Without a great team you cannot build a great business. Learn how to hire just like Disney World from the man who once managed its 40,000 plus cast members.Sign Up to Watch
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-I know a lot of times in your career you probably had to bump heads with people. You probably had somebody who wasn't willing to do their job. You probably had somebody over here in charge of this department that just wasn't getting it together. And you probably had to let some people go. Is it reason to let somebody go if they're not able to create that culture you're looking for?
-Absolutely. If they're not part of the team, this is what happens in professional sports. Guy's got a lot of skill, but he then comes to work, doesn't come to practice, he fights with the coach. You see it all the time. And yeah. And they need to move out because they're going to infect the whole place. And it's, yeah. We deal with those issues. Especially the higher you go, you got to be more of a team player and less ambitious to a fault.
-How did you find the right people? Where did you find these people? I know there's 40,000 of them. But how did Disney go about finding them? I guess if you were making a pie chart of where all the employees came from, where did the employees come from?
-45% or 50% come from other employees bringing great people in because they won't bring people that aren't good in.
-Great people attract great people.
-They bring their cousin, they bring their neighbor, they bring people who they know will come to work on time, who will do a good job. So half of our staffing comes from our own employees. And the other half is we just got an unbelievable reputation. So we get way more applications than we need. So we can hire one out of 10.
-So if I own a hair salon and I have 10 professionals working for me. 10, not thousands, but 10. How do you recommend that I go out and find top talent?
-Well, if you need the skill level because you've got to be certified, you've got to have a license to cut hair. Then you got to be at the right trade shows, you got to be at the right events where these people hang out. You may have to be at the bar where they all go after work and get to know them. You've got to meet people. Somebody told me at Disney once, a kid told me, you know, it's not fair here. You've got to know somebody to get ahead. I said, you are correct. Get to know people. This is how real life works. I told my son when he went to college, sit on the front row in every class. Show up for class, and tell the professor he's doing a good job. That's how real life works. That's how real life works. He'll give you a higher grade.
-Would you agree that the statement of, it's been said a lot by a lot of the Thrive mentors, it's who you know and what you know that determines where you go?
-Sure, people got to know who you are. When all things are equal, you and somebody else are applying for a job and you and I know each other well, I'm going to pick the person I know. Now if you're just a mess and he's great, I'll pick you. We feel more comfortable with people we know. We've seen their performance, we've observed their performance. We know about, we've checked them out.
-Well, half of your employees came from, they were recruited from other employees. Did you incentivize that in any way financially?
-We did, actually. They get paid for that.
-OK, so how does that work?
-They got, like, $150, I think. And we kept track of that. And at the end of the year we have a big award for all the people who have hired at least five people.
LEE COCKERELL: Brought five people in.
-How long does my friend have to stick around for me to get my check?
-I think it was six months at least.
-So if my friend sticks around for six months, I get $150?
-Yeah, and you get, because we found out if people stay six months, they really stay. If they stay 90 days, they may still leave. So we had, it was a trophy and a dinner and a check.
-Why do you believe that small-business owners today struggle so mightily attracting top talent?
-They're probably not looking for it. And they're probably just satisfied to have people who are mediocre in their business. And it's a lot of work to go out and get a new person. Somebody knows how to press the clothes even though they come to work late every day. You know, it's, gosh.
-Gosh, I have to replace him.
-Yeah, so they just have low expectations, and they have low standards. And eventually it eats away at them. Now they're working seven days a week because this person's messing it up. And it eventually bites you. If you don't go for excellence back here, it bites you down here.
-Well, I would say this. This was something that a mentor of mine had brought up to me. He said, if you are not willing to create an emergency now, where you let go of somebody who just can't pull their weight, you will have emergencies down the road, but they'll never end. Like if you'll have the emergency right now to let someone go who is just not able to--
-Yeah. That's where I say to people, if you're not working on the hard things every week, you're not working on the right things. You've got to have hard things every day.
-Not easy things. You know why people don't work on hard things? Because they're hard. You know? And there's emotion. People cry and get upset. And it might be your brother-in-law you hired into your business or your sister-in-law, with a lot of the small companies you're talking about. Be careful what family members you bring in. It's harder to get them out than it is to get them
Are you looking for small business ideas?
-Now let me ask you this here. With a typical small business, and expectations. Setting those expectations. You guys at Disney have uncompromisingly high expectations. And I would argue that in business, people vote with their dollars. And so if they don't like the business, they just cast a vote and go somewhere else.
How did you set those high expectations? I mean, how did you find people that were willing to-- I guess two questions. Is one is, how did you find people willing to go for those high expectations? And then two, I mean, how did you hold them accountable to those expectations?
