342 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

    • Business
    • 4.9 • 392 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.

    A Leaders Job is to Make More Leaders

    A Leaders Job is to Make More Leaders

    Leadership sets the culture. That is true if we are talking about a country or a company. Sometimes, people put too much stock in non-essentials when determining if someone is ready for leadership. Additionally, people can rely on the wrong things to enforce the culture they are cultivating.
    In this episode, I'll answer a listener question along these lines.
    This week’s question comes from India and an anonymous listener; it comes in two parts. What do you do when your responsibility outweighs your experience? And how can you develop tact, influence, and authority while being welcoming, caring, and nice?
    I want to address the first portion of the question.  We, as leaders, need to recognize that time served is not the data or litmus test to determine if someone is ready for a position. Performance, attitude, and quality of work are far more relevant and better indicators of potential for success. It can be challenging to lead those who feel your age or experience is a hindrance, but there will always be a lot of jealously in the world. If you have the support of your leadership, be confident in that. Work to cultivate that support and focus on what matters. You have to perform, be professional and be clear about the support you do have.
    As far as developing influence and leading while still being kind and caring, that is a great attitude to have; especially leading people. Dominating and intimidating people to get things done are an abuse of power. This type of leadership sets a culture. If you want to set a culture of firmness and fairness, you can do that without fostering a culture of fear. Firm ins being clear, not being mean or intimidating or embarrassing someone. Be clear, be firm, and be as nice as you want to be.
    The best way to get others to do what needs doing is to treat them respectfully and make sure there is something in it for them. A leader's job is to make more leaders, not enemies. When you lead with empathy, you get results, and stuff gets done. Know your values. Ask yourself how you want your family treated in the workforce. Then go and treat people that way.
    Make sure you are planning for the future, even your recreational future. Disney and Universal are having dates sold out, so connect with Magical Vacation Planner and find a date that works for you. Call them at (407) 442-2694.

    • 16 min
    Working with Entrepreneurial Employees

    Working with Entrepreneurial Employees

    Over the last few years, especially 2020, we have seen the workforce environment change drastically. Whether it is birthed from a dream or by necessity, many young people today aspire to have their own business someday. But how does that impact us as leaders and the decisions we make surrounding hiring and developing our staff?
    In this episode, we’re answering a listener question about this very subject.
    Bradley from Nashville, TN posed this week's question: How would you develop employees that say they want to start their own company?
    It can be tempting, as a leader, to hear an employee aspires to own their own business and interpret that as a lack of loyalty. But that really couldn’t be further from the truth.
    A confident leader can recognize that an entrepreneurial spirit brings assets with it that a content employee may never develop. Often, those who plan to start their own company are hungry to learn and are looking to gain experience and exposure, all the while being committed to growth. If you are lucky enough to have this kind of person in your organization, take it.
    With this increasing trend, we have an opportunity to develop and learn from our entrepreneurial employees. They tend to be top-notch, driven, and ready to learn. Take the time, answer their questions, let them step into responsibility. Their dream will require them to depend on their performance and reliability for success. Time spent isn’t enough, they must have results. The more ambitious people you have, the better you are going to do.
    The environment of business is changing. Whether it is moving away from employees to contractors or from brick and mortar to remote offices, having risk-takers and people who take ownership on your team will serve you just as much as it serves them. 
    If you have a question you would like me and Jody to discuss here on the show, you can reach us on any social media channel, email us at support@cockerellacademy.com, at http://www.jodymaberry.com, or http://www.leecockerell.com.
    If you are looking to partner with individuals who take ownership when it comes to planning a vacation, make sure to get in touch with Magical Vacation Planner. Call them at (407) 442-2694.
    If you want to take part in our monthly community calls, join The Cockerell Academy today at http://www.cockerellacademy.com/.

    • 15 min
    Executive Presence

    Executive Presence

    A while back, my son was at Disney and noticed a gorilla who was making eye contact with the man who was in charge. Based solely on the way people were acting and the way the man presented himself, the gorilla picked up on who the boss was.
    Executive presence is what made that man stand out.
    People with executive presence have immediate influence and credibility.
    However, they don’t let that go to their heads. They treat all people with respect, no matter who they are. They let their position go and make every interaction all about the person they’re dealing with at the time.
    When you’re around people with executive presence, you feel comfortable and trust them right away. The way they treat you, their focus on you, and their mannerisms make you feel good about yourself.
    You don’t even have to be an executive to carry an executive presence.
    When I was put in charge of a group of restaurants in Philadelphia Marriot, I met one man who immediately impressed me. It wasn’t until days later that I found out he was one of the managers reporting to me. Despite his position, he had an executive presence.
    If you want to develop an executive presence, pay attention to others. Become a good listener. Ask questions about other people rather than talking all about yourself. Don’t try to convince others that you’re a big deal; instead, convince others how important they are.
    If you want to learn more tips for developing a stronger executive presence, tune in to this episode.

