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Creating Disney Magic

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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.




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 your...

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

Introducing New Employees to Your Culture

When you hire a new employee it can be difficult to introduce her to your company culture. This week, I answer a listener question from someone who is concerned about properly training employees while building a culture of trust without making Clarity is the key to bringing new employees on board. Let them know up front what to expect, how often they will see you, and what will happen once they have demonstrated a full grasp of their tasks and responsibilities. Next, you have to take the...

Duration: 00:15:18

Work Life Balance is a Myth

Work Life balance is a myth. You only have one life and it includes work, family, and your personal life. You have to get all those elements in rhythm, not balance. Here are three you can maintain the right rhythm in your life; It is critical you spend time in a way that brings an investment back on your time. Stop wasting time. You are wasting time every day. I know you could find an extra hour each day. The question is, do you have the self-discipline to implement the changes you...

Duration: 00:15:53

Why Aren't You Reaching for a Great Life?

Do you have a great life? If not, what not? A great life is within your reach, but you have to decide you want a better life. "What if" are words Lou Mongello did want haunting him later in life. So he left his job as a lawyer in New Jersey and moved to Orlando to pursue a great life. Now, Lou is the host of the popular WDW Radio. Lou has a great life. If you are young, go do what you love. Make mistakes. Get experience. Make money later in your life. Fear today is not nearly as bad as...

Duration: 00:16:51

What Was it Like to Open Disneyland Paris?

Twenty-Five years ago Disneyland Paris opened. On this episode of Creating Disney Magic, I reflect on the experience of being involved in opening the park. Lou Mongello, host of WDW Radio joins us to discuss Disneyland Paris and ask some tough questions about what it took to introduce the Disney culture to Europe. In this episode, you will learn about my personal experience in Paris. And you will take away lessons you can apply in your life and business. You may also enjoy this episode...

Duration: 00:16:52

Dealing With Criticism

How do you handle criticism? Criticism can be hard to take. Personally, I used to feel stung when someone criticized me, even if they were trying to help. When you make a mistake or receive criticism, the only way to handle it is to focus on being great. Get back in favor by letting people see you have a great attitude and you have learned a lesson. You can get your copy of the Morning Magic Planner here.

Duration: 00:16:42

Continuous Improvement Should Be Part of Your Culture

If you did not learn something new yesterday, you weren't paying attention. Every day is a chance to get better. To be successful, one of the most important traits is curiosity. If you are curious, you can improve every day. Some companies adopt Six Sigma or Lean Thinking to get better. Disney adopted a culture of continuous improvement. A listener wants to know how you can continue to focus on improvement without overlooking the great work and accomplishments people are doing every...

Duration: 00:14:09

Don't Get Stuck Doing What You Don't Want to Do

This week on Creating Disney Magic, I answer a listener question about changing college majors. But it leads to a conversation that is important to you. We talk about not getting stuck. Too many people get stuck in a job get stuck in a job they do not enjoy. My guess is 70% - 80% of people don't like their job, probably more. It does not have to be that way. You don't have to get stuck in the wrong job, wrong city, wrong relationship or with your the wrong boss. Take control of your...

Duration: 00:17:17

How to Use Checklists to Improve Productivity

When people question the importance of checklists, I quickly mention pilots as an example. Would you like your pilot to fly the plane using a checklist or fly the plane based on what he remembers? Many airplane crashes are caused by pilot error. The same is true in our life. Most of our failures come from not doing what we are supposed to do at the right time. On a personal level, checklists can help you get everything done you have said you will get done. Throughout an organization,...

Duration: 00:15:59

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