Try Premium for 30 days

Live games for all NFL, MLB, NBA, & NHL teams
Commercial-Free Music
No Display Ads
Creating Disney Magic-logo

Creating Disney Magic

194 Favorites

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.
More Information


United States


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.




Why Most Companies Get Hiring Wrong

During a recent visit to an upscale hotel, I asked the Bellman if there were a second luggage rack available for our room. "I don't know", was all he said. Can you imagine? Yes, you probably can because underwhelming service like that has become overwhelmingly common. Most people will blame the bellman for having a bad attitude, or not caring. But it is not his fault. Sure, he did have a bad attitude. And he did not care about guests of the hotel. But the responsibility is with the...

Duration: 00:15:00

Excellent Service Comes from Excellent Training

This episode of Creating Disney Magic was recorded in the lobby of the Coeur d'Alene Resort in Coeur d'Alene, ID. It was the perfect setting to discuss customer service. When you are at a resort or hotel, or anywhere for that matter, and get great service, it is likely the result of training. Sure, there are other factors, like good hiring practices and personal attitude, but for the most part, great service comes from great training. The same is true for bad service. Poor service comes...

Duration: 00:14:47

How to Become a Culture Manager

In this episode, we talk about Jeff Merhige, executive director of Camp Widjiwagan. Jeff applied what he learned in Creating Magic to find new ways to serve better. Jeff wanted to be great, and now the Camp he runs in great. Change like this starts at the top. Jeff made the decision to move from managing a facility to managing a culture. This is when he began to Create Magic. Now, the changes Jeff has made in himself have flowed down into employees of Camp Widjiwagan. Changes have flowed...

Duration: 00:16:56

The Power of Appreciation

When I spoke to the Tennessee Air National Guard, the Colonel surprised me with a challenge coin. A challenge coin is usually an award for excellence given out by officers in the military. Over the years, as I have spoken to military units, I have received probably 50 challenge coins. It is an honor to have each one of them, but this coin was different. When Colonel Smith handed me a challenge coin based on my book, The Customer Rules, I could hardly believe it. My book is about...

Duration: 00:15:59

Exceeding Expectations Through Innovation

This episode of Creating Disney Magic was recorded live at the Nashville airport. After 3 presentations in Nashville, we were waiting at the Nashville airport and took the time to record. You will like the fun, conversational feel of this episode. While we recorded, we sat on the shoe shine bench. Sitting up there talking into microphones attracted plenty of attention for people as they passed by. While in Nashville, we stayed at the new TRU hotel by Hilton. Our hotel sparked the...

Duration: 00:15:29

What Should You Do if You Don't Get a Promotion?

Have you ever been passed up for a promotion? How did you handle it? If you feel you have been overlooked, there are a couple of ways you can deal with it. When you don't get a promotion can do nothing. Or you can complain to your friends and family about how unfair it is. Or, and this is what I would do, is have a talk with your supervisor. Ask what you need to do to get a promotion the next time one is available. If you want to understand the truth, you can ask for it. But you have...

Duration: 00:15:12

How Should You Approach a New Job?

When you start a new job, should you add your personal flavor right away? Or should you sit back and see how the new organization and staff operate? Personally, I would not do too much at first. Before I start to add my personality and ideas to the operation there are some things I am looking for. First, I want to understand what the issues are surrounding the new position and organization. Once I get the feel for the staff and the business, then it may be time to insert myself. "How...

Duration: 00:14:54

Is Technology the Answer for Time Management?

Often, people ask me about time management. It is a common question because I wrote Time Management Magic, and so many people struggle with getting work done. People are overwhelmed and are looking for an answer. This week on Creating Disney Magic, we answer a listener question better project and time management. If you are looking for a better time management system, technology is not always about the answer. Sure, technology can help, but rather than just keeping track of the things...

Duration: 00:16:47

The Real Reson People Ignore Your Brand

Donald Miller, author of Building a StoryBrand, returns as a guest on Creating Disney Magic to talk about why people are ignoring your brand. Every piece of marketing you do should communicate how you can help people survive and thrive and do so simply so customers will not have to burn calories to process the information. Unless your message is aimed at helping them survive and thrive, customers will ignore you. If your marketing makes people think too much, they will ignore you. In...

Duration: 00:14:18

Building a Story Brand

Nobody really cares about your story. Rather than hear your story, they want to be invited into a story where they can play the hero. Disney has excelled by inviting people into a story. But do you have to be Disney to create a story people want to be a part of? Of course not. And Donald Miller joins Creating Disney Magic to talk about how your business can build a story around your brand. Don's new book, Creating a StoryBrand teaches you how to invite people into a story and clarify...

