Lee Cockerell is the former executive vice president of operations for the Walt Disney World Resort. He also host the show Creating Disney Magic: Lessons in Leadership, Management, and Customer Service.
Leadership is leadership no matter where you find it. A podcast listener wrote in with a question about how leadership looks different in a school versus leadership in a business. Good question with a simple answer. Leadership is leadership no matter where you find it. The words you use may be different, but leadership is the same in a school setting. A Principal sets the standards and teachers carry out the standards and expectations. Appreciation, recognition, and encouragement. Hire the right people. Train them. And treat them right. Management techniques may change over time, but leadership will always stay the same. Leadership is about influence, attitude, making people feel respected and special. A good leader in education would be a good leader in business. Leadership is leadership. Whether you work in a school, a drug store, a movie theater, or a factory making widgets, it is never about the product. It is always about the people.
"The biggest obstacle to thriving is arriving" - Dan Miller Once you accomplish something big, do you keep pushing to get better? Or do you settle in? You can do more than you are currently doing in your life. If you want to. Don't try to be the best. Just try to be better every day. The ability to push through obstacles and resistance is how you get ahead in life. If you let something derail you, it will haunt you for the rest of your life. Get better every day by learning something you did not know yesterday. Help someone you did not help yesterday. If you know more, you can help other people now more. If you are nicer, you can help someone have a better day. Every day, I try to be better and do more than I did the day before. Can I serve someone better? Can I reach out to more people? Can my next podcast be better? Can I be a better role model? Most of your satisfaction will come from people appreciating you, not how much money you make.
We often fall in love with our own ideas. When we have time and money invested in an idea, it becomes hard to walk away. But if you have been doing it for a while and it is not working, it is probably not going to work. Rethink how you are doing things. What do you have going on that is not working right now? I admit, guys tend to be stubborn about hanging onto ideas, even if they are no longer working. One of the best ways to examine your ideas is to get experts around you. Sit in a room with a mastermind group, talk to employees and customers, work with someone who knows more than you do. Make sure you are not sticking to an idea that no longer works.
Strategic Planning does not mean creating a big complex plan. The purpose of a strategic plan is simply to make business better. An effective strategic plan only has 3 elements: Customer, Employee, and the Bottom Line. There are three questions you want to answer in your strategic plan; How can we make it better for guests? How can we make it better for employees? How can we make more money? Sit down with employees and ask them about the business. What are they hearing from customers? What do they need to do their job better? What outstanding maintenance issues are you missing? Now Make a list of questions and ideas by department Here are a couple of examples: Food and beverage: -How can we increase the average amount of a bill? -How can we get guests to buy a desert? Retail: -What shops should we consider opening? -What products should we carry to increase spending per guest? -Do we have any maintenance issues? Now go through your financial statements. Where can you do better? What can you eliminate altogether? Don't view your strategic plan as something you shape once a year. New ideas can show up at any time. Re-examine the strategic plan every quarter to see where you can improve and what new ideas you can insert into the plan.
If employees are disorganized it can cause problems for you and other employees. As a leader, you need to deal with it. Other people are watching and wondering why you are letting this problem continue. Sit down with the disorganized and explain what you see and why what they are doing is disruptive. And figure out why it is happening. Maybe they need more from you. Maybe you haven't said anything about it so they assume what they are doing is ok. Good leaders are constantly repeating what they want to happen. You have to set expectations and constantly remind people. By the way, if you have good employees leave them alone. Don't adopt a blanket policy that impacts everyone. Deal with the disorganized employees and let the organized employees keep getting work done.