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This business coaching episode is about the importance of hiring employees who have high energy.

Results-Focused Training, Tools, and Workshops from Expert Business Coaches.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 1
  • Lesson Nugget: Great service starts at the top and follows the law of gravity.
  • Lesson Nugget: Greatness comes from focusing on the basics, and those basics don't change with time or technology.
  • "If your mom would be okay with it, it's probably okay to do." - Lee Cockerell
  • Lesson Nugget: Your main job, if you are the boss, is to be an "ecologist". You have to study and take care of the environment/culture of your company.

team management for business not taught at university of phoenix, small business management


-Now, in your book, you talked about great service follows gravity.


-What does that mean?

-The Chapter was "Great Service Follows the Law of Gravity." It all starts at the top. Your company is going to be as good as you want it to be. They're going to be as good as you want them to be.

And it goes downhill. Your children are going to be good because the parents-- it goes down. You don't blame these people down here. If you got poor service in a restaurant, it started up here. It didn't start down there.

-It's starts up here.

-It flows down, baby.

-Buck stops here.

-Absolutely. We see it.

-Yeah. You know, one of the things I noticed when I was growing our companies is that when I would get on the phone and tell the customer, I apologize. It's my fault. I accept responsibility for you having an issue.

It's obviously my fault. What can I have done-- in your mine, what could I have done better? I found a lot of times, it made, one, the employees respect the situation more. Two, it made the customer--

-They saw you do it.

-Yeah. But I remember how uncomfortable-- because when you start a business, you start to think, well things would be good if just you people-- if you people would get it together, we would be fine.

And then you start realizing-- my wife was like, honey, I think, you are allowing you people. Like, it's actually your fault.

-We are them.

-Yeah, we are them.

-We always say, those people. We are them.

-OK. Now, one of the things you talked about a little bit is not getting bored with the basics and having a daily routine. What do you mean by that?

-See, for me, the basics of life-- if I had to just spout them out, friendliness, cleanliness, kindness, empathy, being available for people, telling people the truth, training. Nothing to do with technology, these are just basic principles, which will never change.

Technology may change in the next 100 years a lot, but these principles and small business management trainings-- having good relationships with people, trusting people, people trusting you because you have real basics, honesty, ethics.


-And I guarantee you, every day as a parent, if you teach your kids the basics, that's what's going to make them successful, not where they go to college. I don't care if they go to a local junior college, don't got to college. If they know the basics, they're gonna be successful.

-Or in your case, they didn't graduate from college.


Right. In my case, I didn't graduate from college. But if you can learn these principles, you can have success, even if you don't graduate.

Yeah, you grew up in my family, you better not be lying. You better be honest. This is Oklahoma too.


-Yeah. And I learned those things from my grandmother. Tell the truth. And we see it every day. People get in trouble, not for what they, but because they lie.

-Well, it kind of leads in here to the next question I had her for you. It's, you said, in your book, you need to ask yourself-- what would Mom do? What does that mean?

-I always think about, that was always a good one, because would you like-- would it be OK for your mother to know everything you did and everything you said every day. How you spoke to somebody, something inappropriate you did, would you like your mom to know that? Would she be proud of you for that.

And I thought about that a lot, when I was back there and that manager was scared because Lee Cockerell is coming to town. Would my mom like that? And Mother, wouldn't-- well, she'd have talk with you.

Don't do that, Lee. That's not the way you treat people. And I was just think, if your mom would be OK with it, it's probably OK to do it.

-I like that. I like that phrase because I know, as a Christian, I have a certain perspective. And some people where those bracelets that say, "What would Jesus do?"

And I think-- but everybody, regardless of your face, could agree and could understand the idea. What would mom do?

-You know, in the UK, they printed my book. And it's, what would Mum do?


-And instead of trash, it's rubbish.

-So everyone can relate to it, regardless of what culture you're in.

-What would Mum do, every language.

-Now, it says here--

-By the way, mothers are different than fathers. You ever see a professional player when he says, him Mom on the TV.

-Yeah. Have you ever heard them say, hi, Dad-- very seldom, maybe Tiger Woods. Hi, Mom. Mother's Day, millions of more people go out to dinner on Mother's Day than Father's Day.

-What's that all about? Come on. You know, now, as far as-- you said here, "be an ecologist."


-What does that mean?

-I decided that was my job at Disney. It wasn't to worry about security or transportation. I had experts doing that. I told people, I was the chief environmentalist, I was the ecologist.

They said, what's that mean? I said, I woke up every morning and thought about how I could use my position, my authority to create an environment and a culture where everybody wakes up in the morning and knows they matter. They want to come to work. They feel proud. Create the culture and environment.

-Let's say, you're at Disney, and there's five people working in this restaurant. In Disney, there's a lot of different themed restaurants. And there's one guy that just has a bad attitude. So he's kind of ruining your ecosystem.

-He's polluting.

-How would you deal with that guy?

-Well, he would get better or get gone.


