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How To Develop Character

In this next transcript, Clay Clark (US Small Business Administration Entrepreneur of the Year) features Lee Cockerell (former VP of Operations of Walt Disney World Resort) talking about customer service training and developing character on Thrive15.com!

Lee:    Number 10. Develop character. That's the last one then I'm going to tell you a story that will wrap it all up and give you some things to think about. Okay? Number 10. Develop character.

    When the sharks can come to the conclusion that it's not nice to eat little people, little fish, I'm sure you can come to the same conclusion. Don't be sharks. Don't eat your people. Make sure you're thinking about your own integrity, character, your values. 

    And I will tell you one thing you need to think about, you need to think about what you stand for, and you need to think about what you won't stand for in your business. You should say, "We stand for this." You should write it down, you should tell your people. "We stand for treating everybody respectfully. We stand for truthfulness. We stand for being there for people when they need us. We stand for honesty, integrity, no matter how hard it gets. We stand for inclusiveness, we want to hear everybody's opinion." 

    Character, what you stand for, what you won't stand for. People need to know where you're coming from when you're a leader. I'm sure your children need to know, also,  what you stand for and what you won't stand for in your family. Honesty, telling the truth. Integrity, doing your homework. Education. 

    It's a big deal, and enough people are not clear with the employees about what you expect. Because when you have clarity, expectations are much easier. Clarity, if somebody told me to give you one word that describes communication, I would tell you that word is 'clarity.' Be clear with people, what your expectations are, what you want, what you stand for, and what you will not stand for, and what the consequences will be if you don't follow these rules... Little thing... Simple thing.

    But we don't do it. Our parents taught us these things, by the way. Then we get into business, and we forget them. We need our mother to come and whack us over the head sometimes... And tell use to behave ourselves and get back to being good people, honest people. It's a big problem in the world. Dishonesty's becoming more okay. Stealing a little bit more, Wall Street. Churches. You name it... President of South Africa spending 20 million dollars on his house from the taxpayers. Huh? These people crazy? 

    Integrity. A lot of rulers around the world are finding out what happens when you don't behave. People kill you. You don't want to die, at work. Think about your own integrity, honesty. What you stand for, your values. I'm sure you talk about those values with your children all the time. 'In our family, this is what we do, this is our expectation.' Make sure you have those same conversations at work, because when people have values, and they understand, and they have purpose in their life, they can go through a lot. When they understand-

    We have one purpose statement at Disney World, and that statement, it says, "We all have different roles, but we only have one purpose." And our purpose is to make sure that every guest who comes to Disney World has the most fabulous time of their life... No matter what your job is... No matter what your job is. 

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    Nurses often understand their purpose. Their job is different types of nursing, but their purpose is to the lives better and to create people who are well and get healthier. They know. They're all working toward that. They stay focused on their purpose. 

    And you've got to decide what you're going to tell your people. What is your purpose in your business. Can you describe a purpose? Because people have purpose, they wake up in the morning more excited.

    I told people at Disney, a little story. The people who cook the french fries, the people who purchase the french fries, the people who cook them, deliver them, serve them, clean them up, who's most important? They're all important, because we need everybody. A lot of the employees never see a customer, but they take care of the people who do take care of the customers, so they're important. And they need to know they're important. Because when you think you're important, and you know you're important, and somebody tells you're important, you do a better job. If you don't think you're important, nobody cares about you, you don't do a good job... After I gave that talk, the lady said, in Purchasing, she said, "I think I'm the most important person at Disney. I order the french fries." And when you serve hamburgers and run out of french fries, you've got a problem. You can have a riot. The customers can go crazy. 

    So everybody's important. If somebody's not important in your business, get rid of them. But if they are important, make sure they know they're important. They know.


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