He Said, " I Hear Things"

Expect more and you will get more: More at: www.LeeCockerell.com

At Disney we have the Four Expectations of Our Guests and the Four Expectations of Our Cast.  The question is:  Does every single person who reports to you know what these are and how to execute them moment by moment, day by day, and month after month, for your guests, customers and fellow employees?

Our Four Guest Expectations are:

  • Make me feel special
  • Treat me as an individual
  • Respect my children (and me)
  • Have knowledgeable Cast Members

Have you taught your fellow employees how to do these four things for your customers in a variety of situations?  It is different for Food & Beverage, Merchandise, Attractions, Entertainment, Front Desk, Housekeeping, Transportation, Ticketing, Parking, etc., etc., etc.

These are things that you need tactics and training around in every part of your organization.  For instance, housekeeping at Disney learned that making towel animals and placing plush toys in different positions each day to welcome our Guests back to their rooms makes the guests feel special, treats them as individuals, respects their children, and shows that our Cast Members are very knowledgeable and well trained.  This is a big deal and one experience the Guests can’t get enough of. Do you do anything special and unexpected for your customers?

Every business must continually be brainstorming how to achieve these four expectations of your customers.  When we get this right across the Walt Disney World® Resort, our competition cannot duplicate it because it takes years and years to develop caring, passion, pride, and professionalism.  In most cases it cannot be duplicated by others because it takes great leadership like we have; and it, too, takes a long, long time to put into place—if it ever gets put into place. You need to go to work now in your organization to put this kind of leadership in place for the long haul.

Make sure that every employee knows your expectations in the area of these customer expectations and what every employee should be doing in his or her individual position to make these expectations come to life for your customers.

Make sure that they have been taught how to perform these expectations and then have a system in place to audit and observe if they are taking place.  If you did this with every customers every time you had the opportunity, you would completely shut out all other competition in the world.  We do it very well already—but could do it even better.  How well do you really do it?  Half the battle in life is for people to know what is expected of them and why it’s important.  Then if you will train them to do it, they will be happy to do it.  Expect more and be clear about it and you will get more.

The second part is for the leadership to do the same for your employees, and we call them our Four Cast Expectations

  • Make me feel special
  • Treat me as an individual
  • Respect me
  • Make me knowledgeable, develop me, and know my job

We all know how to make people feel special when we want to.  So let’s just do what we already know how to do.

You make people feel special by paying attention to them, by thanking them for their work, by including them in the work and decision making, by recognizing them both in public and in private, and by developing them.

You treat people as individuals by doing your very best to take care of individual needs as much as possible.

You respect people by Respecting, Appreciating, and Valuing Everything about them.  It is not your place to judge their religion, natural origin, culture, sexual orientation, beliefs, gender, or anything else about them.

And last, it is your main responsibility as a leader to develop your direct reports, make them knowledgeable, and to know their jobs.  Be able to do the work of the people you lead if you want credibility.  They know if you know; and they talk about it—so don’t be naïve.  Your employees are either saying good things or bad things about you, and the truth gets back.

One day a few years ago my boss told me I was doing a great job and to keep it up.  I asked him how he knew, and he simply said, “I hear things.”

Your leader and your fellow employees hear things too.  A few years ago one of my direct reports told me that she heard I was saying good things about her behind her back—interesting way to put it, I thought.  I say good things about all of my direct reports behind their backs all of the time.  If I have something that is less positive, I say that to their face so we can discuss it.  Saying good things behind people’s backs causes no damage.  Saying bad things does cause damage; and since they are not mind readers, they would not be able to correct those issues.  Remember that feedback is all about making me feel special; treating me as an individual; respecting me; and making me knowledgeable, developing me, and knowing my job.

I also try to remind myself to say good things to my direct reports and others when I am with them face to face because I do appreciate the great work everyone does . . . and if I appreciate it, I should share it with them and not keep it to myself.

These four expectations of our Guests and Cast Members are really powerful concepts; and if you can take them and use them to direct your own leadership, you will have a powerful team around you . . . and your results will be exceptional!   . . . Lee

PS: Andy…Thanks for your comments yesterday on the blog. Have a great weekend everyone. I am heading to the Epcot Wine and Food Festival to eat and drink my way around the world….Lee

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