The Practically Perfect Process: A Disney Inspired Approach for Finding and Fixing Problems


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Walt Disney once said, “Whenever I go on a ride, I’m always thinking of what’s wrong with the thing and how it can be improved.”

People think of Walt Disney World as a magical place. They admire the landscaping, enjoy the attractions, and marvel at the seemingly seamless delivery of service. What they don’t notice, because it is intentionally hidden, is the finely timed and choreographed process machine that makes the experience magical.

You might think that a creative person like Walt Disney would have disdained process. The opposite was true. He was obsessed with it. Animation was expensive. Codifying the animation process helped control costs. The trick was to standardize the process without stifling creativity. It was only natural that, when it came time for Walt to translate his movie empire into a live-action theme park, those parks would be driven by process.

Prior to building Disneyland, Walt Disney spent a prodigious amount of time identifying process issues. Disneyland solved those process issues in advance. And once opened, continuous efforts were made to improve the processes behind the experience. Walt called it “plussing,” and he was always looking for ways to plus the guest experience.

Process plussing is where the real magic happens, and organizations gain their customer service edge. Bad processes can be overcome by hard-working staff, but staff who do not feel supported by the organization eventually move to the competition. Bad processes also squander money, time, and morale while pushing frustrated customers away. Effective processes save money as they generate new revenue, make more effective use of employee time, improve employee morale, and turn average customers into devoted fans. To the customer, the experience appears as if by magic. But behind the scenes, it is a meticulously planned process that makes the magic

In this insightful session, Lenn Millbower, The Mouse Man™, pulls back the curtain so you can learn how Disney approaches process improvement. Attend this session and learn how to make your own process magic.

Participants Will Learn:

  • 3 underlying causes of most process issues.
  • Several examples of Disney process issues, solutions, and successes.
  • The leader’s role in delivering effective process plusses.
  • The critical importance employees play in fixing process issues.
  • A method for identifying, testing, and solidifying process improvements.

Who Should Attend:

  • Training and HR professionals
  • Managers and supervisors
  • Anyone interested in Disney 

Additional Resources:


Lenn Millbower

Lenn Millbower, the Mouse Man™ and author of Care Like a Mouse, teaches Walt Disney-inspired service, leadership, innovation, training, and success strategies. Everything Disney touched seems magical. It isn’t. It’s method. Lenn saw that method up close. He spent 25 years at Walt Disney World: Epcot Operations trainer, Disney-MGM Studios stage manager, Animal Kingdom opening crew, and Disney Institute, Disney University, and Walt Disney Entertainment management. Now he shares methodologies that will help you make your own magic. Connect with Lenn on LinkedIn, Twitter, and at


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The Practically Perfect Process: A Disney Inspired Approach for Finding and Fixing Problems


Hi, everyone, and welcome to today’s webinar, Practically Perfect Process: A Disney Inspired Approach for Finding and Fixing Problems, hosted by HRDQ-U, and presented by Lenn Millbower.


My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions, please type them into the question area on your GoToWebinar control panel, and we’ll answer as many as we can during today’s session.


Today’s webinar is sponsored by HRDQ-U Virtual Seminars. HRDQ-U virtual seminars are engaging soft skills training classes, with real-time interaction and expert trainers, enroll your organization’s learners in HRDQ-U virtual seminars, and let them develop the performance skills that they need from their home or office. And on any device from desktop to mobile. Learn more at


Now, I’d like to introduce our presenter today, Lenn Millbower, the mouse man and author of Care Like a Mouse, Lenn teaches Walt Disney inspired service, leadership, innovation, training, and success strategies.


Everything Disney attached to it seems magical, but it isn’t, it’s method and that method of close.


He spent 25 years at Walt Disney World as an operations trainer, Disney MGM Studios, Stage Manager, Animal Kingdom opening crew and was part of Disney Institute, Disney University and Walt Disney Entertainment Management. Lenn shares methodologies that will help you make your own magic.


It’s an honor to have you speaking with us today, Lenn.


It’s always good to be back with you, Sarah. We have such a good time with these. So, let’s dive in.


This photo was taken on September 11, 2001.


September 11, 2001.


Was a terrible day.


That is, of course the day The Tower’s came down and in 2002 on that same day at Disney’s, Hollywood studios, everything stopped to remember the people who had died in that terrible situation.


The thing that was interesting about that situation from a Disney standpoint, from a process standpoint, is Disney had lots of processes in place for how to evacuate people from a park or from an area on a park.


In and different situations obviously, they’d never had this kind of situation, but it was determined that Disney itself might be a terrorist attack. So they evacuated all for parks within a couple hours. They got about 80,000 people out of those parks. And back to the hotels and it all worked and the reason it worked was because Disney’s had the process nailed down. Now, if you want to know a little more about this as a, as a handout, we’ve attached my blog post from HR D Q, that talks about the evacuation for that day. But the point is that you, once you have processes in place, you can handle almost anything that’s thrown at you.


So, before we start, I would just like to ask your observations about how Disney deliver service and of course, we’re, we’re leaning towards processes we go on, but general observations will help us and they can be good observations, they can be bad observations. I’ll turn it over to Sarah though, so she can explain how we’re going to do this.


Yes, so you can type your response into the Questions box, and we can share some of the responses that we received today.


Katie said they always put the customer first.