-Well, I think the pride issue is one. Creating pride that I work for Disney. People love to say they work for Disney. They like to go home in their neighborhood and say who do you work for? Disney. Oh man, everybody. So we're lucky. We got a brand where people are very proud,
-And we also, we're very clear with our expectations. Clarity is the big thing You know if somebody said give me one word that explains communication, that word is clarity.
-You're going to find out with your kids. Clarity . Be home at 11. Clarity. Do you understand what I just told you? 11. Clarity. So when you're clearer with your expectations up front and you set it up right, people know what they're getting into. Actually, we're so clear in the interviewing process that 25% of the people leave after they hear what we want and don't fill out the application.
-Twenty-five percent of people leave when they hear you explain your expectations.
-We explain the expectations around personal appearance, professionalism, being on time to work, on and on and on. And 25% decide not to fill out an application. Clarity is a good thing. It's a powerful thing, Clay. And I ask you, you know, are you clear with your kids about your expectations for them as part of your family? Are you clear? Behavior.
Are you going to be clear with them as they get older, about your name is the same as their name and your expectations for their education, and their expectations for their behavior, and their expectation? You will. Because parents, that's the highest expectation most people have is for their children. High expectations. And the higher your expectations, the higher the performance.
You know, my parents didn't have high expectations for me. So I didn't perform. My grandson, we had high expectations for our son, and he's very successful. He has huge expectations for his children.
-My wife, I married my wife, and my wife you know, had a lot higher expectations than I had. And so I was thinking of, you know, this-- I'm sorry-- this mobile DJ service. And my goal was to get as many tattoos as I could. And I wanted to do the hoop earrings. And my wife's like, you gotta take the earrings out. And you can't get a tattoo, honey. You gotta-- And I thought, well, just let me be me. Don't judge me. But it seems like--
-You could do that. You just won't get hired.
-There you go.
-You could do-- As we always tell somebody, you don't have to do anything. You don't have to come to work on time. You do not have to look right. You do not have to have your name-tag on. But if you don't, you're fired. You don't have to do anything in life. Do you?
-You don't have to.
-There's just a consequence.
-There's a consequence. Your kids, when you say come home at 11, they don't have to. But you're going to deal with it.
-How important was it for you guys to, I mean, as far as these expectations, I guess what mechanisms did you guys have in place to make sure that people were hitting those expectations? You know, because you have these expectations.
And you're saying, at Disney, we're going to smile. I notice at Disney, they-- you always are smiling. So when you-- even when you park your car. And then when you hop on the train that drives you or the monorail that drives you into the park or wherever you're going. Everyone's smiling. The tour guide's smiling. How did you hold the guy accountable to be nice all the time?
-Well, I think we hire the right people. So we're already off to a good start. And we're clear with them about we expect this. And third, the managers are out and about supervising, watching, and correcting. Correcting behavior. I mean--
-Correcting? Every day, just walking around.
-On the spot. I mean, our managers are not bashful. They'll walk right over to you and say, listen.
-So if I'm kind of, "hello," they'll walk up to me and say--
-Absolutely. I mean, I'm telling you. 72,000 cast members over there today are not providing excellent service by accident.
-I always tell people Disney World is the happiest place on earth, or else. We're very clear with them. Just like your mother tells you when you're growing up-- or else. And clarity. And clarity around expectations. And I will tell you. The average person will perform if you'll set the expectation. Most of us are not clear.
-So if I-- just say I have a business right now, OK. A lot of businesses I work with, a lot of businesses I meet around the country, they have a person who's supposed to answer the phone. And phone rings. "Thank you for calling Dr. Such and Such's office." And they're supposed to read a certain script. "Thank you for calling such and such office, home of the yada yada guarantee." And that front desk man or woman just doesn't read it. How would you handle that?
-I would just speak to them. And say, listen. Do you understand? I told you when I hired you. I think you should make sure you're telling everybody all the things they've got to do before. So maybe some of them don't want to do that. And I said, listen. Is there some lack of clarity here? Did I not communicate clearly to you that we always say "Have a magical day" at Disney when we hang up the phone? Always? We never don't say, "have a magical day."
And if you want to stay here, you're going to have to do that. And if that's a problem for you, just, you know, maybe we can put you back in the storeroom, you know. But this is the requirement. This is like a script. You're in this role. This is what you say. If you want to be in the play, you've got to kick and dance. You've gotta sing better. And if you can't sing, you're out of the show. And if you can't answer the phone with high energy, and act like we're glad to hear from you.
-Do you feel bad about this? You ever go home feeling bad after correcting somebody?