Duration: 00:16:57

The Magic of Clarity With Business Partners

This episode we celebrate the 150th episode of Creating Disney Magic. On this episode, we take on two listener questions. We talk about what to look for when you partner someone in business. At Disney, we were clear on what would be involved in a partnership. The second question is along the same lines. How do you get other businesses, who are your partners, who have different missions and values, to work in alignment? Again, it comes down to clarity. Everyone needs to understand what...

Duration: 00:15:35

Improving Customer Service by Traveling

I recently returned from a tour through several countries including Russia, Czech Republic Austria, and Hong Kong. It reminded me how traveling and gaining a new experience can help you serve people better. You are never as good as you think you are. Traveling is one way to find out what other people and organizations are doing. You will find out how good you really are and how you can get better. When you understand how good you can be, you will raise your standards. Experience and...

Duration: 00:18:06

Becoming Qualified is the Key to Making More Money

When I was at Disney and someone would tell me they wanted more money, my answer was almost always "yes." But probably not in the way you think. Here is how I would tell people they could get more money; "There is always a position that pays more than the one you are in. If you want more money, become qualified for the other position. When you can show us you are capable of performing a job that pays more, you will make more." When I would explain it so straightforward, people would...

Duration: 00:15:14

Implementing the Disney Great Leadership Strategies

There was a time when I was running Walt Disney World when I was frustrated we were not improving customer service quick enough. At the same time, we were not moving quickly enough to build trust with cast members. That was when I developed the Disney Great Leader Strategies. You can find the 10 Great Leader Strategies in my book, Creating Magic. Our Great Leader Strategies moved Disney World from being good to great. Or great to greater. Developing the strategies was one thing. Getting...

Duration: 00:19:12

How to Handle Angry Customers

In every organization and every business, we have to deal with angry customers. Some of them are so angry the situation can be hard to diffuse. When a family saves money for years to visit Disney and something goes wrong, they can get very angry. When a situation got to me, I did what ever I could to solve their problem. Remember, they are not mad at your personally. They have 10 other problems you don't even know about. Don't take it personally. The customer is not always right, they...

Duration: 00:17:59

Holding Contractors to a High Standard

This week a listener asked a question about whether a company should hire employees or contractors. Sometimes organizations let contractors get away with behavior they would not let performers get away with. If you are going to use contractors, you need to include clarity in the contract. Outline behavior, appearance, client interaction. Lay out expectations for professionalism and hold them to it. At Disney, we are so clear with contractors a guest would never know if they had an...

Duration: 00:17:25

The One Question You Should Ask Every Employee

When I was in charge of East Coast Food & Beverage Operations for Marriott, I would stop by a hotel and meet with the waitresses and waiters. I would ask one question, "What problem can I solve for you today?" It was a small question with a big impact. Often, the problems they needed to be solved were simple. They were not big issues, but the problems were a big deal to the people who could not do their job properly. When you have an employee who serves the guest, getting them what they...

Duration: 00:14:59

How to Handle an Exit Interview

When you leave a position, you are often asked to do an exit interview. How should you handle it? If you are taking a position in the same company, only tell them good things. Resist the temptation to explain how you could have been handled better, or items that have frustrated you. Tell them you learned a lot and you appreciate the time people gave you. Explain how what you learned in the position helped you get a promotion. If you are leaving the company, feel free to tell them the...

Duration: 00:13:08

The Candid Truth About Candor

How candid are you with the people you care about? Candor does not show up as often as it should. But you can't have a healthy workplace without candor. If you want someone to do well, you have to tell them the truth with empathy. This is what candor is all about - truth with empathy. You shouldn't tell truth if there is nothing in it for the other person. You can get a reputation for being someone who tells the truth to help other people. If you don't tell someone the truth and they...

Duration: 00:16:40

Are You Willing to Take a Risk?

If you have been to Disney World, you may have enjoyed a great meal at the California Grill. You may not realize the story behind what it took to create such a great restaurant. California Grill may seem like a standard at Disney World now, but it was a risk to get the restaurant off the ground. When we wanted to add the new restaurant, Deiter Hanning -a world-class chef - and I flew out to visit Michael Eisner and ask him for $6 Million dollars. It was a risk that paid off. For me and...

Duration: 00:14:37

See More