“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 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.


Building Credibility

"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.


Upselling Your Products

"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.


Follow Through With Training

“Most people want to do a good job, but they just fall back into their habits.” Key Moments 01:07 Managers need to reinforce good habits in employees. 05:17 Leadership requires empathy and patience. 08:02 Frontline staff are key to customer experience. 10:31 Consider time and effort before making changes. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Follow Through With Training Every manager has had to train new employees at some point in their leadership journey. Recently a listener reached out with a relatable question. Tina said, ““I train people, but a few weeks in, not only are they not doing what they were trained to do, they have even picked up poor habits. What do I do about it?" There are several ways to effectively train new employees, rectify bad habits, and reinforce company standards. It is vital that leaders are present and observant within your organization. Correct employees immediately when they deviate from the training. On the flip side, make sure you are consistently reminding them of the desired behaviors. It’s like parenting. You need patience and repetition to instill positive habits. Routine and repetition are your best friends. And if things don’t change right away, don’t let yourself get too frustrated. Morning huddles or pre-shift meetings are a great way to reinforce company standards. These short sessions can serve as a platform to refresh employees on essential behaviors, taking care of the customer, and paying attention to detail. By doing this every morning, managers can effectively correct issues and ensure that employees are aligned with the company's expectations. It is important to reinforce training and messages consistently, considering employees' limited experience and knowledge. The training process should involve a recurring reinforcement of the key principles rather than a complete retraining of all employees. Do this along with routine observations and immediate feedback or corrections can significantly contribute to the development of a well-functioning team. When employees consistently fail to adhere to the current training, it's time for managers to make a judgment call. If essential corrections and reminders have not resulted in improvements, it may be necessary to consider making personnel changes. Ultimately, managers should decide if a change is needed after extended efforts to rectify the situation. Make sure to listen to the full episode for more on the importance of consistent observation, training reinforcement, and knowing when to make changes to build and maintain a successful team. Remember, managing new employees is a bit like parenting, where lots of patience and guidance are needed. One group that continuously follows through with training is Magical Vacation Planners. They make sure everyone on their team is ready to help plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


Become a World Class Organization

"Poor and good are the same because they're not great. And I think if you want to be world class, you have to have that attitude that poor and good are the same." Key Moments 00:08 - What Does it Mean to be World Class? 04:51 - Examples of World Class Businesses 06:30 - Importance of Consistency, Excellence, and Commitment 11:59 - Maintaining a World Class Business 14:40 - Cockerel Academy and World Class Workshops Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Become a World Class Organization Many people want to have a "world-class" organization, but few truly know what they mean by that. During the years I worked at Hilton, Marriott, and Disney I was able to experience it first-hand. With that said, world-class customer service is not reserved only for famous and large-scale organizations. Even a small corner restaurant in your town can be world-class if it ticks all the right boxes. Consistency, excellence, and customer satisfaction are integral to being world-class. Consistency is the key to achieving world-class customer service. From the moment your customers interact with your brand, they should feel a sense of familiarity and trust. By consistently delivering exceptional service at every touchpoint, you establish a reputation for excellence that sets you apart from your competitors. Excellence is not just a goal, it's a way of life when it comes to providing world-class customer service. It means going above and beyond for your customers, exceeding their expectations at every turn. Whether it's anticipating their needs before they even arise or providing personalized solutions tailored to their individual preferences, excellence is about consistently striving for greatness in every interaction. Commitment is what separates the ordinary from the extraordinary in the realm of customer service. It's about making a promise to yourself and your customers that you will always go the extra mile to ensure their satisfaction. This unwavering commitment is what builds trust and loyalty, turning first-time customers into lifelong advocates for your brand. By implementing these into your own business practices, you'll be well on your way to creating a truly magical experience for each and every one of your customers. Make sure to listen to this episode to discover how you can make a lasting impact on the lives of those you serve. Remember: To be great, everything matters. Also, we are so pleased to share this exciting news. We've hit 4 million downloads! A big thank you to every one of you. Your unwavering support and love have been instrumental in getting us here. Make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


