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Implementing the Disney Great Leader Strategies

Tuesday, September 12, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 1:46 AM

Creating Disney Magic podcast Lee Cockerell Jody MaberryThere 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 everyone on board was another thing.

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, I share the story behind the implementation of the Great Leader Strategies to over 40,000 cast members.

I began by spending 4 hours with my direct reports, explaining each strategy and explaining what my expectations were. From there, each of them had 3 weeks to pass the Great Leadership Strategies on to their direct reports. And so it went until every cast member had been trained.

Too often, when an organization wants to implement a new policy or procedure, or even make a drastic change like we did at Disney World, a leader will just issue a memo. Without proper communication, hope is all you have to rely on.

For change to take hold, you have to roll it out slowly with great detail. Communication is the key.

The best definition of communication is clarity. Without clarity, people will not understand what you expect and what they need to do.

You can find the Teacher’s Guide for Creating Magic here.

How to Handle Angry Customers

Tuesday, September 5, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 1:00 AM

Creating Disney Magic podcast Lee Cockerell Jody MaberryIn 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 are often wrong. But they are always the customer. And you if you want them to be a repeat customer you do what you can to turn the situation around.

Don’t get defensive. Use empathy and try to solve the problem.

Do your best and then forgive yourself. That is all you can do.

Teacher’s Guide for Creating Magic

Thursday, August 31, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 3:19 PM

Tim McHeffey created a Teacher’s Guide for my book Creating Magic.

This guide will provide discussion questions and key concepts for every chapter. Using this guide will help students get the most out Creating Magic and foster discussions to help students create magic at home, school, and work.

Enter your name and email address below and we will send you a copy of the Creating Magic Teacher’s Guide.

Holding Contractors to a High Standard

Tuesday, August 29, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 1:00 AM

Creating Disney Magic podcast Lee Cockerell Jody MaberryThis 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 interaction with a cast member or a contractor.

If contractors are not living up to expectations, you need to deal with it promptly and directly. If they are doing business in your name, they need to perform as well as you do.

Also in this episode, I answer a second listener question about how to find a job when you move to a new area.

The One Question You Should Ask Every Employee

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 1:00 AM

Creating Disney Magic podcast Lee Cockerell Jody MaberryWhen 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 need to properly do their job will have a big impact. The employee will be happy and have more respect for the leadership of the organization, and the customer will be happy, too.

In order to build trust, you have to take care of the problems they tell you about.  The more you take care of employees, the more they will trust you with the problems in the way of serving customers.

If you want your copy of the Morning Magic Planner, you can find it here.

How to Handle an Exit Interview

Tuesday, August 15, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 1:00 AM

Creating Disney Magic podcast Lee Cockerell Jody MaberryWhen 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 truth about why you are leaving. If you have a good relationship with your supervisor, you can offer some feedback on how to improve. But there really is no upside for you to offer feedback as you leave.

Giving feedback is as art. You have to have the right relationship to be able to give candid feedback on your way out.

If you are faced with an exit interview, just smile and tell them how much you enjoyed your job. You can never get yourself in trouble that way.

The Candid Truth About Candor

Tuesday, August 8, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 1:00 AM

Creating Disney Magic podcast Lee Cockerell Jody MaberryHow 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 fail, it is your fault.

Begin today. Be candid.

Are You Willing to Take a Risk?

Tuesday, August 1, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 1:00 AM

Creating Disney Magic podcast Lee Cockerell Jody MaberryIf you have been to Disney World, you may have enjoyed a great meal at the California Grill.

California Grill may seem like a standard at Disney World now, but it was a risk to get it off the ground.

To make the pitch to add a restaurant unlike anything else at Disney World, Dieter Hannig -a world-class chef –  and I flew out to visit Michael Eisner and ask him for $6 Million dollars.

We go approval and it was a risk that paid off.

The risk paid off for me and for Disney. California Grill turned around food and beverage at Disney World.

Are you willing to take a big risk?

You have to be willing to put yourself on the line if you want to have a great career.

If you feel comfortable, you are not taking enough risk.

Risk can seem scary.  Throughout my career, I managed risk by making sure I had a hand in the outcome.

Here are two ways you can manage risk;

1, Don’t be afraid to get experts around you. When you have consulted experts you will be prepared for any resistance you may get.

2. Don’t do things too fast. Take time to understand what you are doing. And give the emotions time to pass.


Introducing New Employees to Your Culture

Tuesday, July 25, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 1:00 AM

Creating Disney Magic podcast Lee Cockerell Jody MaberryWhen 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.

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 time to make sure they know what they are doing.

Clarity and communication are so vital to build trust and get other people on board to what you are doing.

At Disney, we inject so much pixie dust into new cast members they can’t get it out. We begin with training and education so they understand we do things the way we do them.

You can get my Morning Magic Planner by entering your name and email below.

Work Life Balance is a Myth

Tuesday, July 18, 2017
posted by Jody Maberry 3:11 AM

Creating Disney Magic podcast Lee Cockerell Jody MaberryWork 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;

  1. Say No to most things.
  2. Understand and focus on the few things you need to work on.
  3. Get experts around you.

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 need to make?

If you need help finding the right rhythm in your life, check out my Time Management Magic online course.