-He'd be like a car that's smoking out of the tailpipe. We fix the car or yeah.

-And you said, at Disney, you want to be happy or else.

-Yeah, well, you don't have to be happy, because we sell happiness. You've got to be professional or else too, Frank, by the way. I'm sure you've got a lot of problems. But when you come to work, you've gotta be a professional. That's all.

And I think people don't understand that we all contribute to every environment we walk into, whether it's a hotel. Or if I walk into Starbucks, I can make the environment better by me


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Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 2
  • Lesson Nugget: Depending on the job function, screen for "energy level" of the applicant. If it's someone that is going to deal with customers, you need high energy people.
  • Lesson Nugget: Your employees are more likely to stay high energy if they feel respected, are proud of the company they work for, and feel there is hope to continue to grow in their position
  • Lesson Nugget: While you are on the job, dress the part. Otherwise, dress for the job you want to have, not necessarily the job you currently have.
  • Life Tip: To receive top notch service, always pretend to be John Travolta.

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-How did you process people that brought low energy to a room?

-Yeah, I worry about low energy people. Actually, we screen for low energy and high energy now when we hire people who are going to face the guest-- not so much in the back. They got to have a big personality.

-You actually, I mean, that's something you look for.

-Because the energy is about can you hold it all day?


-If you and I sit here and talk for 12 hours, can I keep it up at the 12th hour?


-Or am I going oh, man, I can't answer these questions. I'm tired, you know? Why are you giving me so many questions? I didn't expect this. You know?

Or you just keep going. It's like the end of the basketball game, that's when they're won and lost, right? If you let down right at the end, that's when you lose-- that last shot.

-At Disney, did you work with a lot of low energy people?

-Not many. I don't know if you noticed yesterday, even those ladies that didn't want us to be there?


-I asked them. They love it. They're never going to leave, ever. They were so excited to say they work for Disney.

There's a high energy, because there's a high pride. They're being respected and they know they have a future. And they'd probably move up and get into management.

-I think there's this huge thought. I want to dwell on this just for a second, because as an ecologist, one of the things I've discovered is in a lot of small businesses, I see it all the time where you have a call center, or you have a restaurant, and the owner has decided to hire a bunch of low energy people. Now, when they hire low energy people, it wears the customer out having to deal with someone that's low energy. And so in your mind, that messes with the ecosystem right?

-It does. And you know what I tell people? You ever call someplace and they answer the phone, hello. And then they find out it's John Travolta on the other line. Oh, hello! How are you, sir? I'd love to meet-- they change because of who it is instead of always.

Good morning! Hope you have a magical day today! This is Disney! Not, good morning. What do you want?

-See, that's not taught at all.

-Some people don't even tell me their name when they answer the phone. Hi, this is Judy. Can I take care of you today?

-So having a high energy. You also are mindful of the attitudes of the team.

-Absolutely. It's in your voice! Your attitude's in your voice.

-Now, as far as managing this overall ecosystem, one of the things you wrote in your book, which I think is phenomenal but I think we need a lot more clarity from you today on what this means-- "look sharp." What does it mean to look sharp? Maybe articulate what look? Just go for it. What does it mean to not look sharp? What does it mean to look sharp?

-This is the one where I really abuse a lot of people.

-Go for it.

-Everybody's mad in the room after, and I apologize to the parents for talking about their children. You got to look like the part. And you know, I tell people, if you want to know how to look professionally, look on the annual report of a company. And look at the board of directors-- how they are dressed, how they look, how their hair looks. And you will see, this is what successful people look like... small business management.

People say, but I want to be my own person. OK, fine. But it's going to hurt if you're too weird, because America's a conservative business place.

-If you're too weird? OK, so let's get into it. Let's just work from the head down, OK?


-If I want to work in a business and become successful, you say to dress the part. Hair-- how does the hair need to be?

-Well, I think it depends. If you're an artist and you're in Hollywood, it can be any way you want it. If you're working at Disney, it's going to be short and it's going to be clear about how long. There's clarity.

I guarantee you, Chick-fil-A has an appearance standard. They all look alike. And if you're a photographer out there and it doesn't matter, maybe that's OK. It just depends what you're doing for a living and what you want to do for a living, and start looking like what you want to be.

-You got to dress the part.

-Look like what you want to be. Look

-Like like what you want to be.

-So when I go in to work for Marriott, I look and see how Mr. Marriott looks and what he wears, what kind of suit, ties, shirts. Because, you know, it's unfortunate you can't be your own person. If you're in your own business, you can do whatever you want.

-But you want to look like the part you want, not the role you currently have, right?

-I want to look like people that everybody would come in and feel good about the way I look.

Featured Coaching Excerpt - Notes & Transcript, Part 3
  • Lesson Nugget: If you want to be successful, you will have to dress like successful people.
  • "Start acting like the job you want 10 years from now." - Lee Cockerell
  • Lesson Nugget: Whether it's fair or not, people WILL judge you based on your appearance and assume you fit the stereotype of people that look like you.

small business managementwith Lee Cockerell

-So let's say you don't want to do that. You want to have long hair, and you want to have piercings, and you want to have tattoos, a lot of your customers are fine with that. Young people come in a lot. But what about the ones who are not fine with it, like the older ladies.

