Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Between Books - The Disney Way Interview

After reading The Disney Way Third Edition, author Bill Capodagli agreed to take a few questions about the book and Disney management that were inspired by the book.

Between Disney:  I have read a lot of Disney management/business books, but this one really seems relevant to the non-Disney fan.  For the non-Disney fan who might think of Disney as a Mickey Mouse affair.   Why should the non-fan care about the Disney Way?

Capodagli:  The Walt Disney Company is more than just a benchmark for the entertainment and hospitality industries.  Walt Disney World has the fifth largest laundry in the world, the largest in the US. It is a production facility that processes thousands of costumes, bedding, towels and linens every single day.  Cast members work hard in the heat, and they are paid a little bit more than minimum wage. Yet, there is less than 5 percent turnover in that facility.  Disney also has world-class maintenance facilities; they maintain hundreds of miles of roads on their properties; and they staff departments such as Horticulture and the Living Seas with experts in their fields. Pick any process...Disney has likely mastered it; any organization can learn from Disney’s example beyond the world of “Mickey Mouse.”

Between DisneyI really resonate to the partnership materials in the book.  Disney really seems to operate best when a strong partnership is in place with Walt/Roy, Eisner/Wells Lasseter/Catmull.  How can we foster this type of relationship building in our own workplaces?

Capodagli: Within organizations, relationship building requires two important factors, the first of which is clarifying individual accountabilities.  Employees need to clearly understand their individual roles, and secondarily, they need to understand how their roles complement those of others to produce what Disney calls the “good show” experience.  However, there is one more factor that is critical to long-lasting successful relationships – mutual respect and trust.  One great example is the “loving kindness” culture of Acts Retirement-Life Communities, a FEATURED ORGANIZATION in the 3rd edition of The Disney Way.  All the best partnerships in history – from Walt and Roy Disney to John Lasseter and Ed Catmull – were based upon mutual respect and trust and “loving kindness.”

Between Disney:  I recently storyboarded to get ideas.  I was struck by the power of this tool.  But what I am really wondering what common qualities do you see in leaders willing to open themselves up to a leadership storyboard?
Capodagli: Leadership storyboards are beneficial when a leader is open to changing his or her ineffective behaviors based upon team feedback.

Between Disney: I work in a volunteer position where I provide leadership and a clear vision.  But sometimes the vision gets lost to the work.  How can I reinforce the dream, especially with a non-paid and low-paid staff?
Capodagli: Any leader who is responsible for a team needs to continually reinforce the vision, “dream”, or story at every opportunity including team meetings and company events. These critical cultural elements must be included in an organization’s hiring process as well as communicated to vendors, stockholders and other stakeholders.

Between Disney:  You focus on start-ups in your examples of using the Disney Way throughout the book.  What about the culture of a start up opens them to using this model?
 Capodagli: The beauty of a start-up organization is that they have a “blank sheet of paper” for creating a culture.  When an organization has been in existence for years or decades, asking employees to embrace a new set of values can be challenging.  So, establishing the core values at the outset is the best scenario to achieve long-term success.

 Thank you very for your time and your additional insights into The Disney Way and how we can Dream, Believe, Dare, Do in our own business and personal lives.

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