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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.

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.




Dealing with the Labor Shortage

We have made mention before the current labor shortage most companies are experiencing. While people may be enjoying a time away from the daily grind, sooner or later, the vast majority will have to return to work. Many mindsets, however, have been permanently changed. The workforce will return, but with a different set of expectations. People are going to look for companies that invest in their employees. Providing training and cultivating a culture of inclusion is key to attracting and...


Dealing with Customer Complaints

The way you handle customer complaints can make or break your company. Today, companies often look for a quick and easy way to deal with complaints. Automated options are a good resource, but you can’t let technology take the place of truly serving your customer. Disney is known for its customer service and how they handle complaints. They investigate each one with a personal call. That in and of itself can serve to resolve issues. People need to feel heard, and having the opportunity to...


Cut Through Layers of Management

There is a lot going on in the world right now. Whether it is understanding the benefit of Cloud services or navigating this new season in the world of hiring and retaining talent, leadership is taking a long hard look at how they operate. One thing leaders need to be looking at is how they can cut through the multiple layers of management and connect directly with employees. With every layer of management you add, communication gets diluted. It becomes a grown-up version of the game of...


Offer More Than a Paycheck

Now more than ever, individuals are resigning from their current jobs and pursuing something different. It’s being called The Great Resignation. People have realized that they don’t want to do a job that they don’t like. They also don't want to be where they don’t feel valued. They have learned that they can work from home and be with their family. They have learned that enduring a commute every day is not necessary. Employers and leaders must be prepared to offer more. More money? Maybe....


Having Difficult Conversations With Your Boss

It is never easy having hard conversations. Today I am answering a listener question in this vein. An anonymous listener asks: What do you do when you love your job but can’t stand what is happening behind the scenes with management? How do you have a conversation with your boss to address your concerns? It can be intimidating to approach your boss with concerns. Sometimes, we can even build it up in our minds and imagine the worst possible outcome. You won’t lose your job over raising...


Make the Most of Your Time

In his poem “If” Rudyard Kipling closes with the line, “If you can fill the unforgiving minute with sixty seconds worth of distance run, yours is the earth and everything that’s in it." Today Jody and I are discussing what you can do to make the most of your time. I’ve been preaching the power of 60 seconds for years. When you fill your minute with something that pays off down the road, you can make the most of the time you have. How do you make sure you have time to invest what matters?...


How To Deal With Bad Comments From Former Employees

Today Jody and I are answering a question submitted by Melanie Maximus. Melanie asks, “How do you handle negatives posts online or comments in person from former employees?” In the wake of an ongoing pandemic, businesses have closed or have had to lay off employees at an unprecedented rate. While the reasoning may be understandable, it doesn’t mean there won’t be some upset former team member left in the wake. As a leader, it doesn’t matter if the feedback is from a disappointed former...


Don’t Be Good When You Can Be Great

Today Jody and I are talking about what it takes to create a great experience. I have visited restaurants where the food was good, but the waiter was great. Their service elevated the experience. A middle-of-the-road product can be elevated into a good experience through great customer service. Products aren’t what sets a company or organization apart. Service that shines can outweigh the product it produces. The beauty of great service is anyone can do it. You don’t have to be in...


Don’t Argue with a Customer

Today, Jody brought up an interesting story I had illuded to when we first started this podcast. In the 1970s, I ran a restaurant in the Fairfield Inn in Philadelphia. While there, there was a woman that came in every day and ordered tea. There was a particular instance when this customer decided to complain about the water not being hot. This story sparked the question between Jody and me: should you argue with a customer? This encounter solidified a specific understanding for me: The...


Can Culture Compete with Compensation?

In today’s corporate landscape, it is hard to fill jobs. Many leaders ask how to make their companies a desirable place to work, especially if you don’t have direct control over what you can pay. Today, you have to give more than a payday or a salary to get people to come and work for you. When considering how to make your company competitive in the employment pond, ask yourself what else can you offer potential employees? Treating people with appreciation, recognition, and encouragement...


