You Can Delegate Authority But Not Responsibility

The following post is a piece I wrote a few years ago on delegation of authority. More at: www.LeeCockerell.comWe do a great job in so many ways, but there is one that I think we still have a lot of potential for:  delegating authority.  We have come a long way, no doubt, but we still have a long way to go.

Leadership should be constantly thinking about how to delegate more authority to the Front Line so that the Cast Member who comes into contact with our Guests can resolve any issue quickly and right on the spot.

This takes training, of course; and it takes clarity on (1) what Cast Members are being held accountable for handling without approval and (2) which issues they need to get their Leader to handle.  No matter which way a Guest issue gets handled, it needs to be resolved quickly.

My goal would be for a Front-Line Cast Member to very seldom—if ever—say “NO” to a Guest.

  • I would like to see our Cast Members trained so well that if they are getting close to a “NO” answer, they are taught how to offer alternatives to the Guest; or
  • If there is nothing left to do but say “NO,” that we get the Leader of the area to deliver that message if need be.  This, of course, does not include safety issues.
  • Sometimes “NO” is the right answer, and seconds count in these instances.

I hope all Leaders are continuously thinking about how to work with their teams to continually delegate more and more authority to their Front-Line teams.

My goal would be not to get any negative letters or phone calls from our Guests if they have been in contact with a Front-Line Cast Member or Leader. This is where the issue should be resolved one way or another.  I would love to see a lot more letters telling me how someone resolved their problem on the spot . . . and how impressed they were with the way it was handled.

I know that this cannot be done 100 percent of the time; but with a goal of 100 percent of issues being resolved at the source, we will achieve higher Guest Satisfaction than ever before.

You will be hearing more about this subject, so I hope that all of you will begin a dialogue with your teams to get agreement on how this can begin to get even better than it already is.

Remember that every little thing you can delegate leaves you time to do the things that you are really good at . . . and that means that you will have more time to focus on the areas of responsibility in your position, such as observing your operation more, or spending time with your direct reports, or listening to what your Cast Members have to say.

By the way, we do this well many, many times a day across the Walt Disney World® Resort, but as usual, we always have room for improvement.   . . . Lee

Great Leaders Look for the better way every day

PS: Priscilla and I attended the Epcot Wine and Food Festival last Saturday night. What a great event. While we were attending the Party for the Senses our three grandchildren were outside going from kiosk to kiosk with their gift cards sampling all the treats from around the world. This event just gets better and better every year. This is a true testament to the entire Epcot team. I assure you that you will not be disappointed if you get out to wine and dine around the world at Epcot.

1 Comment
  1. Lee, just listened to Dan’s interview on the DISunplugged. Whilst he is his own man, I would also say a chip of the old block.

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