Let Your Team Know What You've Done For Them

“It’s natural to complain about what we didn't get in life instead of remembering what we have." Key Moments 00:57 Reminding employees of support and solutions provided. 03:29 Showing appreciation through listening and communication. 07:26 Respectfully communicate, record feedback, and communicate back for trust and improvement. 09:40 Opinions matter. Communication is essential for positive morale. 12:56 Cockerell Academy and newsletter Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Let Your Team Know What You've Done For Them When leaders effectively explain the actions taken to address their teams’ concerns, it leads to greater trust and appreciation. It starts by actively listening to employees' concerns and ideas. By creating a system to record and address their feedback, you build trust and show that their opinions matter. Leaders need to keep employees informed about the actions taken based on their feedback. Whether it's fixing a leaking water fountain or providing more coat hangers, acknowledging, and addressing their needs is crucial. The natural tendency for individuals is to focus on what they didn't receive rather than appreciating what they have been given. This extends to employees, who may remember what their leaders failed to address, rather than recognizing the efforts made on their behalf. It is important to periodically remind employees of the actions taken to address their concerns and improve working conditions. This acknowledgment serves as a powerful form of validation. It shows that their opinions are valued, and their needs are being actively tended to. While leaders may worry about coming across as boastful, communicating your actions isn't about self-promotion. Instead, it's about showing appreciation, building trust, and making employees feel valued. Creating a 'you said, and we listened' newsletter is one way to detail the feedback received from employees and the actions taken to address their concerns. This not only demonstrates transparency but also shows respect for the employees' viewpoints. Leaders are encouraged to explain the reasons behind decisions, whether they pertain to implementing suggestions or facing constraints. This open communication and genuine transparency cultivate a culture of understanding and mutual respect within the workplace. Understanding and empathizing with the employees' experiences is incredibly important as a leader. Seemingly simple requests such as additional coat hangers for housekeepers or functioning equipment holds major importance in the daily operations. By acknowledging and addressing these concerns, leaders communicate their empathy and dedication to ensuring a conducive work environment. The acknowledgment of these efforts communicates a powerful message—leaders recognize and value the vital contributions of every team member. By being present in the operational environment, leaders can better understand the needs and challenges of their teams. Actively engaging with employees not only provides insights into necessary improvements but also signifies the leaders' commitment to truly understanding and addressing the concerns of the team. Make sure to listen to this episode to hear more about the power of acknowledgment and effective communication. Let your team know what you’ve done for them in a way that creates a more inclusive, respectful, and thriving work environment. One group that will always let you know what they've done for you is Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation and communicate all the ways they are making that dream trip happen. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


Make a Big Deal Out of the Little Things

"Success came from the way they started, the way they were persistent, the way that when they had a problem, they worked through it.” Episode Highlights 00:57 Business success comes from founders' persistence and passion. 04:24 Excellent service and quality product helps business growth. 08:45 The impact of Disney, Hilton, and Marriott success in existing vs. new industries. 14:20 Successful business strategy to Identify problems, find solutions, seek improvement. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Make a Big Deal Out of the Little Things Newer businesses have a lot to learn around the things that have kept Hilton, Marriott, and Disney successful for over 100 years. These companies have stood the test of time. One of their greatest strengths is emphasizing the importance of paying attention to even the smallest details. Each of their founders had relentless passion and persistence. They also made sure to lay the groundwork for offering exceptional customer service and an unwavering commitment to cleanliness and friendliness. The ethos of Hilton and Marriott are their attention to detail and pursuit of improvement. Those have been key factors in their exceptional growth and success over the years. It’s amazing seeing the success of newer business that are applying these principles. Coffee for The Soul is my favorite coffee shop and a perfect example of a company that is thriving by making a big deal out of the little things. Focusing on the small details can lead to long-term success, regardless of the business's age or industry. The leaders of these successful businesses also have an unwavering persistence in the face of challenges. They believe in their vision and push through tough times to achieve greatness. There is a lot to learn from the success of these companies. From the commitment to hiring, training, and treating employees well, to their dedication to delivering exceptional customer experiences. Rather than reinventing the wheel, seek out the best in your field and find ways to make their methods even better. Use what you learn to carving out your niche in the market. Make sure to listen to this episode to hear more about the basic principles can often have the most significant impact on a company's long-term success. No matter what industry you're in, these timeless lessons in leadership, management, and customer service can be the key to your own long-term success. If you want to have a great vacation, then talk to our friends at Magical Vacation Planner. They pay attention to the details. Reach out to them at 407-442-2694.


