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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.

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Successful Leaders are Self Aware

One key trait in becoming a successful lead is self-awareness. To become self-aware, you need people who are willing to speak into your life. You need someone who will tell you the truth. Early in my career, I was defensive. Do you like to work closely with someone who is always defensive? No one does. My boss did me a big favor when he spoke up. His advice helped my career dramatically. Be open to taking a profiling system like Gallup or DISC to better understand your personality and how you work. You have to begin by being aware that you want to be more self-aware. But you also need someone else you trust who is willing to speak truth to you.


25 Apr 2017

Rank #1

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Seconds Matter

At Disney World, seconds matter. Everytime Disney World can take a few seconds out of your wait for a ride, the experience improves for you and everyone in line behind you. Your experience is improved, and by the end of the day many more people have been able to enjoy the ride.  Do seconds matter in your business? What opportunities do you have to improve the experience for your customer? How can you speed up transactions? Find out more about the Time Management Magic Course. 


24 Nov 2015

Rank #2

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Retail the Disney Way

If you have ever been to Disney World and made a retail purchase, you probably noticed how well the cashier treated you. Rather than going through the motion, a cast member working in retail engages customers and adds to the overall Disney experience.  This week on Creating Disney Magic, Lee answers a listener question about how Disney achieves such a high level of excellence in retail sales.  The key to success in any organization is for everyone to know their role in the show. You get there by hiring, training, and rehearsal. Most organizations do not have standards or a script and retail employees do not understand how they should act.  If you have a question you would like Lee to answer on the podcast, you can submit it here.  Referenced in this episode is Jeff Noel's appearance on the Jody Maberry Show.  Click HERE to get your name on the list to find out more about Lee's Time Management Magic course. 


9 Aug 2016

Rank #3

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Dealing With Anxiety

In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee Cockerell talks about his recent battle with Anxiety.  After years of pushing himself for success and holding back his feelings about stress, Lee is now dealing with Anxiety. Lee discusses his experience and offers suggestions on how others can deal with the problem. 


19 Jan 2016

Rank #4

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Motivating Performace

Everybody is different, so how do you motivate employees? You have to get to know the people you work with and learn how to motivate them individually. Your job as a leader is to build self-confidence in other people.  In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee explores ways to motivate high performers, mid-performers, and low performers.  Use Twitter? Connect with Lee Cockerell or Jody Maberry. 


2 Feb 2016

Rank #5

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Why You Need to Plan Your Day

Imagine what it would be like if you went on vacation without planning first. You would pay more for a flight. You would end up staying in a hotel you don't like. All of us would avoid having a bad vacation through planning. Yet so few people take the time to plan out their day. If you take the time to plan out your day, it just turns out better. The key to planning is to examine the responsibilities in your life and consider if you are putting enough time toward them this year, this month, and this week. And you take the first step today. Do things now that won't pay off until later. Most people hope, wish and pray things will work out. But you don't have to do that. Spend time planning your day so you get the most important things done.  Before I began planning every morning, I was working late at night, bringing work home, coming into work early, working every weekend. Time Management and morning planning helped me get under control. My workweek dropped by at least twenty percent. If you don't don't take the time to plan the life you want, you will spend a lot of time living the life you don't want.


2 May 2017

Rank #6

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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, checklists will help you provide better service, implement better financial controls, and provide better training for employees.  If you don't currently use checklists, start by sitting down with a clipboard. Gather the rest of the team around and pick one process, such as opening the business every morning. Collect all the steps and tasks involved with opening the business. Once your checklist is in place, move on to the next process.  A checklist will help you complete every step along the way so you don't miss the details.  My Time Management Magic Course is now available. Click Here to find out more. 


6 Jun 2017

Rank #7

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Introducing the Time Management Magic Course

The Time Management Magic Online Course is now available.  Based on the book, Time Management Magic, this course goes deeper into the content and concepts behind the book. The book introduced you to the idea of Time Management Magic, the course will walk you through every step of implementing this system into your life.  The course includes a workbook to help you walk through the course material and discover the most important things in your life, set goals, work towards priorities, and have a better life.  You can enroll in the Time Management Magic Course HERE.  If you are business and would like to offer this course to your entire team, reach out and ask about special pricing for organizations.  This material in this course is the same material I taught to leaders at Walt Disney World, at the Disney Institute, and to organizations around the world.  This course is not just a how-to on using a Day-Planner. This is a system to uncover your responsibilities, discover your top priorities, and use your time to get the things done that really matter.  CLICK HERE to enroll in the Time Management Magic course. 


2 Feb 2017

Rank #8

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Implementing New Ideas in your Business

Good ideas are everywhere. You can learn something new to apply in your business by visiting competitors or even other businesses in a different industry. Visit museums, golf courses, churches. Creative ideas to spark a new way to do business could be found anywhere. You can even find new ideas in the paper, which is why I spend time every morning at Starbucks reading the Wall Street Journal or New York Times. Great customer ideas can also be found in the ways other businesses do it poorly. Have you ever had an experience that left you wanting more? Understand why it happened the way it did and find a way to make sure your customers never feel that way. In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, we examine where you can find ideas outside and bring them into your business. We also talk about how to improve from within before you bring in new ideas. 


28 Feb 2017

Rank #9

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Maintaning Employee Morale

It is common to wonder how to motivate employees and maintainhigh morale. But the truth is, you don't motivate people. Peoplemotivate themselves. Your job is to create a culture where peopleare excited. When people are excited about the work they do, theyinspire themselves. Your job is to create a culture where people are excited. Whenpeople are excited about the work they do, they inspirethemselves. Cast members have to be committed to working at Disney. There isnot room in their role in the show to be rude, to not be nice, orto not go out of your way to help somebody. If you notice an employee is not motivated or havingtrouble, it is a leader's responsibility to find out why and try tohelp them. Discipline and empathy are important traits for leaders. Good leaders create a trusting culture.


