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Business
Careers
Management

Creating Disney Magic

Updated 4 days ago

Business
Careers
Management
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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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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.

iTunes Ratings

363 Ratings
Average Ratings
339
9
6
6
3

Management Masterpiece

By GeekRob - Feb 10 2020
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I was told about the show from a friend of mine. I have gone back to the very first episodes and am working my way through every show. Lee and Jody provide great information in an easy to listen and digest format. I just purhcased Time Management Magic and cannot wait to read it. Thanks to Lee and Jody for helping me want to be a better leader in my organization.

Conversational Masterclass

By Andy Darnell - Feb 05 2020
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I really enjoy this content. It’s extremely conversational and easy listening but sparks ideas and reminders of business best practice. So often we try to fit others’ models into our businesses, but what we need is more common sense, grace and generosity in our relationships. Lee and Jody remind me that success happens most often to those who put in the work of truly caring about the customer.

iTunes Ratings

363 Ratings
Average Ratings
339
9
6
6
3

Management Masterpiece

By GeekRob - Feb 10 2020
Read more
I was told about the show from a friend of mine. I have gone back to the very first episodes and am working my way through every show. Lee and Jody provide great information in an easy to listen and digest format. I just purhcased Time Management Magic and cannot wait to read it. Thanks to Lee and Jody for helping me want to be a better leader in my organization.

Conversational Masterclass

By Andy Darnell - Feb 05 2020
Read more
I really enjoy this content. It’s extremely conversational and easy listening but sparks ideas and reminders of business best practice. So often we try to fit others’ models into our businesses, but what we need is more common sense, grace and generosity in our relationships. Lee and Jody remind me that success happens most often to those who put in the work of truly caring about the customer.
Cover image of Creating Disney Magic

Creating Disney Magic

Latest release on Feb 18, 2020

The Best Episodes Ranked Using User Listens

Updated by OwlTail 4 days ago

Rank #1: How to Promote Yourself

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Did you know people used to call me Low-Key Lee?

Don't make the mistake of thinking your work will stand for itself. People have to know you did the great work. 

I made this mistake when I interviewed with Marriott. When I assumed the great work I had done at Hilton would speak for itself. It doesn't work that way. You have to promote yourself. At the time, I didn't know how to promote myself 

Low-Key Lee was not the person Marriott wanted to hire. Fortunately for me, someone I worked with at Hilton was now at Marriott and he knew I was the right guy for the job. But had the hiring decision had been made based on my interview, I would have never been hired by Marriott. 

The feedback from the interview taught me a lesson. During the rest of career, I did a better job at promoting myself and the work I have done. 

Make sure you know what you believe about management and leadership. When you are around your boss, give your opinion based on what you believe. It is a way to promote yourself, show what you can do, and improve the company. Over time, if you do this and plan how you can send a message about how valuable you are, you will prepare your boss to think of you when the time comes for a promotion. 

Sep 18 2018

15mins

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Rank #2: The Candid Truth About Candor

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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 fail, it is your fault.

Begin today. Be candid.

Aug 08 2017

16mins

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Rank #3: Introducing New Employees to Your Culture

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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 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.

CLICK HERE to get my Morning Magic Planner. 

Jul 25 2017

15mins

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Rank #4: Holding Contractors to a High Standard

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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 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. 

Aug 29 2017

17mins

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Rank #5: Becoming Qualified is the Key to Making More Money

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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 understand. Just tell people the truth. 

If you want more money you have to be qualified to earn it. It is that simple. 

When I worked as a Greaseman at a hotel in Lake Tahoe, I wanted more money than the $90 per week I earned. When I promoted to housekeeping a $10 per week raise came with the position. I became more qualified, moved into a different position and earned more money. 

This is the formula to get more money. 

Identify the job you want and focus on what it will take to get in that position. Talk to people who have the job. Find out more about the position and keep learning. Most people don't try hard enough. If you apply yourself and show you can do the work, you will get your chance. Be persistent. 

Sep 19 2017

15mins

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Rank #6: How to Become a Culture Manager

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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 into the facilities. Changes have flowed into the experience of the campers. 

