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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. Lee discusses how you can apply lessons in leadership, management, and customer service to create magic in your organization.


United States


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




Get Clarity of Your Supervisor's Expectations

Today, Jody and I unpack the importance of understanding the expectations your supervisor has of you. Managers need to be clear on their expectations. If your manager isn’t clear, it is your job to clarify and make sure you understand. Ask questions to get the clarity you need. As an employee, how do you handle an unclear leader? Ask. Don’t be embarrassed or afraid of looking bad. Ask questions and make sure you understand. Asking questions will help you learn to do things properly. You...


Get Ahead by Being Nice

Today, Jody and I discuss the impact being nice has on your career. The concept of being nice is something we learn very early in life. What happens when you are nice? People like you. What happens when you are not kind? People don’t like working with you. More and more, if people don’t care for you, they gang up on you. It can be challenging to respond with kindness when people are rude and unreasonable. You cannot take it personally. The louder they get, the quieter you get. Often, their...


Be a Role Model for the Culture You Want

One of the best ways to retain high performers is to be a role model for the culture you want. Today, Jody and I answer the question, “What is a good way to refine culture to retain high performers when you are a small business?” This question has a simple answer. Be a great role model. As a leader, you need to live the culture you want to see every day. Leaders that embody the culture create an environment where employees want to take care of the customer. Company culture is the number...


What Do You Do With What You Learn

During a Cockerell Community call in December Lee gave everyone a challenge asking them to think about what do you do with what you learn. When people are given an abundance of tools it is up to them to make use of them. During this episode Lee everyone to think about what do you do with what you learn. When people are given an abundance of tools it is up to them to make use of them. As we enter the New Year, ask yourself: What do you do with what you learn? Often, people fill themselves...


How to Reinforce Good Customer Service

Today, Jody and I discuss how to reinforce good customer service. It’s not enough to require your team to provide customer service. You need to recognize specific actions, so it is reproducible. As a leader, it is your job to recognize and reinforce the attributes you want your employees to embody. The only way to do that is to be out where it happens. Have your feet on the ground and see how your team treats the customers. When you see behavior you want repeated, call it out, and recognize...


Deal With Your Problems

Today, Jody and I are looking at how to identify and deal with your biggest problem. Identifying issues and problems that we have can be challening. Choosing which ones need to be tackled first can feel overwhelming. But failing to do the hard things and deal with problems will haunt you. The quicker you deal with something, the happier you will be. It takes discipline to work on the hard things. When you put problems off and don’t confront them, they grow and taking care of them doesn't...


Discussing the Changes at Disney

Today, Jody and I discuss the recent changes that have taken place at Disney. I also provide my interpretation of what may have led to it and what we, as leaders, can learn. As many have heard, there was a recent change in leadership at Disney as Bob Chapek stepped down and Bog Iger returned to head the company. When Bob Chapek stepped into his role at Disney, he came in hard, and centralized everything. Unfortunately, centralizing communicates distrust. This led to mistakes and an...


Have Less Meetings and More Conversations

Today, Jody and I discuss the difference between having fewer meetings and more conversations and how that can benefit your company. I recently attended a two-day conference for camps in Chicago. Something that stuck out was the number of things they solved and situations they brought clarity to through involved conversations. We are used to a culture of meetings. People show up and listen to others talk, and everyone walks away without solving much. As a leader, don’t sit at a table...


The Basics of Hospitality

Today, Jody and I look at the inner workings of the hospitality industry and what we can learn from it regardless the industry you are in. I worked in hospitality for many years. Much of what I learned during my time as a General Manager of a hotel chain formed the foundation for how I approach customer service. It is important to gather facts and information. There are different types of customers, and each type has different needs. Get on the ground and figure out what they are looking...


