How Are Your Peanut Butter Sandwiches

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Continuous improvement is the name of the game. Do you lead in a way that creates an environment where great ideas can surface and are you willing to try new things before shooting them down?

Not a day went by at the Walt Disney World® Resort that I did not get a chance to see some form of continuous improvement being accomplished.  I am lucky, I think, to have enin a position where I got a chance to see so many great things being implemented by my fellow Cast Members across the property.

Year after year we found better and better ways to conduct our business.  We found better products.  We produced better products, and we improved processes for getting work done and for taking the hassle out of the lives of our Guests and fellow Cast Members. Yes, I know there is still much work to be done in this area, and the Cast Members will continue to make those improvements.  The fact of the matter is they will never finish with continuous improvement.

We  learned about opportunities where we could improve from Guest conversations, from pre- and post-shift meetings with our fellow Cast Members, from Guest letters, from the Cast Excellence Leadership annual survey, and from personal experiences when working in one of the operations.

We did podium surveys in the restaurants and Cast audits, reviewed returned-food logs, used timing cards, reviewed re-cook logs, and on and on.  It never ceases to amaze me how many good ideas there were out there; and almost all of them came from involving the Cast and listening to their point of view as well as our Guests. This is a good learning for all of us, and we should never forget it….check the details and listen to the people doing the work and using your products and services. This is common sense but not common practice.

Simple things improved.  We were receiving  a lot of complaints from Guests about the freshness of our peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  The solution was to switch to the new “uncrustable” peanut butter, and immediately we doubled our sales of this sandwich, and the children liked it.

I could give you a million examples of where and how we did a better job from one day to another.  The reason we did it is that when you worry about the small things, like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, you have an environment that finds the better way every day in the big and small things.

Please pay attention to the little things because they really add up and make the difference between the good and the great in the world.  To have a great environment for continuous  improvement, you have to listen, be willing to try new things on a test basis, be available for people to tell you what is on their mind, believe that the people closest to the work have the best solutions to an issue—or at least part of the solution—and be excited about making things better.

Disney is a very large organization and the opportunity for finding the better way will always be there.  A leader’s attitude, if negative or unwilling to try something new, is the only thing that stands in the way of great new ideas coming to the surface.  If you create an environment where ideas can easily surface and be tried, you will be running an operation that excels in Guest Satisfaction, Cast Excellence, and great Business Results.

So when someone comes to you and says, “You know, I think we can make a better peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” this is the time to listen and tell him or her to make you one so you can TRY it.   . . . Lee



“The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. Attitude, to me, is more important than facts.  It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do.  It is more important than appearance, talent, or skill.  It will make or break a company . . . a church . . . a home.

The remarkable thing is we have a choice each day regarding the attitude we embrace for that day. We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one strength we have, and that is our ATTITUDE!  I am convinced that life is 10 percent what happens to me and 90 percent how I react to it.”   . . . Charles Swindoll

The Problem is not the Problem!  It is how we react to the problem that is often the problem.   . . . Lee


“LEARN . . . as if you were to live forever.
LIVE . . . as if you were to die tomorrow.”
          . . .Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi

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