As the largest single site employer in the world with 59,000 employees, 25,000 acres of land, 32 hotels with 31,000 rooms, and a 167 miles of roadway, Disney World Orlando VP of Operations, Lee Cockerell, understands leadership at its highest level. He shares his vast insight and know-how in “Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney.”
A book that will undoubtedly help me improve my business practices, I was disappointed with two things in this book. First, Mr. Cockerell’s treatment of others. He admits in Chapter 1 that he “learned through painful lessons how to treat everyone with respect and dignity.” Really? Wow! I’m thinking to myself, “I thought that was a given.” Common sense, even. But as the saying goes, Common sense isn’t always common knowledge. Okay, enough with the judgement. Let’s move on to my second gripe. The title says 10 strategies when there are actually 106 strategies that are all in bullet point format. This made me want to rush through the book as it sometimes felt like a boring lecture. Boring as it may have been, I stayed the course and was able to take away 5 very powerful messages from Mr. Cockerell that will undoubtedly take my business to another level. Hopefully, they can help you too.
- “COACH — care, observe, act, communicate, help.”
No one remembers their trainer, but everyone remembers their coach.
- “Don’t just learn things that relate to your current position. Acquire an understanding of your whole business and the industry it’s in.”
I am a self-employed coach that must think like an entrepreneur in order to be successful. Acquiring business skills is mandatory. I have to be knowledgeable not just about coaching, but about fitness, psychology, and health in general.
- “A leader’s job is to do what has to be done, in the way it should be done, whether you like it or not.”
Not everyone is a good fit for this business. Get rid of toxic people. Learn to say, “no.”
- “Human beings everywhere are basically the same. We’re all trying to have decent lives and to make things better for our families, and we’re all proud of our cultures and countries.”
Don’t try to bring people into your world. Get into their world.
- “Understand the needs, wants, stereotypes, and emotions your customers bring to their interactions with your organization.”
Spend time reading books about behavioral psychology and learn how it applies to the people you serve.
I probably would have rated this book higher if it wasn’t so lengthy and if I wasn’t immediately turned off by Cockerell’s lack of respect for others. However, I do appreciate his writing and admire Walt Disney’s vision and all that his organization has been able to accomplish.
What do you think, readers?