    • 15 min
    Creating Magic in Any Situation

    Creating Magic in Any Situation

    This week, we have Jamie and JJ Eubanks from Magical Vacation Planner on the show.
    Through this pandemic, this couple has had to put their flexibility to good use. Travel was so up in the air over the past 12 months, causing the Eubanks and their team to have to improvise greatly.
    However, they have gone above and beyond during this time. As things were taken away from their clients, they saw that as an opportunity. They didn’t want their clients to miss out on anything and filled in the gaps where services were missing.
    On this episode, Jamie and JJ talk about how their past helped them navigate this pandemic. JJ was a professional basketball player, meaning they were constantly picking up and moving.
    That prepared them to deal with obstacles that came their way, not being in control, and being home together 24/7. When COVID hit, they were more prepared than most other people were.
    We’re also talking about the other hidden blessings that have occurred in the last year. To name a few, creativity has flourished, skills have been developed, and the value of certain industries has skyrocketed.
    To hear more from Jamie and JJ and learn about the amazing customer service of their magical vacation planners, tune in to this episode. If you have travel needs and would like to get in touch with Magical Vacation Planner, call them at (407) 442-2694.

    • 25 min
    Real Leadership

    Real Leadership

    We recently added a great new course to The Cockerell Academy: Real Leadership.
    It gets into the details of the things that really matter. It teaches what most colleges don’t: how to treat people right, how to train people well, and how to get ahead of the pack.
    It’s the little things in life that make all the difference. Every little thing you do adds up to who people believe you are. Those are the things that get you recognized by the people you work with and for and get you promoted.
    A huge aspect of this course is the emotional aspect of dealing with people. We know that knowledge only gets us so far. Getting people to believe that knowledge is what really matters. When you are there for the people you lead, have empathy for them, and build trust with them, they will get more done.
    We also talk about how we should really be judging performance.
    Today, everything is so technical. Many people who are great at the technical side of their job get promoted but then have no leadership training. They’re left with no idea how to supervise and miserable because they’re forced into leadership with no desire for it.
    This is why we need to rethink what it means to be a leader. Technical expertise isn’t enough. We want leaders who are excited about leading people, not just people who know a lot.
    You don’t need a big title to start putting these things into practice now. If you want to learn how to be a great leader, join The Cockerell Academy today at http://www.cockerellacademy.com/.

    • 17 min
    Don’t Expect People to Be Like You

    Don’t Expect People to Be Like You

    For the first half of my marriage, I tried to get my wife to be like me.
    I always thought I was right. I liked to be in charge and make all of the decisions. I made her think she had to get approval from me to do anything.
    It was the same way at work. I pushed people around and told them what to do. However, whenever someone told me what to do, I was emotionally affected.
    Eventually, I realized that my attitude was creating the same problem at work as it was at home. People didn’t like or trust me. I had to learn to let people be themselves.
    If you’re someone who’s afraid of being judged, always criticizing others, and living in a tumultuous environment, reflect. Honestly consider if you are the problem—because you probably are.
    As soon as you understand and get honest about what’s happening, you can start to figure out how to fix it.
    For me, that meant going to leadership seminars. It meant telling people the outcome I needed and then stepping back. It meant ensuring that the people around me knew I trusted them. It meant learning to let go and, as a result, coming home less stressed.
    Listen to this episode for more instruction on changing your culture, both at home and at work. You may just find a transformation.

    • 15 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
392 Ratings

392 Ratings

lobos305 ,

Awesome Resource!

I really enjoy listening to this podcast about life and leadership. So many great lesson and suggestion!

Whiskey Hank ,


The best professional and personal development resource out there.

Chief Collins ,

Great Leadership Podcast


Thanks for all the leadership lessons and feedback. I enjoy this podcast as it provides great resources, and helps me outside of my profession from a customer service point of view.

Lee’s books are great too.


Lee/ Jody

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