How’s the Culture in Your Kingdom: Lessons from a Disney Leadership Journey by Dan Cockerell collects leadership lessons from a 26 year career in Disney Parks working from a parking supervisor at Disneyland Paris to Vice President of the Magic Kingdom. The book provides four main sections, “Leading Self”, “Leading Teams”, “Leading an Organization”, and “Leading Change” that are each filled with smaller sized chapters around one central theme. Each chapter ends with a “Fast Track to Results” section which summarizes Cockerell’s major points and provides thoughts that a manager can implement quickly.
The text provides a number of business lessons for managers. While many of them may seem like common sense or lessons one can get elsewhere, Cockerell wraps them around stories of his time at Disney. The stories range from his early Disney days especially working in a France as a young professional to the end of his Disney journey. The stories honestly do not go deep into the inner workings of Walt Disney World, there are no dirty little secrets of My Magic Band. Instead the stories and content really shows the value that Cockerell puts in relationships as part of servant leadership. He shows candor as his leadership lessons make it clear that not every decision can please everyone. And there is risk in leading. But in the end, Cockerell has built a career, and now a consulting business, on placing a high value on a culture of relationship. Cockerell also spends significant space discussing something that I may only now be understanding, the need for self care. A leader must take the time to care for themselves by getting sleep, moving and thoughtfully eating in order to be their best for their people.
How’s the Culture in Your Kingdom is a leadership book with a Disney core. Cockerell shows his leaders the importance of people in an organization. It is a lesson that can be easy to forget in these trying times. And there is just enough Disney to help keep the leader with a Disney passion focused on the lesson.