Sean said, it’s a fun place to go.


What else do we got? Type your responses into the questions box, up, here they come.


Luisina said, focus on magic, Mark says, Marx, Mark isn’t hearing anything off check with him momentarily.


And I said they used two symbols constantly, said, they call customers, guests.


Danielle said there is a presence.


Veronica said they are positive in their responses.


… said amazing processes, as she stayed at a Disney Resort, and everything worked like clockwork.


Sandra said they always seem to be very methodologies in their approach to customer service.


He said, over the top guest focus and we’ll read one more off here and from Marianne and she said, they need kids, I level even kids get world-class service.


You know that all seems very magical. But the reality is, it’s all process driven. As an example.


Just taking the last comment that was offered.


People who become cast members are trained.


So squat down to a child’s level.


That is part of the process of creating a child.


And everything Disney does is process and that’s where the magic comes from and it’s, it’s um, an unknown secret because you really don’t want to reveal your secrets. But if I had to describe how Disney does things that process And of course I’m a creature Walt Disney World where the four parts: Magic Kingdom, upper left, …, upper right, animal kingdom, and Hollywood studios.


And just a very quick bit about me, then we’ll move on, up in the upper left is my starting spot at the listening to the land boat ride. Lot more hair, and a lot less metal. Then I was deleted horizons, I got my management certificate, you can see me with the mouse pad, became a stage manager for Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.


Parade, Manager at Just MGM back when it was that then lost that spot. Became a character coordinator at Epcot and then moved into the training function.


Opened animal kingdom, as in charge of all entertainment training went to Disney Institute where I was the owner writer of Disney Approach to Quality service and Loyalty and eventually got the partners in Excellence Award, which is Lifetime Achievement for doing good things for the mouse.


OK, one other thing.


This is not a Disney presentation. I’m, yes, I work there.


Yes, I’m retired, these are my opinions, and I’m offering them and this fair of fair, fair use, and I would encourage you to take them, as my opinion. Not official Disney Opinion, because they’re not.


So let’s talk about method.


This is, of course, pretty cov, and hopefully, this will come back, but this is the opening ceremony for the magic kingdom.


And they would run this every day, right before they opened the park.


And it looks very magical. It’s a 10-minute ceremony.


But here’s what was actually going on overnight the costumes for the characters so you can see some of them up there.


The guests’ relations personnel, and they’re up there in spot. And the actors were all pressed and prepared for the day, search if custodial hose down.


the train station kept them nice and clean at 8 AM excuse me, at 6 AM.


The horticultural staff was out in front of the train station, pulling weeds and prepping the Micky Floral that is below this picture at 7:30, the tunnels beneath the magic kingdom, the customer personnel prep, the character performers, wigs, and costumes, performers, participated in warmups. And the princess’s began applying makeup and donning the Whigs previously combed out for them.


So at eight o’clock, one hour before opening, the stage manager verified all personnel were on site and made any required replacements. The character performers finished warmups and were transported to their dressing location, where their costumes had been preset.


The character, attendance, to assist the characters and the customers fixed any last-minute customer issues and provided … talks as necessary.


At 8 30 tickets personnel, shared the number of guests waiting.


With this, they shared that with the stage manager. Stage manager verified the technicians had the sound working. Operations personnel reported that the train was ready, the train move forward to the staging area, and so did the performers.


Guess what relations then selected a family of the day and escorted them up to the train station, and slightly to the left of the center of the picture, is the family of the day.


They had the stage manager called a half-hour warning, a 15-minute, 10-minute, five minutes.


And then and nine o’clock with the performers, zip wigs, and on the train, station manager began the show. The engineer fired up the whistle, the train which forward the audio cue played, and another magical day began.


Now all this activity took place during with many different departments to support a 10-minute ceremony to the guest it was magic, to designate it was process, followed and methodical order day after day after day.


So, that’s a little window into how the process works.


Let’s talk about how some of this might be helpful to you.


Now, Michael Carroll, like a mouse, suggests that there are three keys to effective customer service.


They are message, interaction, and context.


And the messages serving a purpose that people relate to, the interaction is how you talk to and relate to people, which is something you mentioned earlier. And context is the process you follow to deliver that message and that interaction.


Today, we’re focused on the context part of that.


Now, there’s a lot of bad processes out there, and most organizations, including Disney, have some bad processes.


Often those processes are result of management, convenience, response, so one offs, meaning somebody did something one time.


So we have a new policy, a lack of responsiveness to issues, an ancient fossilization, because it’s always been done that way. My question for you is, have you seen any of these, and which of these have you most?


And, Sarah, can you describe for us?


Yeah, so.


There we go. We have responses coming through. I flew on, just one has a poll.


There we are, the poll is now launched, so you can take a few moments there, and you can select one or more of the following responses.


We’ll give everybody just about a min or so.


OK, great, and I will share the results. Results are now up on the screen.


Oh, look at Fossilization!


I want to say, I particularly hate the one offs when somebody posed to me a memo on the law that says effective immediately, and you know what’s happening is they’re killing somebody else out.


Yeah, that all exist in organizations, and organizations tend to be fossilized. That’s like the self-protection mode.


Grandma did it that way. So we’ll do it that way, too.


