Making Disney Magic on a Tuesday Morning

Hand stretched out, sporting a flag-centric Mickey Mouse lapel pin and twinkling eyes, and exuding Hollywood charm, Lee Cockerell introduced himself to me, and the three others in my row; our reward for laying early claim to a seat in the lecture hall.

And just like that, the drama ofthe morning’s journey into the city, through torrential rain and hideous traffic, evaporated.

A former Disney executive and the keynote speaker of the May 17th VCU Center for Corporate Education ‘Leadership Strategies:  Creating Magic in Your Business’ event, Mr. Cockerell offered a peek behind the Disney curtain.  The hour-long conversation was peppered with stories, both funny and poignant, underlying the ten practical, common sense leadership principles that guided his own journey, and helped to create the Disney workplace environment, shaping it into one in which great leadership is evidenced at every level.

Turns out, creating magic in business is not so different from raising children to become magnificent citizens of the world: 

  • Appreciate. The power of a thank you is infinite.
  • Recognize. Acknowledge that each voice matters, and no one is invisible.
  • Encourage. We are each the owner of unique abilities and special talents -- find them, nurture them.

And that charm?  Clearly and delightfully authentic.