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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-My name is Clay Clark, and I'm the CEO of thrive15.com. But who cares? Because today, we are joined by the man with the plan, the host with the most, the guy who used to run Walt Disney World, ladies and gentlemen. This guy's name is Lee Cockerell, and he's going to be teaching us about leadership in this management training.
Let me tell you something. You can't have a shift in your company unless you have leadership. You can't grow a company. You can't start a company. You can't motivate staff. You can't get capital. You can't inspire anybody. Nothing can happen.
You just have this dormant idea that will just die on the drawing board or in your notepad if you don't have those leadership skills. And here we have one of the best leaders on the planet teaching us specifically how to lead like a boss. If I was any more excited, I would have to taser myself. So pay attention.
-I get introduced like-- I was introduced by Pastor George all the time that Lee Cockerell ran Disney World, and he was in charge of all these things. And it's true. I was responsible for it, and I ran the place for 10 years. And we have 7,000 managers, and we do about $8 billion in sales, and it's a giant place.
And I tell people-- since I retired, I tell them-- absolute truth, that I didn't even know what was going on half the time. So it's a very complex place. But what I think the church knows, and anybody, if you're in business out there today, if you don't know this, you better learn it quick. When you're smart enough to get the right people around you, you don't have to know everything.
And that is the name of the game, and that's what we do best at Disney World. It doesn't happen by accident that everybody treats you well down there. We're very selective. We're very careful who we hire. And I had the best team in the world at Disney World.
I was in charge of a lot of big organizations. Engineering, we do $750 million a year in capital projects. Some of those attractions are $100 million. Some are $150 million. Can you imagine?
Maintaining the place. There's 4,000 maintenance people at Walt Disney World, making it look like it does. That doesn't happen by accident. I had a great engineer that ran this thing. We worked together for about 13 years, and he kept it all together.
And I think about that. You know, here's an engineer reporting to me, and I didn't even graduate from college. I could barely get through adding and subtracting. And here's a guy reporting to me. So I just let him do his job. I was there for him if he needed the little things, like helping him get through the bureaucracy. I'm sure you don't have that your businesses. But he was great.
Then, I had the best retail person. We do about $1.1 billion in merchandise sales at Walt Disney World. And always ask the audience, have we got any of your money? Have we?
-All right. And I always make sure I focus in on how many of you have daughters? Now that's where you really make money. And all the men in this audience know that, because if you have a princess, princesses are very expensive. And what our goal is to get the first princess dress on them when they're young, so we've got a lot of room to keep selling.
And once you get one for $100, then you've got to have the shoes, well, you know, guys. It's a fun business. So princess business, actually, is a $3 billion business in the United States with Disney. $3 billion.
This lady runs retail. I said, you know, I go shopping, but I'm not an expert in retail. It's a very complex business also. So I make sure I let her run that business, and I'm there to support her and encourage her and make sure she doesn't quit.
I always made all my people raise their hand and promise not to quit. Because if they quit, I would be in trouble. I'd be right behind them, probably. I'd get fired. So I had a good food guy. We have 500 places to eat in Orlando, 500. It's over a billion dollar business.
We do 100 million food and beverage transactions. It's a very complex business, with food safety and being all over these kinds of things in that kind of an environment. This guy did a great job.
And somebody said to me one day, Lee, if you've got all these people running the business for you, what do you do? Let me tell you, there's where you better know the answer, in the economy and in the environment we're in today. Because if you own businesses, I'm sure you're asking that question.
What do people do for me? Why do they bring value? Why do I need them? Why don't I outsource it? Why don't I use technology instead? Why don't I do it another way? Why don't-- when somebody leaves, not replace them, because everybody's looking at their costs.
And if you're working for somebody, you better know the answer to that too, because at the end of the day, you want to bring value to the organization. And I said, well, I know what I do. I know exactly what I do at Disney World. Because I'm not an engineer, so I don't spend any time there. And I'm not a food person, I don't spend time there, or retail.