OK, now, here I have an acronym. I’m going to talk you through. This was what we’re going to do. The rest of the day, the acronym is prepare and I’m going to give you some steps and ideas for how you can be more effective at process and we’re going to start with plan.


Walt Disney once said, I’m convinced that there’s a scientific approach to this business and I think we shouldn’t give up until we found out all we can about how to teach his young fellows The business.


Now he was talking about the animation business in the early days, but you think of Walt, or many people do as a creative. The truth is he was very process driven to here’s some examples.


The Disney Studio cataloged over 2000 colors.


from their animations.


They kept a catalog of jokes, one point five million jokes and 120 forecasts classifications.


They came up with storyboarding. The idea was you’d put drawings on it on a cork board and you can see by these drawings what the animated film would look like because it costs too much money to animate things and then throw them out.


So you would decide and approve what this, what the flow of the film would be before you ever started. Animating.


And the storyboard did that they documented animation, particularly background animation, so they could re-use it. Because if you need a background seed with trees, there’s no point in painting a brand-new scene with trees every time you need one.


And when it came to the theme parks, Wald spent a lot of time investigating how crowds flowed and he identified those habits. And we’ll talk a bit more about that in a minute.


And they kept statistics on all the attractions and the ones that weren’t working.


They tried to plus to make them better, or eventually, they took them out.


So Disney was very process driven. Now, here’s one small world example.


The folks on the right are exiting the small world, right?


The folks on the left are entering this might not seem like a big deal, but it was revolutionary. Nary when he introduced it. And what it did was cut down the time that a boat was just sitting at the dock not being used just seconds.


So within a 32nd window, a new boat could be launched, or a new bunch of riders would be on a boat in launch. And it helped guess more gas, get on the ride, and increased the number of people will be saved per hour.


Now, let’s just make process a bunch of princesses and characters sitting around a table.


No, it wasn’t really. It was more like this.


This these are two examples of the process of creating a film at Walt Disney Productions. And while it was always creative in how we did things, so he was trying a lot of different things, so they went through several different processes.


But here are two different examples.


You can see is very meticulous in the flow of how things get done because again, it costs a lot of money to create these films and, and if you’re just kind of chaotic leave flying by the seat of your pants, you’d be spending a lot of money that, frankly, Walton half.


There are other examples of how important planning is.


No fireworks. Literally come on a slow, slow boat from China.


It would be unsafe to fly them.


So they are boded across the ocean, and that means that the fireworks have to be ordered almost a year in advance.


So, Disney needs to know in advance how late the parks will be open, are actually which nights the parks will have fireworks for the year.


And then they order.


That requires a lot of advanced planning, and the process is lengthy for getting it here.


There’s also a lengthy process for setting the parks’ up, for the holidays.


I have a question for you. How many Christmas trees do you think Disney sets up every November?


Poll here so you can take a guess, I guess denial is incorrect.


And, again, we’ll give you about a min or so to submit your response.


OK, great, I’ll share the results now.


We’ve got a pretty, but pretty smart bunch of attendees here today, And the answer is actually 900, approximately 900.


And here’s some of the statistics.


900 trees, 100,000-point status, 13, 50 reefs, 7.5 miles of Garland, and eight point five million lights. Now, imagine setting all that up in a week or two.


I mean, you know, how hard is if you celebrate Christmas, how hard it is just A setup one tree and Disney is setting up 900 of well they have a whole building devoted to decorating the parks and all the resorts and all the backstage areas all the offices.


And it’s called holiday services.


And what holiday services does is, as soon as a bulletin will take the Christmas season, as soon as the Christmas holiday season is done, they take everything down.


They catalog what worked about the setup, what did not work, what items were fragile, and needed, needed to be replaced with something else, what lights were out, what other things needed to be done, and they document all that.


And then they spend the rest of the year refurbishing everything that was put on display for that month and a half in November, December.


And meanwhile setting up for all the other holidays like Independence Day and Halloween.


So they’re handling, not just that one holiday, but the entire year. And each year, they pull out the process. Because they need to know exactly where they’re going to need the tractor trailers, the forklifts, the different lights and decorations delivered to them have that all mapped out months in advance so they can, overnight change out the parks. And it’s pretty magical. Especially at the hotels like the grand flirting.


You go to bed and there’s no tree.


You wake up the next morning and there’s a 100-foot-tall tree in the lobby.


Holy cow, how did they do that?


Well, they did that with process.


So, my plan suggestions for you are have a structure and a flow in place.


Keep that structure loose. So you know what you’re doing, but you can improvises needed.


Plan, way, way in advance and document what you do, and improve the process each and every time you do it, that’s planned.


Now, let’s move on to research and I alluded to this before, wanted a lot of research and in this photo, you can see him tinkering with the train in his backyard.


You might think that it doesn’t make sense for a business leader, a very influential and necessary business leader for his organization to be spending his days tinkering with trainings, but what was actually doing in the late forties’ early fifties, I was playing around with an idea.


What if they had a train that went around the studio?


Well, that wouldn’t be fun.


But what would they do once the people got off the train?


While the studio didn’t have room for something, maybe they could go across the street and through a series of thought processes that led them to Disneyland.


And so when Walt decided he was going to build Disneyland, he went to every amusement park every museum, every festival he could find one of the places CWA, what’s Knott’s Berry Farm am not very farmhand.


He and his team watch the crowd flow.


