Many of us have, at one point or another during our lives, visited Disneyland or similar theme parks. We’ve experienced a level of interaction, of customer service, that has fueled a timeless and iconic brand. There is a spirit of happiness and engagement that keeps generations of families and friends coming back for more.
I recently attended a conference where Doug Lipp, author of the book Disney U, discussed the formative experiences and lessons he learned while working with his mentor at Disney, Van France. France was the guru behind the employee training curriculum where the fundamentals of guest services were ingrained into all Disney workers worldwide. This model is now called Disney University with programs available for not only Disney employees, but to external companies as well that wish to embody the training throughout their organizations.
How has Disney developed, cultivated, and maintained such an engaged work culture over multiple generations? What lessons can customer service organizations and leadership teams draw to create similar experiences?
What separates Disney’s management style?
It boils down to a balance between head and heart. For any business, details and standards matter and need to be properly structured and monitored. But you also need to ensure that you have engaged employees whose positive outlook and ways of being extend to all client interactions. Put together, Walt Disney showed that if employees were happy, clients and customers would be, too. It then creates a timeless experience that generations love and return to.
Lipp explained several ways that business can create such an engaged workforce:
- Walk the Park: Walt Disney was known to walk around the Disney grounds and interact directly with employees. Too many corporate leaders forget that they need to get out of the office and engage with employees and clients.
- Keep it Human: Remember that employees are people and clients aren’t “units” or “attendance numbers.” Some leaders get so engrossed in processing patients or widgets that they forget the human element.
- Every Job Matters: From the custodian to the maintenance driver, Disney believed everyone’s job was equally important. Lipp recalled how Disney leaders became aware of workplace resentment that was forming between employees from different job classifications. This pointed to a lack of understanding of each other’s roles. This became an opportunity to coach employees and create a more unified team and family-oriented work culture.
To see “head and heart” in action, get in touch with the Intivix team right away at (415) 543-1033 or firstname.lastname@example.org.