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When I retired from Disney, I was honored with a window on Main Street in the Magic Kingdom.

I didn’t expect it and had no idea it was going to happen.

In this edition of In the Office with Lee, I share the story of my window on Main Street.

Window on Main Street USA at Magic Kingdom in Walt Disney World - YouTube

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When you introduce yourself, or someone asks about you, what do you say?

So many people discuss the work they do. This is especially a problem for those of us in the United States.

Be careful about becoming who you work for instead of who you are.

Some people never recover from having a big-ego job. I get it. Those jobs make other people think you matter. Or, that is what you think, anyway.

When I retired, people would ask me if it was hard to leave a high position at Disney. No. It wasn’t hard to retire, even though I was Executive Vice President of Walt Disney World.

During my career, I never really identified myself with Hilton, Marriott, or Disney. I worked for Lee Cockerell.

People get attached to their job because they work for a high profile company, or have a big position. It leads them to stay too long or keep doing work that doesn’t make them happy.

Next time you introduce yourself, remember this…who you are is more important than what you do.

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Remote teams are just a fact of business life now. There is no going back.

Whether it comes from telecommuting, an organization spread out geographically or working with employees who work from remote locations, most organizations deal with remote workers.

Now, leaders have to understand how to communicate better with people they do not see in person.

To discuss this topic, we invited Kevin Eikenberry to join us on Creating Disney Magic.

Kevin is the author of the new book, The Long Distance Leader: Rules for Remarkable Remote Leadership

Although remote work has changed the work environment, leadership has not changed. In the book, and on this episode, Kevin talks about how to lead remote teams.

With distance  between you and the staff, it becomes harder to check in. We have to be deliberate and intentional. We can’t touch the people on our team, but they need to feel like we have had the personal touch with them.

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Sometimes you have to ask Why five times to get to the truth.

What you hear at first is not always the truth. Or not the whole truth, anyway.

At first, people put the best story up front. They hope it will be enough and you won’t go deeper.

Ask Why. Go deeper. Get down to the truth and get all the details.

If you want to prevent the problem from happening again, you have to understand what happened.

Be relentless. Don’t accept what you hear at first. Dig deeper. Ask Why five times to uncover what really happened.

Without the truth, you will not be able to make proper decisions. You asking Why also helps staff think deeper when a problem arises.

Entrepreneur article about asking Why.

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Change is never easy, but it pays off to change.

In this video, I share two stories of change. One story led me to France. The other story led me to have something different for dinner. Both stories had an impact on my career.

Give Change a Chance - YouTube

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When you are searching for people to add to your staff, you have to have a wide approach.

Don’t just post a job opening and hope the right person applies.

Finding the right person starts long before you have a job opening. Having the right contacts and relationships with a wide variety of people can lead you to the right person, so it is a good idea to meet people across different industries and professions.

At Disney World, we would carry a card to give to people we think would be a good fit at Disney.

Focus on getting well known in your community. Have a good relationship with high schools and colleges.

One of the best sources of new employees is right in front of you. Good people bring good people into the organization. If you have good employees already, turn to them to get referrals.

When it comes to hiring the right people, create obstacles in your interview process. Never judge the size of the obstacle. Consider their thinking process and the motivation behind their actions. Carol Quinn is the authority when it comes to hiring. Check out her book Don’t Hire Anyone Without Me.

You may also consider including a scenario or a task in the interview process. For example, you may want to have a chef make a hamburger as part of the interview process.

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Emergencies are the extreme example of finding out how well you have done in delegating authority.

When you have an emergency you have no time for anyone to wonder what they should do and what responsibility they have. You have to sort it out before you have a problem.

You don’t plan what to do in a tornado when you hear the tornado siren.

Think about what could go wrong. Work through the scenarios and determine who will do what task. Part of the planning for handling an emergency is to talk to people so they know what they will be doing. Everyone needs to know their role ahead of time. And don’t delegate a responsibility to someone who won’t be able to handle it.

Gather your team in a room and discuss different emergencies you could face. If you need inspiration, pull out a recent newspaper and pull headline to talk through it. What would you do if that situation happened to your organization?

Anticipate what can happen and then have your team work through the scenario. Reflect what other organizations have done to minimize the emergency.

Do you have the Morning Magic Planner yet? Enter your name and email below and I will send the planner to your inbox.

The morning Magic planner will help spend 15 powerful minutes each morning setting the right course.

If you don’t plan where you are going, how are you going to get there?

Just like putting coordinates in your GPS. Know where you are going so you can get there.

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Disney Pins are popular with guests of Walt Disney World, but I found they were also an effective way to show appreciation, recognition, and encouragement to cast members.

In this video, I share the history of Disney Pin trading and show you some of the custom Disney Pins I made to give to cast members.

The Story Of Disney Pins - YouTube

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My office is full of memorabilia from my career at Disney. Hurricane Mickey is one of the most treasured Disney items I have.

In this video, I share the story behind Hurricane Mickey. Enjoy

The Story of Hurricane Mickey - YouTube

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No matter how big or small your organization is, your customers all have the same expectations;

Make me feel special

Treat me as an individual

Respect me

Have knowledgeable employees

Now, go through these four expectations with your team and figure out how you can master them. You will have to be deliberate to master these four areas. Discuss each expectation individually and figure out what it means for you and your organization.

If you master these four expectations you will stand out from the competition. Customers will become so loyal they won’t even think about going to the competition.

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