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.
Building Resilience to Deal with Tough Times
In the current climate of the world, we could all use a good story about overcoming tough times. Killiam Hemmy is on the show today to share his own story of resilience.
Killian joined the military right before 9/11 and quickly found himself in Afghanistan. He went back time and again, both in the military and working for the FBI. One morning, he went out for a run and suddenly collapsed. He went into cardiac arrest, which he later found out was caused by a rare genetic condition.
This diagnosis plunged Killian into a deep depression. He had no motivation even to get out of the house.
He went from being an extremely athletic, fit, and capable man to feeling like everything had crumbled down around him.
So, he started to look at how to build his resilience back up. He went back to the basics of his days in the military. He broke everything down to their basest level. Seeing things from a step-by-step perspective helped him build back his internal resiliency.
Killian now helps other people to keep looking at where they’re going but to also have a laser focus on the first, second, and third steps they have to take to get there.
I took a similar step-by-step approach to my own experience with depression without even knowing it. It helped me rise up and see past my circumstances.
Being the kind of leader who reveals their own fallibility has incredible power. When people see this, they trust you more. They feel like they can go to you.
So, don’t be afraid to show your weakness. Take the time to make your people realize you’re with them through thick and thin. You’ll secure that relationship and their loyalty for life.
To hear more tips for building resiliency, tune in to this episode. If you want to connect with Killian further, you can find him on Twitter.
Leading an Inclusive Workplace
Jody and I have been recording a new course for the Cockerell Academy called “Everybody Matters: Diversity and Inclusion.” It’s such a relevant topic. Working on the course has brought to mind even more thoughts on how to practice inclusiveness in our personal and work lives.
It starts with getting out of your silo. If you only ever interact with people just like you, you will never develop inclusiveness. Exposure and experience are the main problems here.
However, when we get out of our bubbles and get to know people who are different from us, we get to experience so much more from life. It’s exciting to know more about the world, other cultures, and what people believe. Being educated about other cultures helps you in all kinds of ways.
Inclusiveness goes beyond the color of our skin, though. You can and should surround yourself with a diversity of opinions, backgrounds, and upbringings. Especially in the workplace, you don’t want the whole table to be filled with people who think just like you.
There is discrimination today for all sorts of things. You might find it hard to accept anyone who does anything different from you.
But be careful how you think; your brain might be polluted. Half the stuff in your brain isn’t true, so dig down and figure out what is.
If you’re the top person in your workplace, talk about diversity and inclusiveness. Make it clear where you stand on it. Tell your employees that they’ll get ahead based on their performance, not on where they went to school, what grades they got, their religion, or their sexual orientation.
If you want to learn more about this topic, you can find the whole course in the Cockerell Academy at http://www.cokerellacademy.com.
How to Attract Top Talent to Your Organization
Given the disruption COVID-19 brought on the economy and many companies in 2020, there are a lot of people out looking for work right now.
This week, we have a listener question on this topic: what recommendations would I give to organizations that are looking to attract and hire top talent in the current economy?
If you’re looking for talented employees, now is the time to find them. Once the world gets back to normal, great people will be scooped up very quickly. Don’t wait to hire them or you’ll miss out.
To find these people, make sure your company itself is great. Just as your company wants better talent, employees want a better company. Start getting better now by focusing on people, listening and responding to their needs, and developing a strong company culture.
There is a lot more flexibility in the workplace today. People have a lot more expertise in working from home and now expect adaptations to be made available. You will attract job seekers by offering them alternative work situations.
Pay attention to the talent already within your company, too. Go back and look at your training. If your employees aren’t as good as they could be, invest more into their development and set higher expectations. Then identity those employees who are most capable and move them into better positions where you’ll retain them for longer.
The most talented employees out there have no problem finding a job. If they go elsewhere, you’ll be left with those who didn’t have as many options. This is why it’s crucial to become a great company now that will attract and keep the top talent.
To learn more tips for attracting top talent to your organization, tune into this episode.
Stop Saying Yes So Often
I recently sent out an email where I said, “The more you say yes at work, the more you’ll have to say no to something at home.”
