Learn how to effectively provide excellent management training to help grow your business by finding the right employees. This course is taught by Lee Cockerell, the man who once managed over 40,000 people at Walt Disney World® Resort.Sign Up to Watch
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-Now, I want to tell you one last story. We could talk about this managment training all day long because it's something you can talk about a lot. We read in the paper every day the failures of leadership and management training.
People don't trust leaders today because of their behavior. They don't do what they say they're going to do. They don't follow up. They promise a lot of things, don't do what they say. They want you to do it, but they don't do it.
It's a big problem, failure in leadership, so we could talk about this for a week-- a lot of material on this, and I think a lot about it every day. But I can tell you what, leadership shows up when you least expect it. It's all around you, and I told the group last week my wife got sick back in a '08.
She has diverticulitis. It's an infection of the intestinal tract, the colon. She usually takes antibiotics, it clears up. Her mother and dad have it. It's genetic, it runs in the family. And then she came to me in '08. She'd been not feeling good for about a month, and was taking antibiotics, but not getting a lot better.
She said, take me to the emergency room. It was a Sunday afternoon. She said, my stomach's really hurting. In 10 minutes, we were at the emergency room.
By the time we got there, she couldn't sit in a chair. She was on the floor. I mean she was in excruciating pain. They took her in and did a CAT scan and found two abscesses on her colon-- two infections.
She was in the hospital 14 days to clear it up. We went home, everything's cool, got exercising again, life's good, and her doctor says, you know, Priscilla, you need to have a piece of your sigmoid colon removed. It's right in here, take a piece out, put it back together, bingo, everything'll be good. Because you're going to keep having this problem.
We scheduled that for August 6, '08. We went in and had the surgery. It was 3 and 1/2 hours. She was in hospital five days. I took her home. In 10 or 12 hours, I had her back in the emergency room. She was in pain.
She doesn't even remember that day today, and we called the doctor. He said, go to the hospital. We got there, checked in, but couldn't get a room because they had no rooms.
We weren't in the emergency room because we didn't come in through that way, and we're stuck in a hallway for six hours outside. One doctor finally gave her an IV. He said he wasn't supposed to do this because it wasn't official, but he did. 7 o'clock, we got in a room. By then, she sleeping.
The doctor comes in and examines her and says, her vital signs are all really strong. They're good, and she's asleep. I'm sure she's fine, Lee, why don't you go on home? We'll do a CAT scan. They did a CAT scan, and the first good leader showed up.
At 11 o'clock, before he went to bed that night, he pulled it up on his home screen. He could have gone to bed without looking at it. He didn't, and saw that her bowel was leaking into her organs because that first surgery had failed, but rushed her into emergency surgery.
He told me later she was within an hour of dying, and they did surgery. She woke up seven days later on a ventilator with a colostomy bag, a wound vac she had to wear for five months. She was in bad shape-- stayed in the hospital 21 days, had to put her on a feeding bag because the antibiotics were making her nauseated, so she wasn't eating. Her protein level went down so low, she gained 40 pounds of edema. It was a nightmare.
We finally went home because she said, get me out of here. They're going to kill me in here. Take me home. We got home, I had nurses come 24 hours a day to take of her, [INAUDIBLE] antibiotics. 10 days later, we're back at the hospital. She's got fluid around their lungs now, drains in her. She had more drains coming in and out of her.
Got through that-- ended up 64 days in the hospital-- $700,000 bill. Disney paid-- magical. That was a close one. I'm glad I still had Disney insurance. They wish I'd Blue Cross Blue Shield, but I didn't. And so this went on like that.
I had to take care of her. It went on for 18 months. She couldn't get out of bed. I had our house set up with a nurse, hospital bed, the whole-- she couldn't get out of bed. She couldn't wash her hair. She couldn't take shower. She couldn't go to the bathroom.
She couldn't do anything. Half her hair had fallen from the anesthesia. Let me tell you, when you've got a wife with hair falling out and a colostomy, you've got a problem. She was not a good patient. She was a total pain, actually, and I had to get her up every morning and make her walk to get her stronger.