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The Secret to What People Really Want

“There's not a personal I wouldn't say they appreciate it when they get some positive feedback and encouragement and, Even the people who got a bad attitude, that's how you turn a bad attitude around is over time.” Episode Highlights 00:43 Importance of appreciation, recognition, and encouragement. 05:14 Offering genuine praise and acknowledgment is important and free, and it benefits everyone. 08:42 Satisfaction comes from making a positive impact. 12:23 Maintaining positive attitude crucial for employee productivity. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader The Secret to What People Really Want The secret to great leadership and creating a positive work culture is all about "burning the free fuel”. It’s a critical element for effective leadership and management practices. People crave appreciation, recognition, and encouragement. It's the fuel that drives motivation and unleashes productivity. And the best part? It costs absolutely nothing. Appreciation is more than just saying "thanks." It's about genuinely valuing and respecting the people around us. Everyone craves a little appreciation. Whether it's a co-worker's hard work or a friend's support, taking the time to say "hey, I see you and I'm grateful for you" can have a serious impact on their day. Hearing your name in the spotlight can be a real game-changer. That is why even a little recognition goes a long way with people. Whether it's a shoutout in a meeting or a one-on-one kudos, recognizing someone's effort can light a fire under them. It's all about growing together, professionally and personally. Ever felt like a little pep talk changed your entire outlook? That's the magic of encouragement. It can melt away stress and boost confidence. A solid dose of encouragement goes a long way in driving positivity and progress. Without the fuel of positivity, productivity can tank, and team morale can hit rock bottom. It's a wake-up call to the power of these three simple acts. Appreciation, recognition, and encouragement are the real deal. They impact everything from team dynamics to personal relationships. Which is why it is so important that we revisit the secret to what people really want. The more we fit them into our lives, the more everyone around us feels truly valued and supported. Embracing the power of appreciation, recognition, and encouragement doesn't just make our lives better – it makes the lives of those around us better too. Magical Vacation Planners The next time you want to take a trip make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. They know the secret to what people really want on vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


The Peril of Not Keeping in Touch with the Front Line

"Our job as a leader or a parent is to keep our people emotionally, psychologically, and physically safe." Episode Highlights 001:07 Importance of leaders building trust and openness 04:45 Open communication crucial for understanding in relationships. 09:00 Confirming, addressing, and neutralizing disrespectful behavior in the workplace. 12:36 Becoming aware of personal responsibility, taking action. 13:24 Understanding self-improvement, take action, communicate, and address issues in leadership. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader The Peril of Not Keeping in Touch with the Front Line One of the biggest mistakes I see leaders make is not keeping in touch with the front line. We recently had someone ask what to do when a manager has not been treating staff with respect, causing upheaval within the organization. There are a few ways to address issues like this and regain the trust and respect of the team. But if you want to know what's going on, you have to spend time being out and about with your employees. You have to spend time building comfortable relationships with your team. If you are not staying connected with the front line, it becomes more challenging to handle managerial issues that are impacting the organizational culture. Despite the convenience of virtual meetings, nothing replaces the power of face-to-face interaction. It's essential for leaders to engage with their teams beyond meetings. More positive interactions foster trust, connection, and the opportunity to address issues before they escalate. When managerial misconduct is identified, swift and decisive action is necessary. Whether it's holding tough conversations, demoting, or terminating, addressing issues is crucial to safeguard the team and organizational culture. Leaders must take ownership of their team's well-being. By admitting faults, initiating change, and ensuring a safe and open work environment, leaders can cultivate trust and support within their teams. Transparency and open communication are vital in leadership. There is a lot of power in admitting mistakes when you are wanting to make positive changes. Make sure to listen to this episode to learn more about ways to stay connected with the front line. This is a great conversation on addressing management issues with transparency and empathy, reinforcing the importance of taking responsibility and driving positive change. Being aware of the dynamics within an organization is what will help you create a culture of trust and respect in the workplace. If you are ready to interact with some incredible frontline workers, then make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


