Building a Culture from Scratch

Creating Disney Magic Episode 459 Building a Culture from Scratch

“Magic is when nobody can figure out how you do it because you’re so good.”

Never underestimate the importance of building relationships with your team. This is especially important if you are building a culture from scratch. One of the best ways to do this as a leader is to make sure you are hiring the right people. Start setting clear expectations during the interview process. After that make sure you are consistently creating a positive and customer-focused environment.

When I first took on the role of a General Manager at a well-established hotel, I was a stranger in a sea of employees. They didn’t know me, and I didn’t know them. But I quickly found out, the secret to gaining their trust was visibility. Walking through the operation several times a day ensured that everyone knew my face, and more importantly, knew that I was approachable. I made it a point to meet every single person, show them respect, and assure them that if they needed anything, I was there to help.

This wasn’t just about getting comfortable with me, but also about making sure they knew I valued their opinions. After all, these were the people doing the work, and they knew more about it than I ever would. As I made my rounds, I would emphasize the importance of excellence. This wasn’t about being average, this was about setting standards and sticking to them. But these standards weren’t just about the job, they were about creating an environment where everyone felt special, respected, and part of a team.

The first time I was appointed as a General Manager, I realized that connecting with my team was paramount. The initial days were all about fostering a culture of respect and open communication. There were three things I did that I know helped.

  1. Took the initiative to stroll around the premises multiple times a day, making my presence known.
  2. Introduced myself to every member of the team, making it clear that my door was always open.
  3. Understood that the individuals on the front line were the experts, and their opinions mattered to me.

It was important to instill a sense of pride and dedication in the team from the get-go. We weren’t aiming for mediocrity but for excellence. We set high standards and expected everyone to adhere to them. But it wasn’t just about the job, it was about cultivating a work environment where everyone felt valued and special.

By providing ongoing education and knowledge, leaders empower employees to excel in their roles. That creates a culture of pride and excellence. Everyone has the power to build a culture where employees are encouraged to act happy and provide exceptional service. It takes time and effort. Don’t give up when it doesn’t happen overnight. By investing in building relationships, involving employees in decision-making, and establishing a culture of excellence and respect you can bet you will get a return on the time spent.

There are some great resources available if you are still not clear on how to implement good training and standards for each position. My book “Creating Magic” and the Cockerell Academy are two great places to start.

Another great resource is Magical Vacation Planners. They do a great job building relationships with their customers so they can help plan your vacation. You can reach them at 407-442-2694.


The Cockerell Academy

About Lee Cockerell

Mainstreet Leader