They looked at the foods that people bought and didn’t buy. They looked at wait times.


They looked at, they even looked at how long people would walk with trash before they threw it to the ground. And they put all that into other parts.


Now, the answer to that trash question, 26 steps.


So if you look at this picture you can see a trashcan in the foreground. A trash can in the middle on the left. The trashcan, farther back where those fellows walk in and a trashcan all the way back at the right.


There’s literally a trashcan every 25 or 26 feet, because that’s how long people will walk, takes our process. By the way, the trash cans now tell the custodians when they’re getting full.


So in the old days, the custodians had to go to each trashcan and open the lid just to check them.


Now, they can go directly to where they’re needed because the trash cans communicate electronically.


The research didn’t stop. Once the parks were built, they continue surveying.


These two photos are of 2, 2 members of the Walt Disney World Research team asking questions of, of guests in the park.


And those questions could be things like, what attractions did you do? What time did you get here? How long were the waits for you?


What other things would you like to see? Where are you from, where you stay and how many in your party?


There’s another thing that you have to research, and this is something that I had some experience with as a stage manager at a ladder at Disney MGM studios.


Occasionally, I would get called braid Aladdin’s rail Caravan.


Well, if you’re going to run apart, a parade through the park, you better know that the floats are going to fit.


And you can’t rehearse this parade during the middle of the day, So you have to do it overnight.


So, we did plenty of rehearsals where there was lots of planning and, and time to test out what would work and what won’t work before the guest ever saw the Great.


So research suggestions allow time for noodling and thinking as well. Well, tinkering vessel wall was done with the train.


Explore how others do similar things, so that you can do it better.


Examine every aspect of the situation.


The problem, the thing you want to do, before you even begin: Don’t just try it, and continually seek customer feedback.


OK, that’s plan research, now we’ll talk about education.


Disney goes to a pretty great lengths with education and this idea comes from a wall.


As his brother said, he was obsessed with the idea of life, you continually go to school. You never reach any flat tau for finished perfection, any practice that?


Now here’s some examples, you could be the best animator in the world, like the New York animators all hiring on to work at Disney in California.


Well, even though you were renowned for your animation, if you hired on a Disney, you went through training.


So that you can animate things the … way.


Now, some of that training was, like, for instance, when they were doing bambi, they brought live deer into the studio, That’s the picture on the left.


Walt would act out the part.


Now, this is the upper right is him acting out apart from probably Stromboli, from Pinnochio. And you can see the storyboard behind him.


And what would personally work with people one-on-one too.


And his way of working with people wasn’t too to suggest they hadn’t done saying things right. It was to inspire them to do even more than they thought they could.


So all those techniques were such that, while I actually got angry, because there wasn’t a place, you could train people in, in the creative arts like animation.


So here’s money and his efforts.


He got the California Institute of the Arts launched, and that school is still in existence. So he was huge on training and development.


Now one of the things Disney does is they train people on the big picture first. And the big picture is your job is to create happiness. So here’s this marvelous cast member from Disney’s Hollywood studios. And she has this trash can on wheels at the front of the trashcan, has tends for pinch trading on it.


And she clearly knows her job is not just picking up trash. It’s making people happy. Look at that smile on her when all I simply said was, Can I get a picture?


And this doesn’t start when you’re in the parks’, it starts before you’re hired.


When you go to the casting building at Walt Disney World, they specifically ask you questions like, are you OK with not having visible tattoos larger than your hand?


Do you have transportation?


How do you feel about making people happy, how dedicated are you to customer service, they keep, they keep prodding, they keep asking the same questions over and over. The idea is to get people to self-select either in or out.


By the time you’re done with casting.


You’re either thinking, this is a place I absolutely want to be, or these people are weird. I don’t want to be here.


And once you’re finished with Casting and hired, you go to Disney University, which is the Corporate University, and it’s where a class called Traditions is taught.


And Traditions, which, what you’re going to do in the context of the larger picture of the Walt Disney Company and what the Walt Disney Company tries to do to make people happy and create the most magical experiences of a lifetime.


Then when you get to your area, you’ll have a trainer who shows you how making people happy applies in your area.


And a little thing here, Samantha, is the trainee. And she has a red ribbon on her that says, earning my ears.


That is an intentional strategy as well.


So the guests don’t beat up Samantha wanting to know things that Samantha doesn’t know yet because she’s brand new.


It creates a lot of camaraderie between the guests and the new cast member because frankly some of those gaps are areas that she’s getting training there and it takes Samantha off the hook. And if there is a problem, Trainer Joe is standing right next to her to help her up.


So of course, we would think that the dancers’ singers, character performers, know that performing is their purpose and they’re making people happy by doing it.


But there are they every day, average cast member, is also looped into this, making people happy. and they do it through something called performance theming.


Now some of the locations don’t recommend themselves for performance theming.


But these two locations do, and what’s interesting is the two women are actually inside of each other across the street.


On the left is a Merchandized hostess in the Haunted Mansion Merchandized shop, and it’s hard to see it in the picture, but she’s holding dead roses.


And when I asked her to smile for a picture, she took me back to this picture of the ghost with the scalp skull, and that’s as much of a smile as I could get out of her.


Meanwhile, across the aisle, is this woman on the left, on the right. Ring in her color. Spell and holler, and come and get it fully serve, Erin or grand old time.


