Answering Tough Questions # 16


 Question:  “Lee wants this done.  Make it happen no matter what.”  It’s a commonly accepted belief that things get done almost immediately when a high-ranking executive, such as you, personally takes an interest in it.


Do you think that gives you a clear understanding of the decision-making process or the bureaucracy the rest of us have to go through to get funding, a policy change, etc.?


I know that this happens in corporate life, and I wish that it did not happen in the way that you describe.  I know that I have to be careful in what I say so that people don’t run off and do something from a passing comment that I have made.


Also understand that my name gets used from time to time to get things done, and I am not even aware of the issue.  I frequently hear about things that I wanted done or not done, and I have no knowledge of them . . . and I know my memory is not that bad.


On the other hand, there are things that I want done, and those usually have strong support from my executive team and your executive team.  Some things need to be done, and I must admit that I do use my authority from time to time to speed things up or to challenge executives to go find the money and make it happen.


One such example is that I wanted to have barriers put around the entrances to all of our resorts so that no vehicle could drive into a lobby or convention center.  This took funding, and I pushed hard on it until we got it done.  At the time some people thought it was not necessary—and that may be the case—but with some things I am not going to take a risk or move too slowly.


I always hoped that I had set up the right environment and working relationship with my direct reports, Erin Wallace for Operations, Alice Norsworthy for New Products and Services, and Jeff Vahle for Facilities, Operations Services, and Engineering, and that they would tell me when I am crazy and when I need to back off.  I think that this is the case.

I always try to explain why something needs to be done and why it has a certain due date.  Sometimes I know that the WHY is not passed along; and frankly, that is usually the most important piece of information that others need in order to feel better about this and to be more supportive.


Changing priorities are a fact of life; and they do frustrate all of us, I am sure, but that is just the way it is.  We had lots of changing priorities after 9/11, and there are other things that happen in the world or our Company to cause us to have to do something that was not in our plan; and we just have to go figure it out.


And, last but not least, people should not be using my name to get things doneThey should be using their influence and leadership skills to get things done that we all want done; and if they think something should not be done, they should come back to the source and explain why.  I am quite good at changing my mind if someone will explain to me why I should.


There are lots and lots of people above me by the way, so directives come from all directions; and it is an art to get the right things done for the right reasons.


I hope my name is not being used in the wrong way. I am sorry if I create problems for people.  That is not my intention.  My intention is for us to get better and better at taking care of our fellow Cast Members and our Guests and, in the end, improving our business results.


Let me know if you ever need an explanation on something that you are being asked to do.  I would hope that your Leaders would explain it to you and help you find the resources to get it done—but if not, I am always happy to try to clear these kinds of issues up for any of you.   . . . Lee

PS: I heard a great quote the other day, ” The two most important days in your life are the day you were born and the day you understood why you were born.” Some people never find out why they were born. I did find out a few years ago that I was born to teach leadership and to do it with high energy and humility. I know I was born to help others reach their goals and dreams. You too can create magic for others.



1 Comment
  1. “_____ wants this done. Make it happen no matter what.” This phrase always comes with a price tag on it and never an explaination. Having heard it enough in my life I can say it would be less painfull if it came with a reason attached. Flexing ones executive muscles may well be within your rights but you still need too convey the message with respect and not with fire and brimstone.

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