Solving Problems as a Team

"Quit having meetings and have conversations." Episode Highlights 00:00 Teamwork in escape room teaches effective problem-solving. 05:58 Asking for opinions builds team trust. 09:31 Setting deadlines cultivates success in all areas. 12:19 Cockrell Academy for team problem-solving courses. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Leaders can bring their team together to solve problems by asking questions and creating a culture of inclusion and respect. Using the collective expertise of your team helps achieve better solutions. It all starts by creating a supportive and collaborative environment. During this episode we discuss the importance of solving problems with the team. Never underestimate the value of involving others in problem-solving. It's about leveraging diverse perspectives, experiences, and expertise within the team to arrive at the best solutions. The best way to solve problems is by working with others. One of the key roles of a leader is to ask a lot of questions. By doing so, leaders show respect for their team members ideas and opinions. Simply by encouraging participation in a conversation, leaders are fostering a culture of inclusiveness and collaboration. Setting clear deadlines is crucial for focusing the team's efforts on solving problems efficiently. This conversation highlights the importance of instilling a culture of respecting deadlines and the urgency of addressing issues promptly. Make sure to listen to this conversation for practical insights that you can apply in your workplace that will get everyone working together, solving problems as a team. For leadership and management insights that will help you guide your team to solve problems together, check out the Cockrell Academy. It has courses on performance excellence and frontline rules, tailored to help you and your team thrive. Also, avoid any probems booking your next vacation by reaching out to Magical Vacation Planners. If you're taking any trips at the start of next year or planning ahead for summer, give them a call at 407-442-2694. They can help you plan a great vacation


Planning Organizational Communication

“Keep some of the trust within the organization by respecting your team enough to tell them before the whole world knows about something.” Episode Highlights 02:50 Timely communication builds trust. 05:15 Keeping secrets can be detrimental to organizational culture 08:43 structured systems help decide what facts to include and what to omit. 12:12 “Frontline Rules” is coming to Cockerell Academy about operating on the front line. 13:06 Importance of preparation and first impressions. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Planning Organizational Communication A great way to create a positive culture is by planning organizational communication. It is so important to have a system for effectively communicating within an organization. This is especially true when it comes to delivering sensitive news or announcements. Throughout my years at Disney and Marriott I have had good and not so great experiences to ensure that information reaches the right people in the right order, while avoiding leaks to the press or public. When delivering important news it is crucial to have a well-thought-out plan in place. This is true whether it's within a company or even within your family. Identify who needs to know first and in what order the information should be shared to avoid surprises and maintain trust. Then respect the order of communication. In today's fast-paced world, news can spread like wildfire. Unfortunately, it often spreads with inaccurate information. Time is of the essence when it comes to organizational communication. Act quickly, follow the planned order, and ensure the right people are informed before the news leaks outside of your circle. The reality is that despite well intended planning, leaks can still occur. If news gets out before you have a chance to address it internally, accept responsibility and apologize sincerely. Highlight that this is not the norm and emphasize the importance of trust and open communication moving forward. Make sure to listen to this full episode for more on the significance of creating structured systems for communication and how it builds a culture of trust and respect. One organization that does a fantastic job with communication is Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694. New Course in Cockerell Academy There is come exciting news: a new course is being added to the Cockrell Academy—the Frontline Rules. This course is designed specifically for frontline employees. It focuses on the skills and knowledge to excel in the role and make a lasting impression. Learn about the power of first impressions, effective communication techniques, and much more. Keep an eye out for this course, which will be added to the Academy around Christmas time. And, remember, the Frontline Rules course will only be available to members of the Cockrell Academy, so make sure to sign up today at!


