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The Leadership Toolbox

In this transcript, Lee Cockerell (Former Executive Vice President of Operations for Walt Disney World® Resort) talks about essential leadership tools on Thrive15.com, one of the most affordable business schools in Michigan! 

Lee:    Tell you what does anybody in here young enough to remember paper or old enough to remember paper? This is called a planner. You know why it’s called a planner? Because you’re supposed to plan something in your life. You’re not just supposed to hang around until something happens. You’re supposed to be making things happen. By the way it’s not going to happen. We manage Disney World. We keep it under control. Everything that happens there has got a process, a procedure, a rule, a regulation, a way to do it. We park cars in certain way and that’s the way we park them. That’s why you don’t lose your car. 

We can find your car and all rental cars in Florida are white. We have a lot of cars every day of people who said their car was stolen because they don’t remember where they parked. We ask them what time they came in so we know what row they’re in. At 10:18 we were parking in this row. At 10:19 we ware parking this row. At 10:20 so we drive them down that road and they just click that thing until the lights go on and they found out their car. That’s a system baby. We don’t do it nothing happens by accident in life. It happens because you make it happen. 

You get yourself a planner and in these planners is a place that says to do today. You’re supposed to put something in there which means you got to take 5, 10, 15, 20 minutes and you want to think about what you ought to be working on in your life. I would tell you first thing you work on is yesterday. You fix all the thing mistakes you made yesterday. You need to call that client back. You need to sit down with your children again and re-discussed that subject you talked about last night. 

Whatever yesterday think about yesterday every day and did it go as well as it should have gone for you? Did it or should you go back and fix it before it bites you? Fix yesterday right away. We drive home, we think about it. We’re on the way back, we think about it. Wake up in the middle of the night, we think about something. We get these things down, fix them. 

Second thing you put in here every day if you want to make a list is, what are the responsibilities you signed up for in our life? Everybody in this room has got a different list and it changes your whole life. You know your born you don’t have much responsibility and all of a sudden you get into school you got homework and then you got this and you maybe have an after school job and then one day you get married. Now you got more responsibility. Then you have children now you got more responsibility. Then you have aging parents you got more responsibility. You got a job now you got director [inaudible 00:02:44]. You’re responsible for them. 

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Then you volunteer. You got to take care of that whatever you committed to do. Goes on and on and on and I would tell you for all of you to think deeply about what is that list look like in your life and make sure your always thinking when it’s changing. How many people here are married? You should think about that person occasionally. Is there anything you need to do for them? Write it down and do it. Knock it off. Your children? Do you need to go out and see the kid’s teacher at school. Put that in, make an appointment. Do you need to get them their annual physicals or meningitis shot, talk to them about the birds and the bees don’t miss that one. 

You think you got a bad life now? It can only get worse. If you got children 8 or 9 years old you better be talking to them because by 10 or 11 they’ll know more than you do. Kids know you got to get in there. You got to deal with it. Check it off. Make it happen. Don’t let it go because we put off things that are uncomfortable. How many people put off anything that’s uncomfortable? We all do because it’s hard. You put it in here and then you get a mentality of once it goes in here it’s going to get done. 

You got to have a system for running your life. You can’t just go around doing the hard things when you feel like it because when are you going to feel like it? You’ll put it off. You’ll put it off. You’ll put it off and frankly you’re hurting them. It’s not about you. You’re hurting them. It’s irresponsible. Don’t have children if you can’t deal with reality or don’t get into a leadership position or be in charge of people if you can’t do the hard things. That’s the way you make a difference in life. You’ll feel better. They’ll feel better. They’ll appreciate you. 

Management, get yourself a system. Your health, how many people think your health is your responsibility? Anybody think that? Can you find it in here? Do you schedule your exercise? Learn to schedule the priorities in your life in your calendar. Schedule the priorities in your life. Put them in your calendar. Learn to use the planner. Plan in advance. 


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