And these people are, it’s not that the one on the left is really gloomy, and the one on the right is really bubbly.


They are portraying their role in the show, their performance theme.


I actually had an opportunity through Martin Lindstrom found me and brought me in to Lowes Foods.


And Lowes Foods was going to remake there their shopping experience, into something that people would want to go to, and they wanted to do the Disney of shopping, of grocery shopping.


And they had these departments setup and you can see behind these beasts, employees, the different departments that, as if they were shopped in a town and you were entering this town that never was and always will be.


So what I did was gave these performers, if you will, personalities.


Now the guy on the right, he’s got the chicken kitchen, The checking kitchen is a party Hardy crew. That dances every time check them comes out of the oven and why do they dance?


Because the chicken is so good, it just makes you on a dance.


Meanwhile, the sausage professors on the left, are kind of like the guys from the Big Bang Theory geeky. They have fun, but they’re very geeky about it. And they’re very serious about sausage.


And they don’t understand why the chicken people get their own datsun, sausage doesn’t get a dance. They just don’t understand that. So you can see the guy in the center is holding a rubber chicken above the head of the other one.


And so this turn from normal grocery shopping into entertaining grocery shopping.


So it can actually work, It’s a question of knowing what your purpose is and getting your employees involved. So here’s some tips focused training on actualizing purpose.


Establish a mandatory training baseline like this is what you must get.


So an example of this is if I’m a merchandise leader NH shop in Epcot and I need an employee that employee is not going to get to me for two weeks because they have to go through all this training. So that they are dissatisfied by the time they hit the store.


And that’s the third bullet, and then involve every employee, in the show, they’re all part of the show, not just the guy who’s an entertainer.


Plan, research, educate, prioritize.


Those of you who’ve attended my sessions before, know that Disney has four priorities courtesy: Efficiency Safety Show, they’ve recently added inclusion, because they want everyone to feel welcome, that, isn’t it?


But my question for you is, these are in alphabetical order. What do you think is the correct order?


And I’ll turn it over to Sarah for this poll.


Yeah, so, again, we’ll give you about a min here to submit your answer.


Some responses coming in about 10 more seconds, share the results.


I always find these polls interesting.


All right let’s share those results. There we go.


It’s a number four.


Now it’s interesting that efficiency scores so high because some organizations seem to behave as if efficiency is what really, really matters.


And it’s actually the least in Disney’s lexicon. Let me go ahead a slide.


This is the current slide they have shared with all their employees and like I said, inclusion is the new add, but they call them the five Keys.


Let’s go back to our lovely lady.


Work in the three. She has worked in the. This is at the land pavilion in front of the restaurant.


And let’s offer an example of how she might handle something.


She currently doesn’t have a table.


So she’s sharing there was some pins for pin trading, it’s a courtesy thing in and in and among itself.


Prioritize safety is the most important.


So let’s say she’s talking to us and she notices an ice spill on the ramp behind her.


She is immediately going to say to us, Listen, I sorry I want to hear what you have to say.


However, there’s a safety concern, I need to go fix that and I’ll be right back.


So then she would go do whatever she had to do to get someone to fix it or to fix it herself and then she would come back.


So let’s say it’s napkins spill on the tap on the floor.


Is it a safety concern?


Now this little paper cocktail napkins nobody’s going to trip over.


Is that a courtesy concern only if she ignores the guests she’s talking to?


And that could also be an inclusion too.


Thing to its shape, it is a show issue.


So because it’s a show issue, she will finish her conversation with those guests and then go pick up the napkins.


Now notice efficiency was Lasse, because the way Disney describes it.


Efficiency is the result when you practice safety, courtesy and inclusion and show.


So that’s why it’s last for them.


Some of the organizations I’ve worked for have come up with their own variations and it’s really interesting.


I tried mightily to get these people not to use safety courtesy show and efficiency, and they still ended up with something very similar.


And so, here we have a grocery chain, a hospital system, and a utility company, and they found that these, these things work for them. You want to take it would work for a healthcare organization, but safety has to be number one and they’re scored on how courteous they are.


So, that would be number two.


Lee Cockerel wasn’t Executive Vice President at Walt Disney World.


And he, several years ago offered an example to us of how these priorities were not just at the frontline, but in the executive suite.


For the year 2000, they’re going to have millennium name tags.


Well, the problem was, they had forgot the budget for change it out the name tags, as you can see by several name tags here. They changed every year.


And it was going to cost $70,000 to replace the name tags. So that they would say 2000, like you see in the lower left.


So, we thought, this isn’t safety concern? No.


It occurs, this concern, no inclusion, no, Is it a shell concern? Yes.


It was last year, Shill, what was on the name tag?


This year’s show needed to be 2000.


So, they spent the $70,000 in spite of the fact not being in the budget.


Now, would have been more efficient to not spend that money, but show is important, more important than efficiency.


And I would also suggest to you the way Disney treated its cast members, during the covert crisis, was directly related to these priorities. Disney, is these priorities to make every decision they make?


now, I’d like to zero in a little bit more on show, because that’s one that they, employees themselves, can have a huge impact on, because the manager can’t be everywhere.


Here, you have two pictures of a train.


The picture on the right is what I would call a show, here. Meaning, it looks right backgrounds, right, the train us, right?