In response, a listener asked if I could talk more about the right balance there. When should we say yes and when should we say no while still being a good employee?
Start by thinking about the most important, no-exception items in your life. Once you know these, you’ll know what the non-negotiables are that you cannot say no to. These are the things you must bring to your boss.
Straighten all of those things out. If you have to leave early on Wednesdays to volunteer for your son’s football team, tell your boss that. If your daughter has a recital in the middle of the day, give them notice of that. This is a hard conversation to have, but it will build trust with your employer.
Your boss will actually benefit more if you have a good situation at home. You won’t be losing sleep thinking about the stress of the job. You’ll bring your best to work every day.
In some jobs, the boss will be unreasonable. Don’t stay in a situation like this for long. A few days where you have to stay work extra late is fine. However, if that’s a consistent problem, you need to find a new job.
It all comes down to how you define success. Success isn’t getting a promotion or making more money. You’re successful if you are happy and healthy and if your family is happy and healthy, too. Money won’t mean anything if you lose your family or your health.
Things are not the way they are; they’re the way you want them to be. So, if your situation isn’t meeting your expectations, do something to change that.
If you have another topic or question you want us to talk about, send it to me at http://www.leecockerell.com or to Jody at http://www.jodymaberry.com.
Three Ps of Getting a Promotion
Recently, Jody and I were on a training call with an organization. One of the attendees asked what I used to look for when I was thinking of promoting somebody.
It comes down to the 3 P’s: persistence, passion, and people.
Persistence means being an employee that others can count on. It’s finishing the job no matter what. It’s never leaving anything hanging.
When we are persistent, others can’t help but notice. We quickly build trust with others because, every time they work with us, things get done. Everyone wants to work with someone like that.
Because most of our decisions in life come from our interactions with people, those who are persistent develop strong reputations. They are likely the first to be considered when there is a promotion.
The second P is passion.
When you are passionate about something, you’d still do it if you weren’t paid. Even when it’s difficult, you still love it and choose to do it over everything else.
Passionate employees don’t need to be motivated because they motivate themselves. This is often the mark of a great performer, which leads them to get a promotion.
Finally, people can help you get promoted.
When I was in my 20s, I was extremely introverted and insecure. I went for a job interview in Chicago and didn’t do very well. However, the person who recommended me told the hiring team that I was a great fit for the job and they still chose to hire me. That’s the power of people.
So, network within your own company to make sure people know you and will vouch for you. Most people haven’t seen you in action, so you need to do the work of finding someone who will advocate for you when a promotion arises.
These 3 P’s outweigh skill every time. You can’t train someone to be persistent, passionate, or to have the right people on their side. It’s just who they are.
You’ll learn the skills that will allow you to do the job well once you have it but having these 3 P’s is the only way to catch the eye of the person promoting you.
How to Improve Customer Service
You can’t lead from your office with your feet on the desk.
One of our listeners works under a boss who is likely leading that way. That listener recently asked how to bring up to their manager that their customer service was poor.
Ideally, the owner of an organization would have clear expectations for providing feedback. Bosses should make it clear that they are willing to hearing employees’ ideas for how the business can be better. It is the boss’ job to create an environment and culture where employees want to, can, and have the resources, training, and trust to do a great job.
If this isn’t the case, the boss may be afraid of the extra work or cost that changes will create for them. They may need training on better customer service or more experience with brave employees telling them what needs to be fixed.
Without improving customer service, you will lose out on a variety of things. You may lose customers as there are countless other companies (with better customer service) where they can go to get what they want. You could also lose market share and even your reputation.
If you don’t know how your service is perceived by customers, you have to get out and about. Walk the operation as your customers do.
At Disney, I would schedule time in my day to get out and talk to customers, stand in lines, go to restaurants, observe what was going on, and have casual conversations with customers.
This is the only way you’ll see what needs to be fixed. Once you recognize those things, that is what you need to work on for the rest of the day.
If you want to learn more about customer service, there is an entire course on it in The Cockerell Academy. Find out more at https://www.cockerellacademy.com/.