298 episodes

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.

Creating Disney Magic Lee Cockerell

    • Management
    • 4.9, 377 Ratings

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.

    How to Make Hard Decisions

    How to Make Hard Decisions

    People who make good choices get ahead in life. 
    To make good choices, you need to understand your values. Take time to figure out what you stand for and what you stand against. 
    It is easy to make the wrong decision. It is tough to be brave and step in and help someone who doesn't have the same influence you don't have. 
    In the long term, it will pay off to stand up for what you believe in and do what is right. Making an easy decision may benefit you in the moment, but there is no benefit later. In fact, it will hurt you down the road. If not with other people, you will erode your confidence in yourself. 
    We all have influence. If you speak up you never know who is listening. If you take the right action you never know the impact it will have on the people watching. 

    • 14 min
    Applying What You Learn to Improve Your Organization

    Applying What You Learn to Improve Your Organization

    When you learn something new, it is only entertainment if you don't use it. 
    On this episode of Creating Disney Magic, Chris Jaskiewicz joins us to explain how he used what he learned to improve his organization. 
    Chris is the President and CEO of Icon Park in Orlando. 
    Icon Park was the first attraction in Orlando to open as the city began open again after the Covid-19 lockdown. Chris explains how they used story, not facts, to present the case why Icon was ready to open again. 
    Chris also explains how he used what he learned from me to improve his organization. With the improvements to Icon Park, they have been acknowledged by Forbes and USA Today. 
    Whether you learn from me or someone else, you need to find a way to use the new information to improve. Don't go through the motions and then claim you are better. Apply what you learn and actually get better.

    • 18 min
    Share Your Opinion With Your Boss

    Share Your Opinion With Your Boss

    When I was the Executive Vice President at Walt Disney World, I treasured my team coming to me with their opinion. They did not think of me as the big bad boss. They knew I was open to hearing their opinions. 
    I told them to keep me out of trouble and not let me make stupid decisions. 
    This attitude flowed up, too. Often, I would tell Al Weiss, my boss, what I needed to get work done. 
    Part of your responsibility as a leader is to do the right thing. Telling your boss what you know is the right thing. If you know something and don't share it with your boss, that is on you. You are not in your job to get along and get to retirement alive. 
    Too often, people are scared to speak up and let their boss know what they thing. If this is you, you are likely overrating the chance of getting in trouble with your boss. 
    If you don't have an environment where you can share your opinion with your boss, consider if it is the right place for you. When you hold back, it begins to have an impact on you when you don't get to tell the truth. It gets to you. Maybe it is time to move on. 

    • 14 min
    Your Organization Cannot Operate in Silos

    Your Organization Cannot Operate in Silos

    When I was Executive Vice President of Walt Disney World, Operations and entertainment sometimes had a conflict. The live shows were tremendous, but at times the cost was concerning. There was an entire operation to run, but live entertainment was a big piece of what people enjoy at the parks. 
    There are times when two department's priorities conflict with each other. 
    The key is you both have to have a mindset that you are going to work it out. Get a team together to find a way to make it work. When the right experts are in the room, you can work out the details and come out feeling both sides get what they need. 
    If you go in with the attitude you are going to win, everyone will lose. You won't look for a solution, you will just try to win. 
    There is no upside to winning when both sides are reaching for the same goal of serving the customer. 
    When you have a good attitude, you can avoid most of the problems. 
    Once you get people in the defensive mode, it can be difficult to get them out of being defensive. 
    Don't fall in love with your idea. There could be a better solution. Give your point of view, but you have to be willing to listen, too. 
    The leader of an organization needs to be clear that you will not operate in silos. If one department doesn't work, none of the departments will work. No department is more important than any other department.
    To keep an organization from operating in silos, the leader must set high expectations, clarity of expectations, quality of hiring, and a high-level of training. Basically, it is your culture. 

    • 17 min
    How to Recover From a Bad Decision

    How to Recover From a Bad Decision

    When you make a bad decision, the first thing you can do is apologize. 
    Don't hope people forget about it. They won't.
    If you have done something inappropriate, it can be difficult to get over. But if you take action on a decision and it doesn't go well, face it head-on and admit what happened. 
    When you get feedback from someone about a bad decision or how you are perceived, the first step is to believe it. You can't change until you accept the feedback you get. 
    To avoid making mistakes, seek counsel as you work through and towards big decisions. Have relationships with people who work with you so you can ask questions and get their advice. Seeking help, and taking your time, will lead to making fewer bad decisions. 
    Often, bad decisions come from making the decision in isolation. 
    In difficult situations, our desire to make people happy can also lead us to make the wrong decision. 
    It is better to hurt someone's feelings now rather than hurt their career later because you didn't give them candid feedback. 

    • 18 min
    How to Get Accurate Employee Surveys

    How to Get Accurate Employee Surveys

    When I was at Disney, cast member surveys brought to my attention some perceived me as playing favorites. It was like a gut punch to get the information.
    But you know what? They were right. When I reflected on the feedback, I realized I did
    Immediately, I change my behavior. I sat next to different people. I sought out different opinions. 
    Over the next couple of years, my scores improved. 
    The key to employee surveys is to change your behavior to change the ratings. 
    Don't get defensive. If you do, employees will never tell you anything again. 
    The purpose of feedback is for you to get better. 
    Employees and customers know everything you need to know to get better. 
    As a leader, your job is to give your team the resources and support to take care of the customer. It is not about you. It is about your team. 
    If you want more accurate employee surveys, follow these guidelines. 
    Don't ask for feedback unless you want the truth. If you just want employees to tell you that you are doing a great job, you are doing it for the wrong reason. 
    Keep it anonymous. Employees are more willing to tell the truth if their name is not attached to what they say. Otherwise, they fear retaliation. 
    Do not try to figure out who said what. Resist the temptation to get to the bottom of it when someone says something negative about you. Take it as an opportunity to get better. 
    Take action on the feedback you get. The most effective way to get accurate survey results is to actually take action on the feedback you get from employees. Once they trust you, they will open up more. 

    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
377 Ratings

377 Ratings

fan o disney ,

Lee is a pro! Jody is awesome

These guys are fantastic - I don’t even work as a manager and find the show so enlightening !!

GeekRob ,

Management Masterpiece

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.

Andy Darnell ,

Conversational Masterclass

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.

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