You Can be Nice and Tough

“When you lead, be tough, not hard." Lee Cockerell Episode Highlights 01:04 Gain a reputation of high standards. 05:32 Rules and values must be enforced to be effective. 07:36 Appearance impacts perception of leadership and quality. 10:33 High standards requires consistent education, training, and discipline. 13:16 Train managers to make tough decisions. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader You Can Be Nice and Tough A listener recently reached out with a question about my leadership style. They say that Disney employees describe me as a legendary leader, but also mention that working under me could be challenging due to my high standards. I have to say that I agree with this assessment. It comes down to having the courage to enforce rules. Being tough doesn't mean being mean or disrespectful. It's about taking responsibility as a leader or manager and ensuring that policies, procedures, values, and ethics are upheld. It's about creating a culture of excellence. Being an effective tough leader has similarities to a mother's love. Mothers are nice but also tough when they see their children veering off course. Toughness is about caring and helping people grow, not about being harsh. Finding the balance between hiring nice people and being tough when needed is key. I have always believed in hiring nice individuals, but that doesn't mean compromising on standards. Enforcing rules leads to consistency and establishes a brand. If the standards aren’t being met, then tough conversations are crucial for growth. Involve everyone in the conversation, listen to different viewpoints, and find solutions together for the benefit of customers and the company. Being tough also doesn't mean knowing everything or always having to be right. There are times we must trust that the people above us have knowledge and insights we may not possess. Leaders must be open to learning and changing their minds if convinced by a different perspective. It's about doing the right thing, even when it's hard. To achieve excellence, you can never lose sight of the importance of high standards and enforcing. Education, training, and enforcement are the keys. It's not about being mean, but about keeping things on track and ensuring quality and safety. Time and experience make us better. Looking back, I may have made mistakes, but that's part of the growth process. One thing I didn’t make a mistake on was consistently talk about the importance of enforcing rules. By making it an expectation, it becomes easier over time and less emotionally charged. Leaders who hold high standards create better, more resilient teams. Make sure to listen to this episode for more about how you can be nice and tough as a leader. You can also sign up for the Cockrell Academy and our Community Calls by going to A group that is very nice to work with is Magical Vacation Planners. Let them handle the tough stuff and plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


Preparing for the Next Level of Your Career

“People don't like a lot of the jobs they have to do, but they look back on them and think, ‘wow! Look how much I learned back then’.” Episode Highlights 01:30 Competition is increasing; experience and skills are important. 03:16 Exposure to new cities and ways of doing things elevates one's level. 07:30 Exposure, experience, and knowledge lead to growth. 11:57 Time management; schedule the things that are important to you. 13:36 Promoting someone lacking experience but has potential. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Preparing for the Next Level of Your Career As you climb the professional ladder each level brings new challenges and competition. Prepare yourself by acquiring knowledge, gaining experience, and seeking exposure to new ways of doing things. During this conversation Jody and I discuss preparing for the next level of your career. The journey to success requires continuous growth. While getting a promotion is certainly something to celebrate, it is also easy to feel overwhelmed. If you feel like you're playing catch-up, don't panic. Seek support, ask questions, and invest in your development. Remember, technical skills can be learned, but soft skills like time management and communication are equally crucial. On the flip side, if you're promoting someone into a leadership role, ensure they are equipped for success. Provide training, mentorship, and resources such as the Cockrell Academy to help them develop essential skills and unleash their potential. Investing in your team's growth is investing in your organization's future. Time management is critical if you want to move from planning to success. Don't let time slip away from you. Develop effective time management skills to stay organized and focused. Schedule important tasks, prioritize wisely, and make time for activities that matter to you. Don't let years pass by without achieving the personal and professional milestones you aspire to. Never underestimate how much you can learn and grow. Seek specialized knowledge, invest in courses like the Cockrell Academy, or reach out for coaching and counseling. The more you know, the better prepared you'll be to excel in any setting and unleash your true potential. If you want to take your vacation to the next level we know who you can call. It's not like getting a promotion where you have to do all the work. You could call magical vacation planner at 407 442-2694. Let them know you're ready for a better vacation than you're used to, and they will take care of you.


