RED 133: Disney’s Business Secrets

Listen to the Episode Below (00:30:23)

Feature-image133Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort. As the Senior Operating Executive for 10 years, Lee led a team of 40,000 employees and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping and entertainment village, and the ESPN sports and recreation complex in addition to the ancillary operations which supported the number one vacation destination in the world.

One of Lee’s major and lasting legacies was the creation of Disney Great Leader Strategies which was used to train and develop the 7000 leaders at Walt Disney World. Lee has held various executive positions in the hospitality and entertainment business with Hilton Hotels for eight years and the Marriott Corporation for 17 years before joining Disney in 1990 to open the Disneyland Paris project.

I talked with him about the secret behind Disney, how to hire (and manage) great employees, and the future of business…

What You’ll Learn:

  • 3 things Disney looks for in prospective employees
  • Why 25% of prospective employees quit Disney before starting (and why Disney wants it this way)
  • How to manage 40,000 employees
  • Best hiring practices (to get the best employees)
  • The #1 thing Disney looks for in prospective employees
  • How to become the President of Disney
  • A hiring mistake most people are making… Are you?
  • Why employees will stick with you
  • Regret hiring somebody? The process of weeding out bad employees…
  • “No Beards At Disney World” — Why this was and why the rule was changed…
  • Don’t underestimate these three things…
  • Why “little things” matter (and how far the President of Disney goes in this philosophy)
  • The importance of “doorknobs” at Disney World
  • Work with parents? Want to make them happy? Do this.
  • The safest zip code in America
  • Why Disney interviews 2,000,000 guests per year (and the questions they ask)
  • Two questions you should ask your customers
  • A secret club with a 20-year waiting list? Yes…
  • How quickly can change come to a large organization like Disney?
  • A mistake made at Disneyland Paris (which was corrected within a week after opening)
  • What makes people work hard for you
  • The secret to longevity

What We Talk About:

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