26 Apr 2016

Rank #10

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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.


27 Jun 2017

Rank #11

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What If You Can't Impact Change?

Is it possible to initiate change if you are not in a leadership position?  Some organizations are reluctant to change. Sometimes a boss can think they know everything.  All you can do is to finesse in a change. Ask your supervisor if they are interested in hearing your ideas and input about your job. Be clear that when you bring an idea forward, you are willing to work it yourself and not put more work on your supervisor.  Understand, you may not be able to have any impact on change in the organization. If that is the case, don't be willing to stay in that environment too long if it frustrates you.  Referenced in this episode is the book Winning by Jack Welch.  The Time Management Magic Course is now available. You can find it here.  What is the best excuse you have heard from an employee?  Send in your excuses and we will use some of them on an episode of Creating Disney Magic. The top 5 excuses will receive an autographed copy of one of my books. 


7 Feb 2017

Rank #12

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Measuring Key Performance Indicators

Measuring Key Performance Indicators are part of the culture at Disney. Cast members know what we are reaching for and how our performance measures against the goal.  Setting targets for performance is important. You can't improve what you do not measure.  Once you hit your target, you can adjust to ensure you continue to improve.  Put key performance indicators in place and then make employees aware of them so they can help you move towards the goal.  Individuals should also have key performance indicators to help them be successful. In this episode, our discussion about key performance indicators also covers how to set goals for others and what to do if you can't reach key performance indicators others have set for you. 


30 May 2017

Rank #13

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Women in Leadership Roles

Change comes slowly in some organizations. It is not just organizations that change slowly. Even in some countries, change can take longer than you would hope.  A young lady from Oslo, Norway asked my opinion about women in leadership roles getting resistance.  It all comes down to culture.  At Disney World, we have embraced women in leadership roles. It is part of our culture. But that is not true at every organization.  When I began my career, there were few women in leadership roles. In my experience, women are more likely to pay closer attention to detail and have more empathy.   In this episode, I talk about women in leadership and answer a listener question about personal branding.  Resources mentioned on this episode; Web design by John Van Horn. Building a personal brand with Influence Brokers. The Time Management Magic Course


28 Mar 2017

Rank #14

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Improving Customer Service

The three legs of a successful business are; Taking Care of the Customer Taking Care of the Employees Taking Care of the Profit In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee Cockerell explains what you can do to create a culture of customer service when your organization currently does not focus on the customer.  Remember, employees are the company. Customers will view your company based on the experience they have with employees.  You can connect with Lee on Twitter - @LeeCockerell You can connect with Jody on Twitter - @jodymaberry And you can connect with Lee and Jody on the Creating Disney Magic Facebook Page. 


29 Mar 2016

Rank #15

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How to Fire an Employee with Compassion

There will come a time when you have to fire an employee. Whether they can't get the job done anymore, or the requirements of the job have changed, there are situations when you have to let someone go. Depending on who you talk to, there are several tips or best practices about how to fire an employee. Some of the examples I have heard include firing on the day the decision to do so is made and waiting until Friday. When I could, I always gave notice when I fired someone. Being let go was never a surprise because I communicated with them along the way about their performance. When the time came, I would tell someone their new job is to find a new job. I give them time, one month up to six months, to spend their working time looking for a new job. When you fire on notice, it is important to give them a specific end date so they know when their last day at the company will be. Now, if someone has done something inappropriate or illegal, do not give someone time. They will have to leave the company immediately. The Time Management Magic on-line course is now available. You can find it HERE.


4 Apr 2017

Rank #16

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Removing Hassles for Customers

To create a magical experience for your customer, you need to identify and remove any hassle the customer may encounter.  In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, we examine how you identify what is getting in the way of your customer having a better experience.  First, look at customer complaints and look for trends.  Next, ask your customers directly. Offer them something in return to sit down with you and answer questions for an hour. Find out what you do well and how you can do better.  Finally, sit down with your employees. Ask what you do well, how you can do better, and what rules and procedures they don't like.  With those three steps, you can find the areas creating the most hassle for your customers. Now work on a new system, guideline, or procedure to remove the hassle from the customer experience.  During the episode, I explain some innovating ways we have removed customer hassles.  My Time Management Magic Course is now available. You can find it here. 


14 Feb 2017

Rank #17

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The Difference Between Training and Development

Many organizations lump training and development into one category.  You need to understand the difference and the impact each will have on your organization.  Training is basic and unemotional. Development is emotional and helps people correct their mistakes or move from good to great.  You can follow along with Creating Disney Magic podcast on Facebook.  Is there a question you would like to ask on the show? Reach out and let us know and your question could be featured on an episode of Creating Disney Magic. 


22 Mar 2016

Rank #18

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Do the Hard Stuff First

"If you want your time to count, you must count your time." - Kary Oberbrunner If you want to do the most important work and have the most impact, you need to have a difficult conversation with yourself. You need to understand what you are doing that your shouldn't be doing anymore. You need to come clean about the hard thing you need to do that you are trying to avoid.  You need to examine the hard stuff in your life. Life gets easier when you do the hard stuff. Life gets harder when you do the easy stuff.  If you want to tackle the hard things in your life, consider the Time Management Magic Course. You can find out more here. 


14 Jun 2016

Rank #19

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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; Say No to most things.  Understand and focus on the few things you need to work on.  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. 


18 Jul 2017

Rank #20