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Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World, 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.

Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World, 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.
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Lee Cockerell, former Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World, 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.




Three Leadership Qualities You Can't Learn in School

When I am looking to hire someone, I don't care where you went to school or what your grades were. To some degree, I don't care about your technical knowledge. I am more concerned about who you are. Have you experienced a hardship? Did you overcome it? Experience and exposure you get from adversity can be worth more than getting a degree or improving your technical skills. Who you are is what I, and other leaders, are looking at. Do you keep promises? Can you let your ego go? Can you work...


How Hard Should You Pursue Your Dream Job?

Many people have a job they would consider a dream job, but they never go for it. And if they do, they wonder how hard they should pursue it. There can be more than one way to get your dream job. Sometimes you need to take a job just to get in the door. Are you willing to take a gamble on yourself? Take a lower job so you can show them how good you are. Or, know specifically what you are going after and find out what you need to do. Most hard things take time. You have to invest in...


Building a Magic Culture in Your Organization

After 27 years with Disney, including becoming the Vice President of the Magic Kingdom, my son Daniel retired to pursue his own speaking and consulting career. At Disney, Dan had a wonderful career and a job most people would love to have. Yet, he left to pursue his dream and to be able to help more organizations. Many people would say Dan took a big risk. As Dan says, "The future is not going to be clear, but you have to move forward with confidence that it is going to work out." He knew...


The Secrets of a Great Resume

The secrets to creating a good resume may not be what you think. It is not design that matters. Or keywords. Getting people to know you, the person is what matters. Too often, people consider a complete resume to be a chronological list of the jobs you have had. If you do this, you are going about it all wrong. Want to find out if your resume stands out from the crowd? Show your resume to people you know and ask for their feedback. Also, show your resume to companies. Don't apply for a...


Ask Employees How You Can Do Better

The secret to understanding how you can operate your business better, serve customers better, and better support your staff is right in front of you. All you have to do is ask. Asking employees how you can do better is a powerful way to infuse new ideas into your organization. When I was with Disney, I would do this often. I would meet 10 or 12 front line cast members to find out what is going on with them. Meeting with employees will uncover information you can get no other way. They...


How to Promote Yourself

Did you know people used to call me Low-Key Lee? Don't make the mistake of thinking your work will stand for itself. People have to know you did the great work. I made this mistake when I interviewed with Marriott. When I assumed the great work I had done at Hilton would speak for itself. It doesn't work that way. You have to promote yourself. At the time, I didn't know how to promote myself Low-Key Lee was not the person Marriott wanted to hire. Fortunately for me, someone I worked with...


Create Opportunities by Meeting New People

One of the most effective ways to create new opportunities is to meet new people. Meet people and keep in touch because you never know what could pop up later. If you don't know people they can't help you. If you don't know people you can't help them. I meet as many people as I can. It doesn't matter who they are or where they are from. Don't expect anything from the people you meet. Just enjoy meeting them and enjoying the diversity of conversation. But, sometimes opportunities arise...


Creating Magic With the Guest Experience Cycle

On the 200th episode of Creating Disney Magic, we examine the Guest Experience Cycle. Disney implements the Guest Experience Cycle to make sure guest have the best vacation of their lives. Anticipation - Anticipate what your guests will expect so you can work on those items before the guest arrives. Arrival - What will the experience be like when your guest arrives? Whether a guest arrives in person, on the internet, or by phone what will the experience be like for them? Experience -...


Lead by Example

If you want to make a difference in your organization, you will have the most impact if you lead by example. On this episode of Creating Disney Magic, we talk about 3 different situations, including leading by example. Here are the first two: How to handle meeting a celebrity at work. Be polite and courteous. Say hello and go away. At Disney, you can't bother a celebrity or ask for an autograph. They are there for a private event or to spend time with their family. If you are at work,...


Use 15 Minutes Every Morning to Create Magic

Often, people ask me about my morning planning time. I like that question because morning planning has helped me create magic. So many questions about morning planning time led me to create the Morning Magic Planning Course, which you can find here. My career at Disney has been well documented on the Creating Disney Magic podcast, but you have to rewind nearly 40 years to discover one of the biggest secrets to my success. Before I discovered the secret, I was disciplined, but not...


