Everyone Matters

Make sure everyone matters…and that everyone knows it.

The following post is Chapter 3 of my book which is being publised on October 14, 2008. Go to my website to learn more or to order: https://www.leecockerell.com

Make sure everyone matters . . . and that everyone knows it. Business leadership is a lot like parenting: Your job is not just to make your employees happy but to create an environment that enables them to excel at what they do. Just as great parents pay attention to everyone in their family, so great leaders pay attention to everyone in their organizations, bolstering his or her self-esteem and self-confidence at every step.
If everyone feels recognized, appreciated, and listened to, everyone will want to take every opportunity to learn and grow. In my years at Disney I constantly trumpeted this basic idea: Every single Cast Member is important to our company. I didn’t just do it as a motivational device or a way to gain popularity. It was a no-nonsense business practice with an immediate payoff.

When people feel valued for the talents and skills they bring Business leadership is a lot like parenting: Your job is not just to make your employees happy but to create an environment that enables them to excel at what they do. Just as great parents pay attention to everyone in their family, so great leaders pay attention to everyone in their organizations, bolstering his or her self-esteem and self-confidence at every step.

If everyone feels recognized, appreciated, and listened to, everyone will want to take every opportunity to learn and grow.

In my years at Disney I constantly trumpeted this basic idea: Every single Cast Member is important to our company. I didn’t just do it as a motivational device or a way to gain popularity. It was a no-nonsense business practice with an immediate payoff.

When people feel valued for the talents and skills they bring to the team, their level of commitment soars. And committed people feel a strong personal connection to, and responsibility for, the work that they do and the teams they’re a part of. As a result, you’ll be able to recruit and retain the best and most dedicated employees, keeping turnover, disciplinary problems, and absenteeism low. Common sense? Yes. Common practice? No.

The principle that everyone matters also has another clear advantage: It’s true! If any job were unimportant, why would  you bother to hire someone to do it? As you can imagine, the quality of french fries at Walt Disney World is an important element in Guest satisfaction. Who do you think is more important, the person who calculates how many potatoes to order, the person who places the order with the supplier, the person who unloads the cartons, the one who fries the potatoes, or the one who serves the cooked french fries? The answer I always gave the Cast Members was: They’re all equally important. If any one of them doesn’t do his or her job, the Guest won’t have a satisfying experience, and business will suffer. I learned that lesson early in my career, when I worked as the grease man in Harvey’s Hotel and Casino at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. I spent my time pushing a little cart around the kitchens, emptying grease from the griddles, and I was treated with disdain. But I realized that without me the grills would shut down, as the holders overflowed with hot grease. No grease man, no hamburgers; no hamburgers, no customers; no customers, no restaurant.

My point is this: The people who clean the bathrooms, sweep the floors, and empty the garbage are just as important as the executives, managers, directors, and supervisors. Maybe even more important. Ditto the ticket takers, the parking lot attendants, and the people who answer the phones. Imagine how many of the Guests at Disney World might vacation someplace unimportant, why would you bother to hire someone to do it? As you can imagine, the quality of french fries at Walt Disney World is an important element in Guest satisfaction. Who do you think is more important, the person who calculates how many potatoes to order, the person who places the order with the supplier, the person who unloads the cartons, the one who fries the potatoes, or the one who serves the cooked french fries? The answer I always gave the Cast Members was: They’re all equally important. If any one of them doesn’t do his or her job, the Guest won’t have a satisfying experience, and business will suffer. I learned that lesson early in my career, when I worked as the grease man in Harvey’s Hotel and Casino at Lake Tahoe, Nevada. I spent my time pushing a little cart around the kitchens, emptying grease from the griddles, and I was treated with disdain. But I realized that without me the grills would shut down, as the holders overflowed with hot grease. No grease man, no hamburgers; no hamburgers, no customers; no customers, no restaurant.

Everyone is important. And this is not just true of theme parks and resorts; it is true of every organization everywhere, including yours.

1 Comment
  1. I really like this message and have seen that by respecting and developing every cast member we have improved cast morale and are seeing cast members much more engaged in our business. I share your messages every week with my team, thanks for the inspiring words and hope your wife is feeling better.

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