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Make Your People Your Brand

If you're nice to customers, they'll give you a break when you don't deliver in the future

Lee Cockerell:    The basics, don't get so enthralled with technology, forget about it's face to face with your customer. It's not about technology only. Sometimes it's technology. Every customer may be different. We tell people at Disney, you do these 7 things, we'll teach you the hard stuff later because if you're nice to people they give you a break. If you're courteous, you smile and greet them, you say "thank you". Simple things. 

    Don't get bored with the basics in life because the success of your children is about the basics. It's about their education, it's about their courtesy, it's about their ethics, their honesty, their courtesy, their ability to speak to people. Those are the things. It's not about what they know. That helps, but what you know, I guarantee you, in your whole career, the way you act, the way you behave, your reputation will be more important than what you know. You'll learn as you go along. The knowledge will be there. Think about breaking the mold. 

    What do you got? Number 3, make your people your brand. That's the name of the game, talked about it earlier, most important thing you do. The people you hire. People you bring into your organization. There's nothing more important, even at Disney. If you want to work at Disney today, you have to go on the internet and answer 130 questions about yourself. Questions, 90 are graded. 

    We want to know who you are. Do you have a big personality? If you're going to be in front of our guests all day, can you smile 8 hours? Can you be nice for 8 hours? Can you do what we taught you to do for 8 hours? Do you know your role in the show? Do you practice it? Do you have a good positive can-do attitude? We want to know this. Do you have discipline? Are you going to come to work on time? On time. 

    If you get through this and you pass it, you get to go to the casting center and fill out an application. Before you fill out an application you get to watch a film about Disney expectations. It's a very not magical film. It's how your mother used to speak to you when you were 13 and you came home 2 hours late. 

    This film starts out talking about here's what we expect if you work at Disney, about being on time to work, about professionalism, about hospitality, how you treat our customers, about personal appearance, no visible tattoos, no visible piercings, no weird hair color, no weirdness at all. Cinderella cannot have a tattoo on her neck. Mickey Mouse can't smoke cigarettes while he talks to your children. 

    We have clarity. Let me tell you what. Clarity is the name of the game in life. Be clear with people so they know what you expect. Don't beat around the bush. Be so so clear they know what they're getting into. You know what happens when the film's over? 25% of them decide not to work at Disney. They leave. Good. That makes us happy. That's 25% of the people we don't have to deal with about coming to work late and attitude and coaching and lawyers and discrim ...

    All this stuff that comes about when you make a mistake. Get better at hiring people. You got to get better. You got to get better faster and you got to quick making mistakes and when you make a mistake you got to deal with it right away. They say in America we hire too fast and we fire too slow. Calm down. Slow down. Get better questions because when you hire somebody you're looking for 3 things. 

    You're looking for skill, sure. Lower level jobs, they don't need skill, we'll train you. Higher lever, lawyers, finance, IT, you need skill. Sometimes we're looking for skill, sometimes we're not. Second thing we're looking for is a can-do attitude, not a can't-do attitude. Do you know anybody in your life that has a can't-do attitude? It's never their fault. They always have an excuse for everything? And the Can-do people who always have no excuses, they get it done because they're wired that way. Their mother did a good job when they were little. Thank their mother.

    Can-do attitude, and we're looking for passion. I want to do this. I love working with people. I don't care 8 hours. It's hot. It's raining. I love it. Passion. Passion is just when something that's really ... It's a higher level of something that's important to you that you love to do. When it gets to a high level, we call it passion. 

    Can-do attitude. I've worked with a lady now ... In Customer Rules, my second book, there's a a chapter on how to hire better, how to create better questions, how to make sure you're asking the right questions. For instance, every question should have an obstacle in it because we've found that people who can overcome obstacles are the best performers. You ask somebody in maybe a restaurant, "Tell me about a specific time in your last job that you had to deal with an irrate customer."

    You listen to what they say. If you're interviewing 5 people, after you interview 5 people, you'll know which one. Then you ask them 6, 7, 8, 9 more questions with an obstacle. Always have an obstacle. You know what an obstacle looks like? Everybody in this room has them every day from the time you get in the morning: the car, the kids, where are their shoes? It's like every day. 

    I'll tell you what an obstacle [inaudible 00:05:41], one of the reasons I'm successful in my career ... I don't have a college degree. In fact, I'll tell you what. There's no reason I should have ever been successful. I grew up on a little farm in Oklahoma. My mother was married 5 times. I've been adopted twice. I'm on my third name. I got the name Cockerell when I was 16. I dropped out of college.

    You think I'm normal? My wife says, "You're not normal." Why did I get ahead? Because I'm organized and disciplined and I have a really good attitude. Once you have a good attitude, people don't look for your degree because you get things done, because you're organized and disciplined. We're looking for people with a can-do attitude. 


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