510 episodes

Lee Cockerell shares his wisdom and experience from his time as the Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World. Along with host Jody Maberry, 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
    • 4.8 • 430 Ratings

Lee Cockerell shares his wisdom and experience from his time as the Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World. Along with host Jody Maberry, Lee discusses how you can apply lessons in leadership, management, and customer service to create magic in your organization.

    Be Clear About What it is Like to Work With You

    Be Clear About What it is Like to Work With You

    "If you're not doing a good job, I'm going to speak to you about it. If you're doing a good job, I'm going to tell you about it. That's how we work around here In hiring, clarity is key. Lay it out upfront: the hard work, long hours, and expectations. Magic happens not by chance but by setting clear, honest expectations. Be transparent to avoid disappointment later.
    Entry-level work can be brutal. It's essential to prepare newcomers for the reality they’re stepping into. At Disney, we show them all aspects of the job, not just the glamorous parts. Honesty builds stronger teams. One way of making sure you build strong teams is by starting with strong training and setting expectations. They aren't just corporate buzzwords; they're fundamentals. If the team fails, often it's on leadership for not being clear or thorough enough. Train well and communicate often.
    Professionalism goes beyond skill. It’s showing up, looking presentable, and acting the part. We can't assume new hires know the basics. Outline every detail, no matter how small. Better over-informed than underprepared. Every role, from housekeeper to manager, deserves clear communication about what it entails. Sugarcoating helps no one. Respect your team by being brutally honest about the work ahead. Authenticity breeds trust and success.
    Remember, we're not just hiring bodies. We’re shaping futures, and the clearer we are, the more successful they’ll be. Let’s make sure they know everything they need to thrive.
    Make sure to listen to episode 509 "Be Clear About What it Is Like to Work With You" for more on setting clear expectations up front.
    Resources The Cockerell Academy
    About Lee Cockerell
    About Jody Maberry
    Mainstreet Leader
    Magical Vacation Planners  407-442-2694
    Key Moments 01:03 Frustrations with work, lack of promotion, stress, and discontent.
    05:49 Performance depends on clarity with training and expectations.
    08:33 Be on time and excel for advancement.
    09:27 Differences in generational knowledge and awareness.

    • 12 min
    Introducing the Jordan Harbinger Show

    Introducing the Jordan Harbinger Show

    "I started listening to the Jordan Harbinger Show and have really enjoyed the variety of guests that he talks to... The more you know and the more points of view you hear, the better you're going to run your life, your business and your relationships." Check out the Jordan Harbinger Show - we think you're going to enjoy it.

    • 1 min
    Don't Underestimate What You Can Accomplish

    Don't Underestimate What You Can Accomplish

    "Don't underestimate the influence you have every day on other people around you."
    Key Moments
    01:14 Family and Leadership
    04:06 The Importance of Building Strong Family Relationships 
    08:19 Sharing Knowledge and Experiences
    11:27 The Importance of Hard Decisions
    13:53 Power of Influence
    Resources
    The Cockerell Academy
    About Lee Cockerell
    Mainstreet Leader
    Magical Vacation Planners  407-442-2694
    Don't Underestimate What You Can Accomplish
    Leadership starts at home. Parenting taught me clarity and trust. A while back my son, Daniel Cockerell, interviewed me about leadership and parenting. It was recorded during the early days of Dan’s own podcasting venture. Our conversation highlights leadership lessons from a variety of personal and professional experiences.
    Whether you are a parent or in a management role it is imerative to have clarity and consistency. Providing clear expectations and addressing issues head-on is crucial. It builds trust and ensures everyone knows where they stand. The key is finding the balance between being serious and showing love.
    One thing I learned over the years is that kids and employees like to know the bigger picture and their role in it. They love to ask, "why?" Everyone’s contribution makes a difference when they see the broader impact of their work. It doesn't matter is they are a parking enforcement officer, hospitality worker, or child at school. They want to understand the greater purpose behind the work they are being asked to do.
    Often people overestimate what they can accomplish in a day and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. Stay focused on long-term goals while acknowledging daily progress. Remember, your actions today shape the future. Don’t underestimate the influence you have on those around you and the things that you can accomplish. Lead by example and share your wisdom to leave a lasting positive impact. 
    Make sure to listen to this episode to her Dan and I talk about navigating leadership, parenting, and how to not underestimate what you can accomplish. Then go take a vacation so you are well rested and ready to take on all the demands of your work. Call Magical Vacation Planners at 407-442-2694 to help you. They can accomplish a lot when it comes to planning your ideal trip. 

    • 16 min
    Build Relationships Before You Need Them

    Build Relationships Before You Need Them

    "Make sure you're doing things for other people long before you're going to ask them to do something for you."
    Key Moments
    01:24 Building Meaningful Professional Relationships
    04:57 How to Handle Unresponsive Colleagues
    06:31 The Power of a Phone Call or Face to Face Conversation in a Digital Age
    07:43 Impact of Personal Stress on Leadership
    Resources
    The Cockerell Academy
    About Lee Cockerell
    Mainstreet Leader
    Build Relationships Before You Need Them
    A crucial aspect of leadership and management is building relationships before you need them. When a someone takes the time to build relationships across departments, they ensure seamless collaboration when the time comes. Throughout my years as a leader, including an executive with The Walt Disney Company, I learned a number of practical strategies that maintain strong connections and while also making sure everyone is held accountable.
    Everyone needs to recognize that proactive relationship building is always valuable. Develop strong connections with colleagues outside your department long before you need their help. Invest time in genuine interactions—have a casual lunch, send a thank-you note, or simply check in. These small gestures accumulate and solidify a foundation of trust and mutual support.
    When you need to delegate tasks outside your department, be persistent yet considerate. This is not as challenging to do when you have already built a relationship and have an empathetic lens.  Humor and directness can go a long way in breaking resistance. There are times you will have to push through the obstacles, but always maintain a respectful and understanding demeanor towards others' pressures and workloads.
    In our digital age, it’s easy to rely on emails and texts. Switch things up and prioritize communication over convenience. Picking up the phone or having face-to-face conversations can resolve issues more effectively and save time. Direct communication makes sure everyone has clarity and shows your commitment to collaboration.
    Whether you're in management, customer service, or just interested on leadership advice, this episode is an important one. If you are ready to create magic in your organization, make sure to listen. By the end you will be ready to build relationships that will pave the way for smoother operations and enhanced cooperation.
    Magical Vacation Planners does a great job of building relationships. When you are ready for a vacation reach out to them. Once you meet their team you will know why you will want them to plan every trip you take. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