Reintroducing Staff to the Office

Today Jody and I are covering a topic that is relevant to many companies. What do you do when you are reintroducing staff back into the office? So many companies have had to go remote over the past year and a half. As many companies seek to return to business as "normal", it is important to learn from this season and see what is best for our company. Don’t get stuck on the idea that everyone needs to come back in. If you have stayed in contact with your team while at home, they should...


Empowering Employees to Make Decisions

Today I am taking a listener question: As a manager, how do you set professional boundaries between you and employees but still be there for them and be supportive? This specific question is motivated by a leader who is getting calls at all hours of the day and night from their employees. They want to be available, but not at the expense of their family. This might seem like a large challenge, but when you boil it down, it hinges on something simple: Clarity. Whether you are clarifying...


How to Be a Better Listener

One of the most underrated skills a leader must have is the ability to listen. Even if it is one of the five senses, it takes intentionality and cultivation to make it a skill. How you listen, as a leader can make or break your team. It is easy to mistake planning how to replay with actively listening. The difference is remaining present. Take time to prepare yourself and actively listen. Put your phone away. Remove distractions. Sit near the individual you are listening to. Take notes and...


Discussing Nurses and Healthcare

Catie Harris, the founder of Nursepreneurs, joins Creating Disney Magic to talk about nurses and healthcare. Hospitals can be a tough environment for nurses. Many nurses prefer to take a holistic approach to patient care, but it doesn't always work that way in a hospital. Often, this leads to nurses getting out of healthcare. Nursepreneurs helps nurses start their own businesses, so they can still care for patients. Many nurses don't believe they can start their own business since most...


Service is a Superpower

Today, Louie Gravance, author of Service is a Superpower, is joining me on my final podcast recording in Colorado. As many people are currently encountering, dependability in service industries is struggling. From airlines to restaurants to Harry Potter World, the service industry is running on a bare-bones crew who has grown rusty in their craft. Louie unpacks the importance of everyone wanting and needing to be heard. Those in service may not be able to guarantee a flight, but they can...


Making All Staff Feel Welcome

As I wrap up my last week in Colorado, Jody and I want to tackle a unique listener question from an anonymous listener. If you have a diverse staff, how do you handle it when some of your staff speak their native language? Especially if another staff member is concerned that they are being talked about? Honestly, I have been guilty of this myself. When I worked in France, I didn’t speak French, and I spoke English to anyone on my staff who understood it. I was not using my native language...


How to Get Customer Feedback

I recently mentioned the importance of going out and getting feedback from your customers. It is key to setting yourself apart in most industries. Your customers and your employees know everything you need to know, you just need to ask. How do you ask for feedback? Very simply. My two favorite questions to use are 1) Would you recommend us to your loved ones? Why or why not? 2) What can we do better? Simple. You don’t need a huge survey. That can turn people off. If it takes too long, your...


You’ve Got to Know More to Be More

When you know better, you do better. When you learn more, you know more. In this episode, I am answering Glenn’s question. Glenn asked a question based on a quote of mine. You’ve got to know more to be more. What does that look like? Knowledge is power. When you know things, people listen to you. You have more power, more influence. You get better opportunities, and you make better decisions. You can help people more. There is value in education. I’m not just talking about college, but the...


How to Tell Someone They Did Not Get a Promotion

No one likes breaking bad news to people. As a leader, sometimes that goes with the job description. It may be logistical issues or maybe even breaking the news to someone about a promotion they will not be getting. In this episode, I will answer a listener question along these lines. This week’s question comes from a listener who was actually in this situation. How do you navigate any fallout from having to hire only one person out of a pool of leadership options? Often, we want to...


Treating Customers Like Visitors

Jody and I are in person again, recording from my office in Orlando. We are trying a new setup. One topic is on my mind as we navigate a world opening up after an unprecedented pandemic: what has happened to customer service? During the shutdown, many businesses had to pivot. They had to make changes and figure out how to work in a “touchless” world. As things continue to open up, companies have to make the call: continue delivering bare-bones or embrace customer service. If you are the one...