-I felt worse about correcting my son when he was a young man, you know. Having those heart to heart talks. But, no. I think some of the conversations are pretty tough. When you get up to high senior executives, they're pretty emotional and tough.
But I think if you do it right, and you tell the person, you know, this is not about you. I just want you to be a better performer. Because the better you are, and I'm looking out for you, and I'm going to help you be better so you can get ahead. And you need to do these things, because it's what we do here. This is the Disney way. Not your way.
-How many hours did you spend training a new employee before they actually saw customers? I know you've written about you don't practice on the customers.
-Right. So every job has a minimum number of days. So if you're going to be cooking french fries, you might have three days training before we turn you loose.
-What about in small business, where somebody maybe has a small business that's just their wife, the husband, maybe two other employees. Four or five employees. How would you approach training there? If you were, let's say you're a hardware store owner.
-I'd probably have them follow me for a week.
-Just shadow you.
-Let me show, so they could learn the technical part of the job, where everything is and let me-- follow me when I'm dealing with customers. And then maybe after, at the end of the day, I'd say do you have any questions? What did you see?
Did you understand how I took care of a customer when they asked? How I went to the computer and looked it up for them? How I told them we'd deliver it to their house because we didn't have it? Trailing, I think. In small business, you just trail. You pick it up and you learn. And then, yeah.
-Now, Disney. I read a lot in your book about the ongoing training systems. It talks a lot about just the ongoing, almost like we're never done. It's this pursuit of excellence. We're never done training. Talk to me about the importance of ongoing training.
-I think it depends on what job. If it has anything to do with safety, we have required retraining every six months. If it's about a ride, safe ride, food handling. We re-certify people. Disney certification. If you've gone on vacation, if you've been gone more than three weeks, you have to go through retraining before you can go back on your job. Because we've got to make sure that you can operate it safely. And so ongoing training.
And I told you, probably the most effective training we have is the training where we meet with 5 to 10 minutes every morning with every staff member. Before every restaurant opens, we have a conversation. Tonight, folks, we've got Mr. So and So coming in.
-Every single shift. Five to ten minutes.
-Now here we go. I hear a lot of business owners, because to start a business, you have to be a little bit of an interesting individual. Where you're a little bit crazy, and you're willing to say I believe in my idea enough to just start a business. A lot of times they're impatient, action-oriented people.
But I have found that success comes in by doing, mastering the mundane processes. The daily diligence of doing the same processes over and over. I see a lot of business owners that might meet with their staff for one day. And then they don't for a week, and they do it for a day. They don't for a week. What kind of message does that send to your staff when you don't have daily meetings and daily diligence?
-Well, you just set it up. Because, you know, at the end of the day, management is not supposed to be exciting. It's supposed to be routine. When things are under control, they're routine. As somebody said, if you want excitement, go be a race car driver. Not a manager.
-Management is not supposed to be exciting. It's supposed to be routine.
-I don't want things getting out of control. So I have a routine. That's why I have a routine in my life. All right. Every day, 6:15, I do this. On Wednesday I go to the Magic-- routine. I go to the gym-- routine. Because routines are important in a business. Why? Because you want consistency. We open the door at 9 o'clock every morning. We put the flag up at 8:55, before we open the door. And we turn the lights on at [INAUDIBLE].
-Does it ever get boring to you? I'm just playing devil's advocate.
-Sure. It can be boring. But it's--
-Excellence gets-- is the exciting part. When you're making money and you're having customers and you're busy. And you're paying--
-See, I read that in a case study. And they talked about that that's the part that gets exciting is the excellence. So you're doing the mundane--
-It's the outcome. Yeah. When the customers say, I love this store, this is the best store. You guys are incredible. All that twelve things you did this morning before you opened? That's why it's excellent. It's not excellent by accident, I guarantee you.
-Now let me ask you this here. I've heard you say, one of your speaking events, you said "Mickey Mouse can't smoke and Cinderella can't have a tattoo on her neck." Now we live in a culture where a lot of people smoke. A lot of people have the tattoos. Could be offensive to people. I want to know what you mean by that.
-We have a policy at Disney-- no visible tattoos by anybody. Including the manager.
-We have rules around behavior and role in the show. Mickey doesn't smoke, period. If he has to smoke, he can smoke when he's off duty or when he goes home to Minnie. But you can't do it.
And we have no visible piercings. You can have them. You can have tattoos. You can put makeup on them to cover them up. You put a long sleeve shirt on. If you made the unfortunate mistake of putting it on your neck, there is make up that blends in, you could use that. You can take the piercing out of your tongue, because it's not what-- that's not our brand.
-And that's just the way it is. And you have to have your name tag on, and you have to have your shoes shined, and you have to have a haircut. And if you don't like that, go work somewhere else.
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