Following an epic family vacation to Walt Disney World, I wanted to learn all I could about the level of world class service offered at Disney.
My search led me to a book “Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies From a Life at Disney.” This is where I learned about Lee Cockerell.
From an Oklahoma farm to the CEO of an entertainment and service empire employing more than 40,000 people, Lee has been there and done that when it comes to developing a way of leadership that works. His book includes chapters on Developing Character, Create Break the Mold and Learn the Truth.
He’s not some unapproachable guru that sits in an ivory tower. His name is Lee and you can feel free to call him that. Together with Judson Green, former president of Disney’s Theme Parks and Resorts division, they both realized that “if you want your employees to deliver excellent service, you’d better provide them with excellent leadership.” This has grown into a philosophy where leadership comes first, not the customer.
He was instrumental in changing the leadership philosophy of “my way or the highway” with “What do you think?” Plus, he doesn’t believe that leadership is an “innate gift” but rather, it is a responsibility.
“Being a leader means doing what has to be done, when it has to be done, in the way it should be done, whether you like it or not, and whether they like it or not.”
Thank you, Lee, for helping us see the leader in all of us.