She didn't want to get up, so I was the bad guy, but I didn't care. I made her get up, and I had a route in the house-- 20 laps with her walker. Three times a day would be a mile, and she started lying to me. I need you to talk to her. She lied.
She said, I did 20. I said, you didn't do 20. You didn't even do 10. I said OK, that's it. I set up a toll booth in the hallway.
I gave her 20 playing cards. I said when I get 20 back, you go by here 20 times, you get to go back to bed. So I had a system in place-- a process, a procedure, training.
-Then I had to get five Ensure protein drinks down her a day. She needed 60 grams of protein to heal. And she hated them. I had to keep an eye on her. She was like a child. She'd pour them out. Throw them out. And I made her drink them. And I'm very compulsive, so I made sure every ounce went down her. And man, we went through-- it was a tough time. It was really tough. And slowly but surely she got better. And them she's all healed. Everything's fine, except she's still got the colostomy.
The bag. And here's where the second good leader-- we finally had the courage to say, let's have another surgery, take it down. And that's a big-- because it could happen again. Could be another problem. And you get scared. We went to see a doctor. His name's Paul Williamson. This is the second great leader in our lives. Let me tell you. The first time we met him, my wife's file was this thick. You know what he said when he came in the room?
He said Priscilla, you're going to be just fine. You're the kind of patient I love to fix. You talk about relief when you hear those words. You're going to be fine. We left that day, both of us feeling better physically and mentally. Three weeks later, just because of the confidence of the leader and the delivery. That's why it's good to know what you're doing and be confident and say it. We did the surgery three months later. It was 8 and 1/2 hours.
And she came out not one single problem. And I said Paul, why did it take so long? You said it would be four hours. He said, because I did everything I said I was going to do. And tell your wife I gave her a free tummy tuck.
That's what he said. Tell her I got her a free tummy tuck. And I said, well, that's something. You don't get anything free at Disney.
That's unbelievable. And she was perfect after that. Now I think about him all the time. He's a good friend today. Third good leader. So my whole life, I've done a lot of things. I've opened 100 hotels for Marriott. Very stressful, opening hotels. I opened Euro Disney. We were losing a million dollars a day after we opened. You talk about stress. Came back to Disney World in '93 right in a recession. Had to start cutting costs and making all kinds of changes.
And then I had to deal with 9/11, evacuation, taking care of all those guests. And then three hurricanes in one month in September. I run the command center there. I mean nothing bothers me.
I'm tough. I told you. I grew up. I had a tough place down there on that farm. I had a tough life. None of it bothers Lee. What do you think happened to me going through this? Anybody got an idea? I was telling this-- usually one guy yelled out, he said, you had a heart attack? I said nah, I work out every day. I'm fit. Some of the other guys said, you start using cocaine. I said no, but I wish I'd have thought about it--
Because that was like a-- if I'd have known where to get it, I might have. I had to go find that homeless guy. Let me tell you what. I was in bad shape. And I ended up with anxiety and depression like you can't believe. I mean I was 65 when it happened. I'd never been depressed a day in my life ever. Nothing bothers me. But boy, I tell you, when you go through a personal tragedy, it eats you alive. First it's the business work when you think your child is going to die or your wife or your husband or-- and that really got me.
So I finally-- you talk about the third good leader. I found this great psychiatrist. He interviewed me for one hour. He knew I was crazy.
He said, Lee, you're going to be just fine. You know what those words sound like? Maybe when somebody is having a problem their life and they talk to you. You're going to be fine, because I'm going to stay with you till we fix this, no matter what. You can call me. He said, you're suffering from situational depression. I'm going to put you on Cymbalta, which I'd seen on TV. Now I found out everything I see on TV I'm taking now.
I said Cymbalta, Lipitor, Flomax, all those. If you're not taking them, you will be. Don't worry.