I spend my time and really, my goal there was to-- I said, I'm the chief environmentalist at Disney World. My, really, goal was to wake up in the morning, use my authority and my position to create a place where 7,000 managers and 64,000 employees, cast members, wake up in the morning and want to come to work versus have to come. Creating an environment that is so rich and so respectful, and a place where people can learn and be developed and be appreciated, and we ask their opinion, and all of those things to keep people
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-How do you create a place where everybody matters and they know they matter? You think it's important to know you matter in life? Do you think it's important for everybody to know they matter, no matter what their position in life or who they are? That's a big deal. You do this. You do this one thing, and everything gets better. Create a place where everyone matters, and they know it matters.
So, I spend my time in three areas because I know what those three areas are. First the area I spent my time in is making sure we brought the right people into the organization. That's a big deal. Be careful. I remember Pastor George talking about, you go through a culture change in a church, sometimes everybody can't stay. Some people need to move on. We call those people at Disney good people who don't fit anymore. They need to go somewhere else. Maybe down the street to that other place to work. You can decide where that is. Since I know they're filming this today, I got to be careful what I say. It can be proven.
But we're very careful. We spend a lot of time for selection, using systems to select people, interviewing processes. Even today if you want to work at Disney World, you have to go on the internet fill out a-- answer 136 questions about yourself. Because we want to who you are. We want to know how you think. We want to know if you have a big personality. So that we put you in a position where you're going to come into contact with our guests that you're an extrovert. And you want to do that. And actually, you enjoy doing that. And actually, you can take the stress of when a guest is not happy and deal with that in a pleasant way and not get defensive.
Because that's our whole reputation at Disney. We're clean and we're friendly. That's mainly what we do. And if you go around flaunting that-- and I always tell people, be careful what you say you want to be because you actually have to do it. If you say it's going to be magical, it's got to be magical. And it's got to be clean. It's got to be friendly. And it's got to make you feel good about being there with your family.
So, if you get through those 136 questions, you get to go over the casting center and fill out an application. But before you fill out the application, you get watch film about Disney expectations. And I said yesterday to everybody in this room, you could put that in your own business. Because one of the main problems we have is we're not clear enough with people when we hire them. About what we expect for performance, personal appearance, grooming, visible tattoos, piercings, and all weird hair colors.
-All those kinds of things. They can have all that at Disney, but not at work. Because we are putting on a show. And we want everybody to look a certain way and be a certain way because that's what we do. And so, you go to the casting-- and this is total clarity when you watch this film
Let me tell you what, if you want to improve your business, I can tell you right now, raise your expectations and be more clear with the people when you hire them. And make sure, just like you are with your kids. When your kids do something wrong, what do you do? When do you deal with it? Right then. You don't wait for their annual review.
-Like we do at work. We wait till the end of the year to tell everybody everything that was wrong with them. They don't even remember what's going on. Annual review are useless, by the way. Totally useless. I got in trouble at Disney all the time for saying that because we do them there. But I didn't like them. Nobody's going to work for me and find out anything-- they're going to find out right away if they do something well or if they don't do something well.
So, clarity. Clarity is a wonderful thing. Let me tell you what, if you had to define communication, there's only one word that defines communication for me. Clarity. My mother used to say that. Am I clear with you? Do you understand what I'm saying? Do any of you all have a mother like that? I tell people, I'm going to write a book someday, it's going to be called Managed Like a Mother.
-Mothers don't care if you're happy.
-They have a long term vision, mothers. That vision is for you to leave.
-They got 18 years. They've got to get working on you. So, they got to teach you to love. They love you. They build your self esteem and build your self confidence, make you believe in yourself. They make sure you can read. Because if you can't read, you can't leave.
-And mothers, just, they're tough. They tell you they love you, and then they'll kick your little read end when you don't do what you're supposed to do. And then one day, it's a miracle. A great person who pops out the other end. And that's what we do at Disney. We're very clear. Clear. Be clear. It's for them. It's not for you. And this what clarity is about. That's why mothers are so great because they focus on you. It's for you. And all the sacrifices they make.