    • 11 min
    Helping an Employee Deal with Burnout

    Helping an Employee Deal with Burnout

    "I think 99% of the time, they don't tell you everything that is causing that, and maybe they don't even know."
    Key Moments
    01:52 Effective Communication in the Workplace
    02:46 The Impact of Workplace Pressure
    05:34 Overcoming Fear in Your Career
    07:58 The Power of Checking In
    Resources
    The Cockerell Academy
    About Lee Cockerell
    Mainstreet Leader
    Helping an Employee Deal with Burnout
    One topic that resonates with many professionals is employee burnout. Someone recently reached out with concerns about an employee feeling overwhelmed and burnt out. It is a reality many employees and leaders face. However, it is important to recognize that it is not just about one stressor. Burnout is often due to a combination of personal & professional pressures. Identifying the root cause is key.
    Key takeaways from this episode:
    Understand the Underlying Issues: Often, burnout isn’t just about the current workload. It can stem from personal issues or a lack of balance. It's crucial to have open and honest conversations to uncover the root causes. Maintain an Open Dialogue: Consistently check in with your team members. Don't wait for them to come to you; actively engage in discussions about their well-being and potential stressors. Promote a Supportive Culture: Create a workplace environment where employees feel valued and heard. Sometimes, just knowing they have your support can ease feelings of burnout and anxiety. Some experience burnout more intensely than others so it is important to know how to handle it. From understanding the underlying causes of burnout to practical solutions for alleviating stress, this episode provides guidance to help you support your team members effectively.
    If planning a vacation has you feeling burnt out, let our friends at Magical Vacation Planner handle the details so you can truly relax.  Make sure you reach out to them at 407-442-2694.

    • 9 min
    Dealing with Bad Meetings

    Dealing with Bad Meetings

    “Leaders need to recognize how important it is to have trust and involvement and being inclusive, and especially appreciating people telling you the truth."
    Key Moments
    03:14 Mishandled meetings lead to a toxic culture.
    05:15 Empower employees, listen, learn, and succeed.
    07:08 Navigating the choice to improve or accept a bad workplace situation.
    09:54 Responding to constructive criticism as a leader.
    12:04 Impact of implementing pre-shift meetings
    13:45 Recapping the art of effective meetings
    Resources
    The Cockerell Academy
    About Lee Cockerell
    Mainstreet Leader
    Dealing with Bad Meetings
    One way to create a toxic environment and drive away talent is to lead with a “my way or the highway” style. Recently a listener reached out with a question about dealing with bad meetings. The meetings she mentions are so bad that employees now call their meetings the “you suck meeting.” This term was coined by employees frustrated by the negative and authoritarian style of their morning meetings. Unfortunately, culture issues like this can develop in any workplace if leadership doesn't strive for positive and inclusive communication.
    If you are ever in a toxic workplace situation and are on your way out, consider writing a helpful and constructive note. Let leadership know the impact of their approach. They may not even realize how their actions are driving away good employees. Workplace information delivered the right way can spark change. On the flip side, if you are staying in a workplace with a toxic culture you are going to have to face a hard truth. You either deal with the environment or start looking for a better one.
    Leaders need to pay attention. Creating a toxic atmosphere drives away talent. When an employee gives feedback it is important to be open to it. When you create an environment where people feel included in meetings you are less likey to get to a point where your meetings are no longer deemed effective. There are two essential questions to include in your next pre-shift meeting. What do I need to know to help you do a better job? What do you want to be working on? Empower your team through involvement and support.
    If you want to be average, let it go. If you want to be great, everything matters. Aim for greatness. And remember that every detail counts.
    To make sure you have a great vacation make sure you reach out to Magical Vacation Planners. Let them plan your next vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.

    • 14 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
430 Ratings

430 Ratings

JamieAne MVP ,

It’s never too late to get better.

Lee’s views on leadership are easy to follow and implement. It’s not complicated to do the right thing and I love how his podcasts remind us of this. We over complicate things. Thanks Lee and Jody for a great podcast.

A. Maguire ,

Leadership, Life Lessons, Legendary

Be the type of Leader Lee and Jody would hire

I listen to two to four episodes a week depending how long it takes me to digest the episodes but this is not a bingeing podcast it’s a learning podcast. Maybe not every lesson applies to you but the ones that do Really do.

Dave W. 1 ,

Master Class in Business Wisdom

If you listen to this podcast and seriously apply the principles at the work place, you will have employees and managers that work well together and respect one another. Lee and Jody basically provide an MBA in Leadership if you listen to it and use it everyday. Lee has great stories on the why and how things were done at Disney to make it so special to the guests and cast members. Jody is a great guide to get you through the episode and to get Lee to explain his experiences. Thank you to both of you for a great podcast in business.

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