Become An Expert

Today’s post is some advice I gave to our College Program students a few years ago. It is still good advice for everyone. More at: www.LeeCockerell.com

Become an Expert!

No matter what role you are working in, you should make it your goal to become an expert in that role.  You might be in Quick-Service Food and think, I don’t like this.  You might be thinking there is nothing to learn.  Let me tell you that there is more to learn than you will be able to learn by the time your program ends.

We do sales of hundreds of millions of dollars in Quick-Service Restaurants.  We have expenses in the tens of millions, and we have profits in the hundreds of millions in this business.  There are many things to learn about:

  • Safety
  • Processes
  • Operating guidelines
  • Guest satisfaction analysis
  • Cast attitudes
  • Cast training
  • Cast motivation
  • Show issues
  • Productivity practices
  • Food costs
  • Portion-control methods
  • Cost of operating expenses (Do you know what a straw costs?)  We use millions of them, so it is good to know this.

You can learn about human behavior by being a good observer of what is going on around you.  You can observe all levels of leadership and its effectiveness.  You can learn about Food Safety and all of the ways that we make sure it is in place. There is so much to learn that by the time you leave you can become an expert in this business.  It will teach you that no matter what business you end up in as your career, all of these things will be relevant, and the knowledge you achieve will be transferable. You are not here to serve hamburgers.  You are here to learn.  Don’t let one day go by without learning many things.  Being inquisitive is one of the traits of Great Leaders.

If you run into a Cast Member, be it a Leader or a Front-Line Cast Member, who blows you off, don’t sweat it.  Just find another Cast Member.  We have great people at Disney, and it won’t take you long to find Cast Members who will take you under their wing if you approach them in the right way.  In fact, the Front-Line Cast will be able to teach you a lot . . . so don’t just depend on Leaders.  Our Leaders are busy people and may not always be able to give you as much time as you would like.  Be persistent and professional, and you will do just fine.

Have a good week out there.  Look at those expressions on the children’s faces as they see one of our Characters, then look at the smiles and tears on the faces of their parents, and then you will know that you are lucky to be in the most “magical” place on earth!…Lee

PS: We are still working on  installing the new kitchen ceiling. I have never done this before and it is not easy. I have learned a lot this week from my friend Charles who is an expert. So as I said before, keep on learning and one day you will be an expert in many things. Charles even told me I did a good job.

2 Comments
  1. Great post, Lee. The key here is that one has to “want” to learn. I’ll take an inexperienced person who wants to learn over a seasoned workers who “knows everything” any day.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published.