Take Advantage of Information

“If you want to have a better life and start to do better, to be better, and to feel better, you need to start making better decisions." - Lee Cockerell Episode Highlights [00:01:32] The importance of following up [00:04:50] Make time for learning; Manage your time to improve your life. [00:09:30] Analyzing meetings is essential for getting more out of training and meetings [00:12:47] Hiring, training, and treating employees well are key factors that impact performance. [00:14:11] A recap of high impact books featured on the podcast. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Take Advantage of Information One of the things I really worry a lot about is when people don’t take advantage of information and resources available to them. With almost 500 episodes of the Creating Disney Magic podcast there is a wealth of knowledge and tools to help people succeed. We also provide education that is practical and actionable with the Cockrell Academy and our monthly Main Street Leader subscription. But here's the catch: you have to take the initiative. You have to take advantage of information that is available. If you want to get ahead then recognize the importance of utilizing the wealth of information available and the significance of continuous learning. Leaders need to prioritize self-improvement and to make intentional efforts to enhance their knowledge and skills. There are a number of resources made available through the Cockrell Academy, including courses and monthly subscriptions focused on leadership and management. When you sign up for these resources make sure to fully engage with them. Schedule dedicated time for learning and personal growth. Take a listen to this episode, 475, to hear more on the impact of knowledge, experience, and exposure on becoming the best version of ourselves in both our personal and professional lives. Planning a vacation is easy with Magical Vacation Planners. They are ready to take care of you. Let them plan your next vacation by reaching out to them at 407-442-2694.


Pay Attention to People

“Make things better through your people, not through you." Episode Highlights [00:01:11] Good leaders train, appreciate, recognize, and develop employees. [00:03:59] Impactful communication key for emotional well-being. [00:07:33] Pay attention to signs of anxiety and depression. [00:09:50] Most important things as a leader are details and people. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Pay Attention to People Paying attention to people is an essential leadership skill. It can lead to improved performance, employee satisfaction, and overall success. The root of everything, good or bad, lies in great people. When leaders are clear with expectations, provide training, appreciation, recognition, and development, employees pay attention to the details. It all starts with people. Sadly, some leaders neglect their responsibility towards their team. They don't know their people, don't care about their career, and fail. Creating an environment of trust, appreciation, positive feedback, and emotional safety is crucial for productivity and growth. Understand that people are sensitive and fragile. Treat them well, and they will thrive. Remember, it's not just about attention to operational detail. People need attention too! Notice when something has changed with your team. A gentle approach can save their career, their view of the company, and even their personal struggles. Pay attention! In challenging times like these, anxiety and depression are prevalent. It's our responsibility to be alert and pay attention to everyone in our lives. Look for signs that people need support and positive interaction. Let's be there for one another. Attention to people is the heart of effective leadership. When leaders prioritize their team's well-being, everything else falls into place. Let's commit to being leaders who create magic by paying attention to the people who make it all possible. People that know how to plan a trip are the agents with Magical Vacation Planners. Let them help plan your next trip. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


