315 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 • 384 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.

    Invest in Training for Employees

    Invest in Training for Employees

    Not only does training benefit the employees of a company, but it benefits the company itself, too. As we’ve talked about in previous episodes, when you spend time and money on someone, it shows them that they matter and that you care about them. They understand just how valued they are.
    Training also builds trust. Your people will say good things about you behind your back when you invest in them. It creates a powerful environment between the two of you, which is contagious. Other employees will pick up on that culture and want to be trained themselves.
    When employees are properly trained, they take better care of your customers. They do their jobs much better. Training is an investment, but it has a huge payoff later.
    Employees who are confident and care about the company will earn your money back. They’ll grow and be worth more. When you need to fill a position, one of your trained employees can be promoted and you won’t have to spend the time and money to go out and recruit someone new.
    Finally, training gets all of your employees on the same page. You can know they’ve all received the same message and training. The company is greatly benefitted by this.
    We’re already talking with many companies about instituting the Cockerell Academy as the training program in their companies. This is one way to make sure every employee is trained in the same way. To learn more about the program, head to CockerellAcademy.com.

    • 15 min
    You Can't Separate Work and Home Life

    You Can't Separate Work and Home Life

    In a past episode of Creating Disney Magic, I said it was a mistake to try to live two separate lives; one at home and one at work. 
    Since we have never discussed it in a full episode, a listener wrote in asking us to talk more about it. So in this episode, we get right into it. 
    The truth is, you don’t get to live two lives. You have to get everything done in the one life you are given.
    The way to do this is through time-management. This isn’t a skill that’s only applicable to work. You need to implement good time management at home, too.

    List out everything you need to do in a planner, then go through and prioritize it. If the two most important things you have to get done today are personal, that’s okay. If you need to finish up a work project after supper, that’s okay, too.
    Management is all about control. All the stuff you have to do isn’t business or personal--it’s just life. Your personal issues affect your work and vise-versa. So, keep all aspects of your life under control.
    Additionally, it’s a mistake to keep your personal life from your staff. If you act like a robot and never share, people won’t be as open or trusting with you. It’s all about making connections. You never know who you will help by sharing something you’re going through or who will be able to help you.
    To learn more about time management and to keep up with the best work we’re doing right now, check out the Cockerell Academy at www.cockerellacademy.com.

    • 17 min
    Tell the Right Story During a Job Search

    Tell the Right Story During a Job Search

    Many people are struggling with the job search right now, so on this episode of Creating Disney Magic we and a listener question. She asked, “How do I reenter the workforce after being a stay-at-home mom for 17 years?”
    In this episode, I explain how to sell yourself through your resume, even if you don’t have directly relevant experience for the position for which you’re applying.
    It’s all about the story you tell with your resume. Take what you’ve done and tell a story with it. Be authentic and truthful, because the employer wants to hear who you are more they want to hear what you’ve done. That’s what people are looking for long-term.
    So, write about who you are. Write about any experiences you’ve had that have developed leadership, organization, or management traits within you. Write about the things you’ve dealt with as a mom or in whatever situation you’ve previously found yourself in.
    Most importantly, show them that you’re a good gamble. If you tell them that you’re willing to take on an entry-level role and prove that you deserve a full-time position, you will create a win-win situation. They have nothing to lose by hiring you. You’re coming in to get experience and an opportunity, so be willing to take any position that gets your foot in the door.
    Another thing that impresses employers is the preparation you’ve done and the training you’ve received. For example, going through Cockerell Academy helps you think about the things you need to know and prepares you for elements of an interview you may not have known to think about. You can find it at www.cockerellacademy.com.

    • 15 min
    Invest in Employee Development

    Invest in Employee Development

    Show your employees that you care and in return, you’ll get commitment.
    When I was at Disney, we gave housekeepers an hour to attend English lessons. We hired local professors to teach these classes. As a result,  the turnover rate for housekeepers dropped down to almost zero.
    When you’re investing in people, you’re showing them you care. Leadership is about taking care of people. It’s all about showing people they matter. One way to do that is by helping them with their education or training them in some other way.
    Many people in entry-level jobs underestimate what they can achieve in life. A leader’s job is to build up these employees’ self-confidence and help them know they achieve great things.
    When you help people get knowledgeable, you change their life. This, in turn, changes their children’s and their grandchildren’s lives. It also enhances the environment of the company and attracts even more great people to it.
    You may not immediately see it if you’re only looking at the numbers, but showing employees they matter will benefit you. So, even if just for an hour a month, start investing in them now.
    If you want to become a stronger leader, join us at www.cockerellacademy.com. 

    • 12 min
    Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

    Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

    When we don't have much experience in the field we're working in, or get a big promotion, we can have what some people call Imposter Syndrome. 
    Imposter syndrome is when you feel like you aren't deserving or good enough for the opportunity, even if your track record might suggest otherwise.  These feelings can be especially prevalent we don’t have much experience in the field in
    This week’s episode features a question from a listener who is struggling with imposter syndrome. On the episode, we talk about how to overcome imposter syndrome when we’re leading a team with far more experience than us.
    When I first started working at Disney, I didn’t know anything about the theme park. In fact, I had never even been to Disney World! I wasn’t there to run the parks, though. It was my job to be a leader and let the experts around me run the parks.  
    The first thing you should do is get everything out of the way upfront. Have a team meeting and have the person who hired you to explain why they chose you for the job. Tell your team that you’re excited to learn from them. Think up every question they may have and address all of them.
    If you have the right attitude, have support from the boss, and get every concern squared away immediately, you’ll learn the job. Don’t come in and assert your authority. Be cooperative. Be willing to admit when you don’t know something and ask your team questions.
    If there are still employees who aren’t going along with the decision, talk with them one-on-one. Ask them what else you can do to make them happy. Just deal with it and put the flame out as best and as quickly as you can.
    Above all, remember that someone in leadership believes you can do the job. They saw something in you. Go in every day seeking to prove the doubters wrong.
    If you want to become a strong leader and not worry about imposter syndrome, join us in the Cockerell Academy.

    • 16 min
    Innovation Through Structure

    Innovation Through Structure

    Innovation doesn’t get in the way of structure. Innovation helps create structure.
    Your organization needs to have policies, procedures, and standards within your organization in order to protect your employees and prevent disaster. Once we figure out the best way to do something, we must do it that way and make sure everyone in the organization knows we do it that way.
    Structure won’t lead to micromanagement if you’ve hired the right people. If you can rely on your team, they will follow the policies and procedures you’ve put in place.
    Anything can get better. If leadership wants to improve something and has the drive to do so, it can be improved.
    Structure won't lead to less innovation.  Instead, when you get the right policies and procedures in place, they will create more freedom. They take away the questions and in that way create more innovation.
    On this episode, we talk about why structure is so important in organizations and how to make sure it doesn’t impede innovation.
    To learn more about adding structure and innovation to your team, check out CockerellAcademy.com. 

    • 16 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
384 Ratings

384 Ratings

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

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 !!

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