-Here's a story. I still have little holes here, but I used to have double hoop earrings. And I used to always not dress up, never wore a tie, never dressed up. And when customers would want to meet me for meetings, I would suggest that we met at McDonald's, because that's what was familiar to me.

And I didn't know there was the thing that's called an office, or you could meet at Panera Bread, and people would reject me all the time. The mothers of the bride who could spend thousands of dollars on their wedding would never book me, and I couldn't figure it out. I thought my packages are good, I have a good price--

-You were weird.

CLAY CLARK: I was weird, yeah.

-You're the kind of guy that'd do something to their daughter. And when I think about it, when you all arrived yesterday, it took me back. I was surprised everybody was dressed.


-I didn't expect that. And I liked it. Priscilla was telling somebody on the phone last night, these guys are really sharp. She said, in fact, I thought there were four Mormon boys coming in. They were so clean and cut, and looked nice, and first impression. We didn't know you. In fact, I forgot I hadn't met you, because you look exactly as when we had the Skype call.

-I always dress the same.

-So is that important?


-It was positive. If you had shown up back then, I might not have let you in. You had the earrings, and [INAUDIBLE]. And it's unfortunate, because a lot of young people-- I had a guy working for me, a VP. Professional football player. Rich and I laughed a lot about it. Big tattoo right here. We don't allow tattoos, but he ran the ESPN Sports Complex, so he wanted to wear short sleeved shirts, because they all wear those shirts over there in the sports company, but I wouldn't let him.

So finally, we had it out, and we finally got to a place where he could put makeup on it and wear a short-sleeved shirt, because there's makeup for different skin colors, or wear a long-sleeved shirt. Because he can't do, if we won't let everybody do it. And we can't have a tattoo that says, I hate mankind, or swastika on your neck.

-Only God can judge me. That's my favorite one on the neck. Only God can judge me.

-Hell, there you go. And I know this is so sensitive to people, and I know when I say this in the speeches, I just cringe at the people out there saying I hate this guy for saying that.

-Because I know, I know your heart, and I know we've talked about it, you never want to be a bigot. But one of the things I deal with is like right now, we've got this piece of paper, and if I pick it up and I drop if, it's the law of gravity. And I can get mad about it, that's just the law of gravity.

-Hey, I don't care if you have a piercing. You just got to take them out when you come to work. We have a lot of people that have tongue piercing, ears--

-But I guess what I'm saying is--

-Cover it up.

- --correct me if I'm wrong here, but just like the law of gravity, and you drop this, The same thing is if I have a tattoo on my head, like Mike Tyson does on my face, just like the law of gravity, when I drop this, it falls, the law of first impressions are that I have an immediate impression of Mike Tyson, whether it's fair or not.

-Whether it's fair or not.

-And whether it--


Life's not fair, but if you want to be successful, get over it.

-Do you have anywhere where you've written anything about Lee Cockerell's keys to professional appearance? Because I'm just telling you this. Even having dress socks, wearing colored socks and not wearing white socks with dress shoes. These are things I was not taught growing up, so I want to go through real quick just how Lee Cockerell suggests that one dresses, just so that we can have it, because I think this is something that people need to hear. There's a lot of 18, 20 year olds watching this too that don't know.

-I'll have to get the book out, but I have a book this thick. It's Disney parents guidelines.

-Oh my gosh. See, that's gold.

-It's earring could be no larger than a dime for women, because their in cost-- I mean you can't. Costumed cast members playing a role, like Cinderella, they can't wear any-- I mean they wear whatever Cinderella wears.

Disney has changed a few things over the years. You couldn't have a mustache. We changed that a few years ago, because how we decided what they could do was we showed the photographs to the guest, and we'd do have cast members in there.

And so we show them a picture of cast members with tattoos, and they'd say no, no, no. We'd show them with really long hair. No, no, no. We'd show them pictures with mustaches, they didn't have any reaction. It was fine. So we went to the next step. They enlarged the earring a little bit.

Women used to have to wear hose, then we found out it's not an issue. Recently, you can now have a mustache and goatee, quarter of an inch. And we found out guests, it's a cultural issue, it's accepted now... small business management.

-But you're always dressing for the part that you want to have. But there's certain jobs you can't have, because you're playing a role in fantasy land, and a mark.

-But it's easy for Disney, I mean it's easy sometimes to be able to go, well at Disney it's easy, but I guess I'm saying as a DJ, if I want to become the most successful entertainer in Tulsa, I need to dress like it. If I want to become the most successful insurance agent, I need to dress like it. If I want to work my way up the corporate ladder, I need to dress like the role I want to have. I say start acting like the job you want 10 years from now. That's the best route to get to it. Start looking like the manager before you're the


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