Be Relentless About Details

“Almost every part of your life, day, moment and its details will help you be safer, better, more well thought of, and probably more successful." Episode Highlights [00:02:15] Do better, faster, and keep promises. Hire people who get things done. [00:03:32] Attention to detail is crucial for success. Start early and make time for revisions. [00:07:07] Not taking the time to research can cause missed opportunities. [00:12:27] People strive to be good. [00:13:21] Marriott leadership was always seen and people know their feedback was received Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader Be Relentless About Details Details are the difference-maker in successful organizations. Paying attention to the small things can have a huge impact on your personal and professional life. Just imagine taking a wrong turn or missing a small step in a process. These seemingly insignificant details can have a huge impact on the outcome. It's all about making the right decisions and paying attention to the little things. Attention to detail is a reflection of your character. Remember, you're not a product of your circumstances, but rather the decisions you make. Being detail-oriented shows your commitment to excellence and reliability. It's about delivering on your promises and getting things done. Being someone who consistently gets things done without compromising quality instantly sets you apart from the pack. Time management plays a crucial role in attention to detail. Starting early, checking and double-checking, seeking feedback, and using resources wisely are all part of a well-rounded approach to being detail-oriented. Prioritize and allocate time effectively to avoid rushed mistakes. Sure, we want airline pilots and cardiologists to be detail-oriented, but think about your own career. Your reputation and success are on the line. Consistency, accuracy, and dependability open doors to new opportunities. In life and business, it's often the small details that trip us up. Mistakes, oversights, and lack of attention can lead to bigger problems down the line. A meticulous approach saves time, builds trust, and sets you apart from the rest. When you pay attention to details you have the ability to transform your business and personal life. If you want a vacation where every detail is taken care of, make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. I always let them help plan our trips. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


Make a Good First Impression

"We don't give people the benefit of the doubt sometimes because that first impression is so strong." Episode Highlights [00:02:41] First impressions matter, be mindful of judging others. [00:03:23] First impressions are important - be prepared and stay ready. [00:08:38] Be conscious of the impression you leave through your words and actions. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader We have all have had someone tell us to make a good first impression. During this episode I share the value of dressing for success and being prepared for any encounter. This is a lesson I learned that has stuck with me throughout my career. Believe it or not, your appearance, professionalism, and attention to detail will create a lasting positive impression. First impressions can shape people's perceptions of us and even affect our professional growth. The first moments when you meet someone are crucial, whether it's a potential client, business partner, or even a new friend. It's like our mothers taught us - look good, be polite, show respect. You never know who you're going to meet and what opportunities could come from that encounter. Did you know that wearing a hat as a park ranger is a crucial part of making a good first impression? Cherry Payne, my sister-in-law, had a long career as a park ranger. She emphasized the importance of wearing the iconic campaign hat. It's like Mickey Mouse not wearing his ears! We only get one chance to make a first impression, and it can stick with people for years. Unfortunately, one bad impression made a long time ago could still affect opportunities today. So, always stay ready and put your best foot forward. Dress the part, be respectful, and make great first impressions. Because in the business world, every encounter matters. Make sure to listen to this episode to learn more about creating a positive first impression. It is full of valuable insights and practical tips that you can implement in your own life. If there is one group that makes a good impression, its Magical Vacation Planners. They are always professional and do what it takes to plan a great vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


Take Responsibility for Your Own Training

"The only person that can control your life is you. And if you don't, don't blame anybody else. It's not your mother's fault. It's, it's your fault." Episode Highlights [00:03:08] Nobody should want you to get training more than you [00:04:44] Learn what you need for promotion, and find opportunities for self-education. [00:07:19] Reading daily is essential for personal growth and success in life. [00:10:06] Find an expert or learn from someone in your network. Resources The Cockerell Academy About Lee Cockerell Mainstreet Leader If you depend on anybody to prepare you for your future, you're crazy. Nobody cares about you like you do. You are responsible for your own personal training developments. Relying on others, such as employers or government agencies, for training is not a reliable strategy for success. During this conversation Jody and I talk about why it is important to take ownership of your own training. Anyone that wants to do well at work should actively seek opportunities for growth. Whether you are an entrepreneur or work for a company, it is important to have the mindset that professional development is solely your responsibility. These days there are many ways to get good training. You can attending workshops, take online courses, and listen to podcasts like ours. Creating Disney Magic podcast always provides valuable insights on leadership, management, and customer service. Becoming an expert in a particular area increases your value and relevancy in the workforce. By continually learning and staying up to date with industry trends, you can stand out from other professionals. That will enhance credibility and make you the go-to person in your field. Make sure to take a listen to this episode to learn more about how to take control of your own professional development. Remember, no one cares about your career more than you do. By investing in your own training, you are investing in your future success. Ready to take a break from training? Make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.