But the picture on the left, you’re actually seeing the roundhouse, where the trains go to bed at night. And, if you look over the top of the train, you can see the monorail track. So, we don’t like, yes, see in that, that’s shown this. So, if against us seeing that, they’re not seeing what they should sit.


Cast members can spot, show hits and show mess.


And, in fact, the Disney cruise line took this to the highest level possible with this attitude, day one. And what that attitude means is the ship, every day will look as good as the day it rolled out. It will be in day one shape.


It takes a lot of effort and most organizations, frankly, are filled with show misses.


I drive my wife, crazy.


I’m always taking these photos, just because they’re such excellent examples of what you’re doing wrong and is communicating that service in a show on this. This is a doctor’s office. Do you think these people really want to talk to anyone?


You can’t even see the employees it. If you don’t want them, seen, put a wall there.


But don’t cheat. But there isn’t got a phone book out there so that people can call their doctor if there’s an issue.


So that’s a show mess.


Here’s an SEO mess. This is a pet hospital.


Now, it’s nice that they got all these compliments, but if you look closer at the complementary or chaotic way, just laptop there, some of them are folding.


I’m great Lane, like, look at Snoopy, there’s and if you, if your random, some of these were from over a year before, what is that communicating about the quality of care you’re going to get?


It’s communicating that a year ago was really good, but have things fallen into disrepair.


And the veterinarian and the vet’s assistance see this every day because they’re looking at the customer and talking to them about their animal.


But yet, it never seems to get changed.


Then, this wasn’t a hospital.


I thoroughly don’t understand this.


This is a real show mess use for current patients only.


What do you use for past patients or future patients?


Yeah, oh, would you use it for and please do not use the word broken.


And torn off, Franklin lettering just looks terrible.


Here’s another show, mezz courtesy of our post Office.


Please do not drop large packages into the mailbox. This causes our mailbox; they get jammed and our booth demurs.


Try to mail letters are unable due to the partial obstructing the mailbox.


Another one.


This is a holiday indoor, and it’s on the inside of the room.


And I find that’s really ironic courses, is because they’ve probably got more stringent standards now, but I find it ironic that the door tag says stay relaxed. And then you see all these fingerprints on the door. And, oh, did I mentioned there are not my fingerprints there from the last several patrons who stayed in that room.


What’s that say, about the quality of the cleaning of the room?


And then there’s this You see this in training Entities all the time. In fact, this wasn’t a teacher training facility.


And I must close that door 10 times a day, and each time it got re-opened.


And then, finally, one of my favorite restaurants, the outback Steak House.


This looks marvelous, just wonderful, but it isn’t, really.


These ecolab supplies were there when we walked in, and they were still there when we left.


So if the ecolab supplies are in the lobby, what’s it in the kitchen?


And how clean is that?


And doesn’t he go to great lengths to hide everything they can’t fix?


Beyond that, they encourage their employees to constantly step up and say, see that’s a show mess.


And if you’re, if you’re relating patterns, or you don’t like that much, but if you’re a good manager, you really like it, because they can things look in tip top shape.


So here we are prioritized suggestions, know your service expectations, prioritize, communicate, and live by those expectations aggressively maintain the show ever award employees who deliver priorities.


Now, another thing I want to say about maintaining the show, the reason that is so important is because if the message sent from leadership is we don’t care about the show that the employees get start not caring about the show. And that spills over into not caring about customer service, and ultimately not caring about safety.


So show is one of the keys to making sure that you maintain a magical environment, plan, research, educate, prioritize, except, OK you can’t get everything, right.


Some things just go wrong.


And the thing to do, in that case, is a step up.


Here’s a personal story.


When I was brand-new at Disney, I was working on the, listen to the Lambo, right, and eventually I became a temporary lead.


Lead was like an hourly employee, like a foreman, responsible for the area.


Now, at some point in the evening, I have to fill out what was called an op shane operation sheet.


So I had to go in the office to do that.


And I chose the wrong time to leave the dock.


I left a former trainee of mine in charge and told her to take forebodes off the canal.


Unfortunately, I did not tell or there was one person on crew that she could not use for that.


The reason I didn’t tell her that was because it was a secret, that this person had had several accidents with equipment, and was on there on their last legs with the company.


So, the employee I put in charge sent that person back to take books off the canal.


That person damaged the switch gate that took the boats off the canal and the person with the clipboard was going to be a major trouble for it and I was too, I immediately said, do not pick on murr, It’s not her fault, it’s mindful.


And that was my next to the last day as a temporary lead.


The next three months were miserable, because I thought I had thoroughly screwed this up, but then magically I got promoted.


And when they promoted me, they told me it wasn’t because they saw anything while I was a temporary lead, because they didn’t see enough to really know anything about me, enough about me to promote me.


It was how I behaved when things went bad.


You step up, you take the blame. You do what you can.


There was a situation you may have heard about it.


Were the alligator tragically got hold of a child outside of I believe it was the grand floridian hotel and that child died.


Bob Iger was, the CEO was in Shanghai, China about the roll out, the new Shanghai, just an inland, and rather than say, I’m busy and fostering off what needed to be done to others, he called the family, personally.


He talked to them, personally. He had people working with them, helping them.


They won on a frantic search for that child.


They, they looked and then there are no sure they found the gator, but they remove carriers.