How to Make a Shift in the Way You Operate

People only change for two reasons; crisis or education. Making a life change because of education is much better, believe me. But too many of us wait until we are smacked in the face to make a change. Making a change is hard, though. In my personal life, I made a drastic shift after going to a Time Management seminar in 1980. Before then, I worked hard and I worked a lot. Yet, I still missed deadlines and didn't get all my work done. But this 2-day changed everything. It shifted the way I...


How to be a Great Coworker

This week on Creating Disney Magic, I answer two questions about working with co-workers. Working with Co-workers. Two questions both involve working with co-workers. First, how do you handle it if you have information or knowledge that can help co-workers? Someone would only ask this if they have ambition and a steak of leadership. Often, people keep their heads down and do their job without consideration to co-workers, unless it has a negative impact on them. Even so, this can still be...


The Manager is Always Responsible

No matter what business you are in, poor service happens because of the general manager. If bathrooms are dirty, don't blame the guy who cleans them. Look at the general manager. If food arrives late at a restaurant and service is lousy, it is not the cooks and servers. It is the general manager. If people stick to doing only what is in their job description, it is because the manager allows it. As a leader, there are three steps to help staff create magic. Also, consider what plans you...


Making Old Ideas New Again

This episode was recorded while I was in Italy. The sound quality is not the best because I had to find an internet connection that worked good enough to record. There is a reason I wanted to make sure we recorded an episode while I was in Italy. I have said before, the best way to gain exposure and exposure is to travel. When you meet people from other countries, you will find out they are as wonderful as your neighbors. Spending time with them will open your eyes to new ideas and new ways...


How to Deal With Gossip

Gossip can spread through an organization quickly, leaving a wake of confusion, rumors, and hurt feelings. You must deal with gossip quickly and clearly. But it all begins when you hire someone. Up front, during the onboarding process, explain gossip is not tolerated. Be clear about what you consider to be gossip and rumors and how you will deal with it. Don't let it end there. Continue to discuss gossip and what you expect. You will have to continue to remind people. Raise your...


What Will Your Legacy Be?

What will your legacy be? Have you taken time to consider this? This episode of Creating Disney Magic is the second episode recorded live at Urbain 40 with a group from a live Mastermind meeting. You can hear the first episode here. People who were in the room had the opportunity to ask me questions, which you will hear on the podcast. One of the questions was about what my legacy will be. For a long time, I had this all wrong. I thought it was all about Lee Cockerell. But now, I realize...


Don't Underestimate Your Influence

This episode of Creating Disney Magic was recorded live in Orlando during a private mastermind event. Twelve people joined me and Jody Maberry to spend the day talking about business and creating magic. During our time together, we turned on the microphones and recorded two episodes of the podcast. Participants of the mastermind were able to ask a question. You can find out more about my live Creating Disney Magic Mastermind events here. Having the participants of the Mastermind ask me...


Stand Up For Yourself

In the last episode of Creating Disney Magic, we answered the first half of a series of questions from a listener. After listening to every episode of the podcast, a listener wrote in with a series of questions. The first half of the questions were more about success. You can hear the first episode Here. In this episode, we answer the rest of the questions, which are more about business. Here are the questions we answer in this episode; Why do you think most companies don't follow the...


If You Believe in Something, Just Keep Going

This episode of Creating Disney Magic is a bit different. Let me tell you why; recently someone discovered the podcast and listened to all of the episodes in the catalog. After listened to well over 150 episodes, he had a list of questions he wanted to ask. Normally, we answer a single question on an episode. This time, we combined all of the questions into an episode. Or, rather, two episodes. This episode we tackle the questions that are more success related. When you are around...


How to Handle Somone Gearing Down for Retirement

Imagine a basketball team where one player decides to stay in the offensive end of the court because it is easier for him. Running up and down the court is hard work. Would the other players allow it? Would the coach allow it? No way! And it should not be allowed in the workplace either. Yet, it happens all the time. Specifically, it happens as employees are getting close to retirement. People should not "gear down" for retirement. Whether an employee retires in 3 years, 1 year, or 3...