Creating Disney Magic Where The Customer Rules

Lee Cockerell says you better listen to your mother.

As the retired executive vice president of Disney World, Cockerell is convinced that mothers teach us all we need to know about how to treat people. In fact, his granddaughter already knows the number one requirement for good customer service: Be nice.

Lee Cockerell is a straight talker. He is sharp and always seems to be looking ahead, seeing things before they happen. Perhaps this comes from running Disney World for ten years.  He needed to expect what the customer would want and deliver it.

A long time Disney employee confirmed for me that you had to be on your toes with Lee when he ran the operation. He said that Lee would do a lot of walking around the Disney parks and resorts. This gave Lee the off the cuff ability to challenge Disney employees (cast members) to a better job.

Lee Cockerell

MBWA – Managing By Walking Around

Managing and leading by walking around is a concept that Tom Peters made famous in his book “In Search of Excellence”. Lee Cockerell didn’t use managing by walking around it as a management theory; he made it a daily practice. He believes in being a role model and in creating a place where people WANT to go to work rather than HAVE to go to work. By walking around and engaging customers (guests) and cast members, Lee was able to see firsthand what was going on and make adjustments.

Lee is the author of two books. His first Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney, sets the reader up to be a better leader in the marketplace regardless of what it is you run.

The Customer Rules: The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service contains Lee Cockerell’s bare-knuckle advice on what you have to do to deliver great service.

Enjoy this interview which is part two of a three parts. See why Lee Cocokerell is, in my estimation, one of the best and most practical authors and speakers out there.

To watch the video on your mobile device, CLICK HERE.

Lee Cockerell’s Bio

Lee Cockerell is the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World® Resort. “As the Senior Operating Executive for ten years Lee led a team of 40,000 Cast Members and was responsible for the operations of 20 resort hotels, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, a shopping & entertainment village and the ESPN sports and recreation complex in addition to the ancillary operations which supported the number one vacation destination in the world.”

One of Lee’s major and lasting legacies was the creation of Disney Great Leader Strategies which was used to train and develop the 7000 leaders at Walt Disney World. Lee has held various executive positions in the hospitality and entertainment business with Hilton Hotels for 8 years and the Marriott Corporation for 17 years before joining Disney in 1990 to open the Disneyland Paris project.

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