You, too, can decide to be a culture manager. It begins with making the decision to be excellent. 

Nov 28 2017

16mins

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Rank #7: Why Aren't You Reaching for a Great Life?

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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 regrets tomorrow. 

Getting fired showed me there is not too much to be afraid of. If I can get fired from my job and still find a way to provide for my family, how bad can it be? Knowing this armed me with what I needed to take bigger risks. 

In my entire career, I have only had a handful of days where I did not want to be there. Taking risks lead to a great career. 

If you become complacent, you will not be successful. Do not settle. Failure comes when you quit.

Are you going to settle for a good life? Or, are you ready to have a great life?

Don't underestimate what you can do with your life. 

Jul 11 2017

16mins

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Rank #8: How to Handle Customers Complaints

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Customer complaints can be delicate. How you deal with an unsatisfied customer will shape their opinion of the company. 

At Disney, Lee made sure managers knew to never get defensive with guests. Never try to win the argument with a customer. 

Your goal with a complaining customer is to win them over. Make them happy before they leave your business. 

Remember, emotional feedback from a customer will help you realize where you need to improve. Understanding where you need to improve, will help you move from good to great. 

It is not the problem that gets you in trouble, it is how you solve it. 

Click HERE to learn more about the Time Management Magic Course. 

You can leave an iTunes review for Creating Disney Magic here

Sep 08 2015

15mins

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Rank #9: Leading Through Conflict

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Conflict will happen in any organization. Conflict can be caused by new technology, change in leadership, change in ownership, or many other reasons. 

No matter how conflict is caused, a leader needs to tell the truth and be willing to talk about the cause of the conflict. 

Lee also offers advice on how to properly complain to a company when you experience bad service. 

Jul 28 2015

17mins

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Rank #10: Improving Customer Service by Traveling

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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 exposure are two things you will gain from traveling that will change your worldview and help you better serve your customers.

You don't have to travel internationally. Visit big cities. Visit new businesses. Go places where you don't know people where your eyes will be open to a new way of doing things. 

Travel changes who you are. Every new experience opens your eyes. 

Time Management Magic is now available as an audiobook. You can get the book here

If you don't have a copy of the Morning Magic Planner, you can get it here

Sep 26 2017

18mins

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Rank #11: The Magic of Clarity With Business Partners

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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 you expect and what it looks like to meet expectations.  

In both cases, the people you work with need to know how to satisfy customers. The experience should be seamless for customers.  

If you have a question you would like me to answer on the show, just reach out. Answering listener questions are my favorite part of the podcast. 

Oct 03 2017

15mins

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Rank #12: How to Make a Shift in the Way You Operate

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People only change for two reasons; crisis or education. 

Making a life change because of education is much better, believe me. But too many of us wait until we are smacked in the face to make a change. 

Making a change is hard, though. In my personal life, I made a drastic shift after going to a Time Management seminar in 1980. Before then, I worked hard and I worked a lot. Yet, I still missed deadlines and didn't get all my work done. But this 2-day changed everything. It shifted the way I thought. It shifted the way I approached life. The seminar taught me how to do things on purpose. Each day since then has been both full and fulfilling. 

There is an example of changing how I operate in my personal life. 

At Disney, we made a change in how we operated throughout Walt Disney World when I introduced the Great Leader Strategies. 

In both cases, making a change involved 2 steps; 

Step One: Deciding to Change

Step Two: Taking the action to change

Whether you are making a personal change or changing the way an organization operates, you have to know why you are making the change. You have to be committed to the change. You have to have clarity. And finally, you have to do the work every day. Making a personal change is tough, but imagine how tough it was to implement a culture shifting change to over 40,000 cast members. Any change takes time. 

You can change now because you know there is a better way. Or you can change later because you are forced to through a crisis. 

In this episode, we talk about the book Essentialism by Greg McKeown. 

Career Magic is now available as an audiobook

Before you plan your next vacation, talk to our friends at Magical Vacation Planners

Aug 21 2018

16mins

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Rank #13: Motivation Based Interviewing with Carol Quinn

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Hiring the right people is the most important thing an organization can do. Understanding how to hire high performers is the key to a great work environment. 

