Monday, July 21, 2014

Between Books - Disney's Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz

As a people leader both in my professional and personal life I am always looking to hone my skills.  But I prefer to read books that provide lessons with hooks tied to things I care about like for example Disney parks.  And I have been lucky enough to stumble on Between Books that provided leadership and business lessons and used these teachings in my own leadership.  But something I had not stumbled upon yet was a book with lessons found in Disney’s Hollywood Studios.

Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz by J. Jeff Kober provides a leadership tour of Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  Kober walks his readers through the Florida theme park, providing a description of attractions and landmarks and then building out principles that can be applied to leadership.  All of the short chapters start with a physical location within Disney’s Hollywood Studios which is supported with a tale from that location or one of its real life connections.  Many chapters have extra details called out in bold text for the reader to linger on.  And every chapter ends with at least four questions for the reader to reflect on to help one better incorporate the lesson into their own life.

I started this volume thinking I was not going to be learning, just reading.  Instead on page four I went into a discussion of wayfinding, providing visual clues to help users find their way.  And this was following on page five with service netting, putting nets in place to help customers before they can make a mistake.  And I found myself thinking through how and if my own business unit had service nets and which ones we could put in place.  And Kober had not even left the parking lot.  So I was impressed early that I still had much to learn in leadership and business, and Kober could teach it to me.  I am guessing that many readers may be able to escape the parking lot and get into the park before stumbling on new information.  But it impressed me early that Kober was going to provide most readers with new tools for their business life.

Though the stories all start within the park, many leave the park quickly.  However, when Kober’s supporting stories leave Disney’s Hollywood Studios they are tied into the location discussed within the park.  For example, the discussion of Beauty and the Beast – Live on Stage is followed by  a discussion that includes the history of Beauty and the Beast stage show and providing dynamic products, for extra details did you know Hugh Jackman played Gaston on stage in Australia?  The chapter on One Man’s Dream discusses success through disappointment and shines the light on Walt Disney’s life to show how perseverance can overcome obstacles.   These Disney ties will keep the attention of Disney fans looking to improve their business acumen.  

I don’t always read business books, but when I do I really really hope they include Disney!  J. Jeff Kober  in Disney’s Hollywood Studios: From Show Biz to Your Biz provides a context that Disney fans will enjoy to improve their leadership and business skills, much like he did in Lessons from Epcot.  And his highlighting of an under appreciated park helps provide a fresh Disney context from which we can learn from.  

Review Copy Provided by Theme Park Press

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