Now I should explain that gators were protected species in Florida and Walt Disney World is a wildlife preserve so Disney could not control the gators.


They couldn’t just say, well, let’s go catch him and kill a bunch of gators because they’re a wildlife preserve, so law won’t allow them to do it.


However, in the 30 some odd years of the Disney world complex being open, there has never been an incident like this, so although unfortunately there was no.


So, they took care of that family and then they can never replace the child, but they did everything they could. They stepped up. They took the way. They put these kinds of fencing and rocks at every page on property.


They got a special permission to remove some gators.


And they basically, they took ownership of it made things is better as they could be in a really terrible situation.


They did the same thing for during …. When the parents were close, you might think they were closed. They actually weren’t close. They were working around the clock.


They were coming up with new ways to run the Disney experience while still well, definitely providing safety or been inclusive well, being a good show will be incurred is and certainly inefficient.


So some of the things they did, they limit the attendance. you had to have the events working.


They required face baths, temperature screening.


They worked it out.


So that still that security no longer had to dig through your bags, that transactions could be cashless that you could order food without touching a manual and pick it up by yourself without anyone Hannan, until you they spaced out the queues and the rise. They put barriers and they limited loading. They change Live Entertainment; they did all this stuff that fit the five keys.


So here’s some excepts suggestions, step up, Use your priorities as a guide, commonly focused on fixing the problem, and worry about the blame later.


That’s how you decide how this can’t happen.


Again, plan, research, educate, prioritize, accept, refine.


So, it’s not enough suggest doing it once.


But my question for you is, do you have that process improvement focus?


And does your organization focus on process improvement always, often, occasionally, rarely.


And we’ll give you about a min here to submit your answer before we share those results.


OK, Fantastic.


Now the results are on the screen.


Well, that’s not bad.


Often, 36% is a pretty good percentage.


I would suggest to you that Disney’s true magic comes from this process improvement.


And I’m going to offer an example or two here.


There’s this marvelous story about Walt Disney. The quarter cultures came to him and planned that Guests were trampling flowers.


Walt said Well, no, I thought trampolines are those flowers. They’re doing that because I have a reason to do that. You need to pay that as a walkway and put your flowers elsewhere.


So what was smart in doing what his customers told?


Now, the examples of process improvement are small, and they’re big. Here’s a small example.


In the foreground of this picture, there are two ladies in black.


one has what I think is a Harley Davidson logo on her back and the other has a pink morone backpack.


You look between them, that looks like a curve.


And if you follow the line of people and look farther on, you will see there definitely is a curb over on the other side.


However, what was happening is guests were walking into the park. This is Main Street USA, looking up around them, not looking down, and they would trip over the curb.


So, it’s no longer occur.


It’s now a ramp, continuous little improvements like this happen all the time. Why was this improvement done?


For efficiency, it would cost money, but safety is the most important. So it was done and courtesy is second important and you can’t have a good day if you’ve broken your ankle.


Mickey used to be trained differently in each of the parks.


Now, is that madness or what?


There’s one, Mickey Mouse so why would you train them for different ways?


So Disney combined their training into one global training.


We had a situation where bartenders were banned ads to serve up fish and chips because the patrons couldn’t get a reservation in the Reznor.


So what would happen is they would approach the restaurant. I’d like fish and chips. Oh, well.


Sorry, you have a reservation? No, I don’t, OK, go into the pub.


And the bartender will place your order.


And then the bartender, reject the order and say, Wait in the corner up here. And the patron will usually say, No, I’m not. I’m not waiting in this bar with my kids and late.


In business process improvement, a bartender’s spoke up and said, you know, we have a problem here.


And what Disney did, and here’s the sequence they identify the problem by identifying it, because the bartender said it, they bought Clipboards. And they had the hostess at the restaurant and the bartenders Hashmark anytime somebody asked the fish and chips.


So that by seeing the numbers, there was a clarify that this really was a problem, they then decided to try something.


They put a small outdoor food cart in place, not this building you see, here was a small cart, and they implemented that, and sales were brisk.


They put a slightly bigger spot in place than bigger than bigger and they evaluated at an aside, it was worth doing. So they built the building you see here.


And then they sustained it with this building and share their success with the rest of the company. And a pizza party for the bartender and the other employees in the UK pavilion.


Now that’s this little fish and chips cart.


Made an extra one point three million dollars for the company in its first year of existence, and that’s how a process improvement can help.


one other example, very quickly, the strollers, people would rent, did not fall.


So the rental for the strollers was under the train station.


Then people would rush to the train station and find they couldn’t take their father, their strollers with them.


Wasn’t feasible to just throw out all those strollers and buy new strollers. So, finally, what they realized was that what people were actually renting was not a stroller, but access to a stroller.


And the back of the strollers, what would happen, is you run a stroller, and they’d write your name on a card and slip that card into the stroller.


So what they decided to do, it was ingenious, the train engineers, Conductor’s personnel, would tell the guest, to take their current, from the back of the stroller, take all their stuff, get on the train, and they had other strollers place that the other stations, So all you’d have to do, is flip your card into the back of the stroller.


In that way they save thousands of dollars and thousands of guest complaints.


Disney isn’t the only wanted to do process. This is interesting from Lowes Foods. This is the process steps they put in place for how to greet and welcome a guest. Now, one of your earlier asked squatting down to talk to kids. Disney has a similar process for us how to talk the guest, and part of that is squatting down a kid.