I mean, it was unbelievable. He said in seven weeks you're going to wake up fine. He said, you got a chemical problem in your brain. Serotonin's been depleted. You just take them. I took them for seven weeks. I woke up and it was all over. Everything was back to normal. And that was three years ago. My wife's fine. I'm fine. But let me tell you what-- I think all the time about those three people-- doing their jobs, being good leaders, being good managers, being technical experts who really knew what they were doing.
They were good leaders. The psychiatrist gave me his home phone number, his cell number. He said you can call me 24/7 while you're going through this. You have any side effects, I'll be there for you. How many people do that, when you think about it? Half the people are unlisted. You'd think somebody's chasing them around. Unlisted phone numbers, nobody can reach you. I think about those three a lot. They really saved our lives and in many-- I mean, they really saved our lives. And emotionally they really saved our lives.
And I think a lot about them every day. And I think I would say to you all, you can be those same people. You have chances every day to be that person for somebody. You may not be a doctor. Maybe it's being there for somebody, being available. Letting people call you whenever they have a problem. People don't abuse that. And sometimes you may never get a call. Just knowing you can-- let me tell you-- just knowing you can reach somebody.
-And you could be that leader. And make sure you don't underestimate that, as you go out. Don't underestimate the impact you make as volunteers. It's not a light thing. It's a heavy thing.
You can get deeper into being a great volunteer. You might be a good one now. You could be a great one, moving yourself up a level. Make an impact on people's lives.
Because I guarantee you, they're walking through that door. They're walking through that door every day. And a lot of people don't have family anymore. They don't have families paying attention. They don't live here. Their kids live somewhere else. They don't have anybody to talk to. Who knows? They lost their spouse, going through a tough time.
So think about that, because I know at the end of the day, I say, the good thing that came out of this. Well, first of all, I think-- when I think back about it, I told my wife after it was all over, I said, Priscilla you know, I used to love you. She was tough, patient. But I really am madly in love with you now. I was pretty sure you were going to die. And I worried everyday who was going to take care of me after you've died. She looked at me and said, Lee, many days I wanted to kill you too.
And we got through it. We got through it. And literally, I said, we'd have probably got a divorce. We're just too tired. We just didn't have enough energy.
Because going through it all the way is hard. That was the hardest thing I've ever done. And I thought I'd done some hard things in my life. But being there for people is hard. And especially when you get sick too.
After I gave this speech here the other day, a lady came up to me, said, I've been taking care my husband for 17 and 1/2 years. She said, I don't think I've been very good the last five years. She said-- I could tell, she said, I've gotten sick too from it. And she needs some help. And hopefully, she'll find some help where people will be there, or help her, or relieve her, or whatever kind of opportunities church would have to help a person like that.
Because I know what she went through. I ended up sicker than my wife. Talk about the strain on the health care system, I mean, that's what happens. The caretaker, it's a big problem.
And so at the end, I got the big payoff. You know what the big payoff was, out of all of this for being a good leader, being there for my wife, probably saving her life, sticking it out? My son stepped up too. He's a better man than I am. I didn't have this relationship with my mother. He came and took her. He gave her showers. He washed her hair. He took her to the bathroom. I couldn't have done that.
And but the big payoff, you know what he said to me one day when it was all over? He said, Dad, I want to tell you something. You left a legacy in this family. We were watching how you took care of mom.
I think about that a lot. What legacy are you going to leave in your family? What legacy are you going to leave in this church? What legacy are you going to leave in your company? Your neighborhood? Your community? It's huge. You have the opportunity to do it. And it actually tastes better than anything else.
When my son said that, that was the biggest payoff I got. Right there, I knew that was the key. I had influenced him. He said, we've already talked about it in our family, how we're going to handle a tragedy when it arrives. And it will arrive. And that role modeling and doing the right thing makes impact. So I hope each one of you will think about going out, being a better volunteer, being a better neighbor, being better at work, being better with your people, making them better, and making a big difference in your life.
So thank you for inviting me. It's great to be back here. Thank you very much.
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