So, 25% of the people get up and walk out after that. Don't even fill out the application. They don't want to work in a place like that. And you know what? That's good for us, and it's good for them. There's 25% of people we don't have to deal with. With coaching and counseling and telling them they need to be better and all this nonsense. So, clarity. Hire the right people.
-Second place I spent my time was training. Train your people, just like you train your children. And one reason-- and the most important thing in life we all worry about, right? What do you worry about with your children? Getting a good education. That is the key that unlocks all the doors. The more you know, education, being able to read well, write, math, science. Training. And that's really the silver bullet at Disney. We train our people. And then we test them. We train and test. And in your businesses, I'd tell you need to be doing the same thing. Training and testing.
Because testing makes you pay more attention to the training. Because if you know you're going to be tested at the end. And by the way, that turns out that the guest gets a better service because everybody knows what they're doing. And today it's the biggest problem in America. You go to places, people don't know what they're doing. And it's not their fault. That's a leadership problem. That is a management problem. I feel sorry for people who aren't trained. Makes you very insecure and you don't execute well.
So training. And make sure, are you doing it well enough? Go back and rethink your own businesses, your own life. Are you training your people and being totally clear so they know what they're doing? And the last place I spent my time was being a good role model for this. Because if you go around talking about this stuff, you've got to behave. So every day, it was the hardest thing I had to do was get out of my car and behave all day long.
And what's behave mean? It means I had to pay attention to people and not be preoccupied. I had to be available for people when they wanted to see me. I had to listen. I had to make sure I didn't go around trying to be a big shot. As my mother said, don't get too big for your britches. Do you ever hear that one in Oklahoma? I'm sure you did. You know what it means. And so I did that. I really thought every day about how to make sure I'm sending the right message to everybody. Because people become eventually like the culture they live in.
If I'm behaving, all of the sudden other people are behaving, and then other people. That's what happens in families. That's what happens in work. Culture is everything. There's an old quote that says, "culture's not part of the game, it is the game." And in your family I guarantee you, culture is the game. The way you and your husband interact with each other, the way the family performs in front of the children, how you speak to them, how you either overreact or not.
Role modeling-- It's a big deal. It is the way you learn, frankly. We all learn. And we can know from all the politicians right now, what they say means nothing. And people know that. Everybody learns about what you do, not what you say. And that one little thing to know-- everyone is watching you. I can tell you, if I could give you the one piece of the most important piece of leadership advice in your whole life-- be careful what you say and do. Every one is watching you and judging you every second-- at work, at home, in the grocery store.
And teach your children this. Your reputation doesn't start when you're 18. It has started. Be careful what you say and do. Everyone is watching you and judging you. And that's a big deal. And if you can really internalize that, you're going to get-- the impact you're going to have on other people is going to be gigantic. Be careful what you say and do. So I went around. I talked about this. I talked about leadership every day.
I talked about expectations for leaders. We dealt with leaders who didn't behave themselves, who abuse people and push people around and intimidate people and abuse their authority. I'm sure you know people like that. And we make sure that we continually improve the environment and the culture there. And that's why when you go there, everything is great. The chance of you running into rude cast member at Disney is almost zero. Why?
We hire the same people. There's a big pool of people out there. People say, I know, but good people are hard to find. Yes, they are. But that's what you need to find. Take your time. Don't hire idiots.
Hire bozos just so you can work seven days a week? No. Be more careful. Take your time. It's better to take your time bringing the right people in, because you want them there for 10, 15, 20, 30 years. So make sure you're thinking about those three things. They're important. They're three big things. And let me tell you what-- no matter if you're an engineer or merchandise person or a food person or a minister, you've still got that same responsibility.
Your main job may be running the church or delivering the sermons, but you need to be hiring the right people. You need to make sure they're getting trained. And you need to be setting a good example so that people want to do the right things and be the right people.
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