Taking Risks in Your Career

Today, Jody and I discuss what it means to take calculated risks in your career. I started taking risks early in my career and I wouldn’t change it. Taking risks can be intimidating, but they aren’t as great as they are in your mind. It is easier to take risks earlier in your career; you have your whole life ahead of you. When you start taking risks, you build confidence. That confidence helps you grow and make wise decisions on the risks you take as you continue your career. You don’t...


Understanding a Situation from Every Angle

Today, Jody and I are unpacking how you can understand a situation from every angle. It is easy to be emotionally triggered, but as a leader, you must deal with every situation with professionalism and respect. Our biases can lead us to jump to conclusions, especially if it involves someone we respect or enjoy being around. No matter the parties involved, you need to be a detective and check it out; it affects other people. If you have any doubt, especially about someone, it’s best to bring...


How to Stand Out When You are Understaffed

Today, Jody and I are tackling the question of Matthew Miller. Many places are understaffed, so how can employees make the best of a bad situation in their work environment? Be the light where you work. A strong employee becomes synonymous with a company for customers. You can represent your business. You may have to dig deep during times of stress, but your commitment will show through. Focus on a great product. Make it a point to acknowledge the customer. For a customer, there is nothing...


Don't Make Your Problem Someone Else's Problem

After our most recent Creating Magic Mastermind, Jody and I are recording live from my favorite coffee shop, Coffee for the Soul. One of the conversations to surface during the mastermind was the importance of not making your bad day someone else’s bad day. We have all had bad days. It is human nature to want to pass that bad on, either by talking about it or reacting and our actions causing someone else’s day to be bad. Bad days are going to happen. What can we do to make sure it doesn’t...


Be Patient for Your Next Promotion

This week Jody and I build on a recent LinkedIn post by Steve Ross. Steve referenced a previous Creating Disney Magic episode where we discussed the three P’s of getting a promotion. Steve brought up a great point. There is another P needed for the equation: Patience. The 3 Ps of Getting a Promotion covered the importance of persistence, passion, and people. As Steve pointed out, patience is also vital in moving forward. Some circumstances require patience. Maybe it isn’t the right time,...


Moment of Truth for Employees

Last week Jody and I discussed the moment of truth for customers. Did you know there is also a moment of truth for employees? The people you hire have a moment of truth, just like a customer does. Often employers make promises to get employees in the door. It is especially true now, as it seems there are never enough people to fill every role. When an employee comes in with a promise, and that thing never manifests, they will leave. Your team needs to know what is in it for them and that...


Moment of Truth for Customers

Today Jody and I are looking at the moment of truth for customers. What is the moment of truth? It is that moment when your commercial comes in contact with the product. Does what your customer gets align with what you promised? Marketing and sales teams set high expectations. As the leader, we must ask if our product can live up to the promise. Can we achieve the moment of truth for a customer with what we offer? Whether it is service, quality, or the overall experience and aesthetic,...


Using Outside Resources to Train Your Team

Today Jody and I unpack how you, as a leader, using outside resources to train your team can add value to the training. Often we think of training as something we develop or put in place. When it comes to the technical aspects of your organization, that is the foundation you build on. However, you can provide high-quality training and invest in your team by utilizing outside resources. Today, there are many valuable offerings available, many of which are free or low-cost. You can utilize...


Understand Your Managers Expectations

Today Jody and I are answering another question we asked during a recent webinar. This one came while we were talking about setting clear expectations when hiring and retaining people. One of the attendees asked , “what if this was not part of the process when you were hired somewhere?” It can cause anxiety when you don’t know or understand your managers expectations. Be brave enough to go ask them. How am I doing? Is there anything about my attitude, performance, or skills that you think I...


Your Attitude Can Save the Day

Today Jody and I are talking about an incident that happened to me recently. With all the credit card scams in the world I often wonder if I am next, and I was. There were a lot of things that were very frustrating about the issue, but it was a great reminder that your attitude can save the day. After going to the bank and taking care of everything we thought needed to be done, my wide Pricilla and I were still running into issues. We ended up having to go back to the bank, spend even more...


A Tribute to Disney Legend Ron Logan