Carol Quinn, CEO of Hire Authority, joins Lee Cockerell to discuss Motivation Based Interviewing. 

Motivation Based Interviewing, known as MBI, will change the way you hire people. When you change the way you hire people, the performance and attitude of the entire organization will change. 

Lee Cockerell says better hiring is one of the best cost management measures an organization can adopt. 

Aug 11 2015

14mins

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Rank #14: Becoming a Servant Leader

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A title does not make you a leader. 

A title may make you a manager, but not a leader. 

In fact, the bigger your title, the less you need to think of yourself and more about the people who count on you. 

It's not about me. It's about them. 

When I ran Disney World, it was my priority to create an environment where people wanted to come to work every morning. If I created a place where everyone mattered and they knew they mattered, people would look forward to coming to work, they would take care of the guest. 

It was not about me, it was about the cast members. I was there to serve the cast member so they could serve the guest. 

As leaders, we were there to serve the cast member. Not tell them what to do. Our actions made cast members feel respected and included and part of something magical. 

One of the most important things a leader can do is clear the way so people can do their job without obstacles. 

If you want to be a servant leader, here are two questions to ask your employees every day;

What do you need?

What can I do for you?

If you act as a servant leader, you will be a role model for the people around you. What you teach your employees, they teach their employees. 

Feb 12 2019

14mins

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Rank #15: Create a Culture of Customer Service

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At Disney, it doesn't matter what your job is. We all have the same purpose. 

Take care of the guest.

It doesn't matter if what you are doing for the guest is in your job description. 

A culture of customer service doesn't happen by accident. It has to be part of your culture. It has to be repeated. People have to hear it over and over. 

No matter what your job is, your purpose is to take care of the guests. 

At Disney, our purpose was to make sure guests have the most fabulous time of their lives, no matter what your job title is. 

When all 80,000 cast members at Disney World focuses on this purpose, a guest will have an unbelievable experience when they least expect it. 

Imagine someone working in security being able to tell you what the specials are at the restaurant. Something like doesn't happen. Except it does at Disney. Taking care of the guest is baked into our culture. 

Hire the right people. Train them. Explain expectations. Give them examples. And then let them take care of the customers. Hold them accountable. And role model what you want to see from employees. 

Customer service is not a department. It is a way of doing business.  

Nov 12 2019

18mins

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Rank #16: Maintaning High Standards

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Maintaining high standards can be a challenge in any setting. It becomes even more difficult when you have a large company, are dispersed geographically, or work with franchisees or independent distributors. In this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Lee Cockerell explains how you can maintain high standards in these situations. 

Lee also reminds us that average is a dangerous place to be for companies and individuals. 

Aug 23 2016

18mins

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Rank #17: How to Handle an Exit Interview

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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 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. 

Aug 15 2017

13mins

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Rank #18: How to Have Effective Meetings

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There are two types of meetings, either to give out information or to make decisions. Understanding the difference between the two types of meetings will determine who should be at the meeting. 

If you want to have an effective meeting, the first step is to determine if you should even have a meeting. If it is vital to have a meeting, be prepared, have an agenda and keep it as short as possible. If you start on time and stop on time, you will begin to have meetings people will look forward to showing up for. 

Would you consider leaving a review for Creating Disney Magic? You can do that here

Find out more about Lee Cockerell's Time Management Course

Oct 13 2015

14mins

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Rank #19: Dealing With Criticism

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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.

Jun 27 2017

16mins

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Rank #20: Everyone Has Flies

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Lee Cockerell explains an early lesson he learned from Bill Marriott. 

This lesson about flies at a hotel stuck with Lee through the rest of his career. Understanding the concept of "Everyone Has Flies" caused Lee to take responsibility of any problem and grab a flyswatter to attack the problem. 

Lee also discusses the impact time management had on his career and personal life. Lee's upcoming book, Time Managment Magic, outlines the system Lee uses to manage his own time. 

Dec 23 2014

14mins

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