Then the other thing about continuous improvement is ideas can spring up from anywhere.


Now, I can’t take any real credit for this, but what I can say is, when I was on the opening crew for Animal Kingdom, they were face painting children to look like Tigers and Lions.


And I went to my entertainment manager.


And I said, you know, we should do face painting of princesses in the park.


She thought that was a good idea to check the merchandise. Merchandized said, Yeah, somebody else has said that. Let us work on it.


They got a team together, they went away.


And they, came back two years later, was something called …, Poverty Boutique. Now, this is the boutique on the Disney fantasy cruise ship, So all the parks at the Cruise ships and it is giving young girls makeovers as parenthesis and young boys makeovers of pirates are girls a sprint.


Pirates’ invoices, French’s, depending on what they want.


But the point is, this is a, this is a mega revenue generator for the company.


And it all started because people like me weren’t afraid to go to a leader and give them an idea.


So, refine suggestions, codify the response for every situation, develop an aggressive pleasant process, plus everything, every time, and encourage and bill Anoop blessing ideas, OK?


We’re almost home, plan, research, educate, prioritize, except you’re fine and engage.


Now, while saw his role as coordinating the orchestra, he, she said they’re all talented, but they need to be clubbed together.


And this is what a leader needs to do is engage. one way you engage is by doing what, what would do.


It wouldn’t stand by somebody who wanted to pick up trash.


Because he’d do it himself, and as you can see by these ladies, there’s their managers at The Hollywood Studios.


They’ve got their grabbers in hand; we’re still picking up trash.


The formula Disney uses is a great leader.


Delivers a satisfying cast member experience, satisfied cast members, deliver a satisfying guest experience, and that results in business crafts, and that’s the formula.


So Disney leaders are expected to be positive, knowledgeable, and accountable and expected that they work for their team members. The team members don’t work for them.


In fact, we’ll walk toward his guys through Disneyland.


The first time they asked where the infestation Bill was going to be. He said: No, there’s not going to be any in administration, building. I don’t want you sitting behind us, and I want you out in the park watching the people and finding out what you can do to make the place more enjoyable for them.


And to this day, later, swap the parks, and this is at Disney Springs and the guy in the center is the, was at that point in charge of Walt Disney World.


And the guy to his right was in charge of Disney’s still is in charge of Disney Parks everywhere, that Josh Tomorrow, and Jeff Viale Valleys on the Left, and they are walking in the park, but they’re actually doing their one-on-one meeting, meeting, agreeing with each other while they’re walking.


So just a question for you, a quick one. Do your leaders walk in, other words, do you see your leaders out there, and how often do you see them out there?


You can type your response into the Questions box.


We have a rarely.


Know, Yeah, it seems to me, I’m not very much, rarely only at events. We do have one person that said often up to people that said very often, look for your, you should price your managers for doing that. Because if you look at this slide, how can you get the guy on the right to address in this silly costume?


If the manager, who’s the guy on the left, it’s not demonstrating that behavior, and by the way, this manager is doing that at nine AM in the morning, right after that train ceremony.


I had the photo, so you have to demonstrate. Now here’s an example from Dalton Utilities, When Mark Button or Gotten in Charge of The Sewage group, the first thing he did was and spent two weeks in the sewers with the guys lay in pipe.


Boy, they still rave about him.


He’s the favorite leader of most of that company, because he was with his piece.


So here’s some engage suggestions, treat employees like customers, take walks, do what you expect others to do, and be positive knowledgeable and accountable.


Now, while onset, in this volatile business of ours, we can ill afford to rest on our laurels. Times and conditions change so rapidly. That we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.


And process improvement is, what does that, but what can do that for you, anywhere in the future? How can you apply what we’ve talked about today? Or maybe you already do it and can do more of it?


Chair, chatbot is this.


Yes, so you can type your response into the chat box or the questions box, and then we can share some of your responses.


Let’s see here.


Don’t be shy. You can type your responses, and there we go. Here they come. All right. We have treated employees as customers and do the Vault walk.


Always look for ways to improve current processes.


Hmm, right?


Being prepared, lead from my position.


Instead of waiting until I get to an upper level, not sure I could jump in on that because that is a critical point.


Because you’ve got managers got leaders. Anyone can be a leader at any spot in the organization and your behavioral ripples outwards like throwing a stone and little water. So, by all means, do that. Be a leader wherever you are.


Yeah, just a few more here, we had, share with other members of the team, improve our new Employee Orientation Program, make the process better every time you do it and model the behavior you expect from others.


So, I’d like to just talk about orientation for a minute.


National Orientation Programs are a wasted opportunity because they spend a lot of time on here so I can get you fired, and here’s your locker and keys and where you get your paycheck. What they should really be about, yes, you’ve got to cover that stuff, but it should be covered within the context of, how do you deliver purpose.


So, when I design orientations for Animal Kingdom, for Epcot, what I asked at the start was, What’s your purpose? Why are you here? And have them draw why they’re here.


And then we explain the purpose of the park, because each part has its own theme and purpose and point of view, it’s, trying worse. And now, we walk around the park, and see that purpose in action, and we would also see where the lockers in the case, and all that stuff is and what you need to know it or not.




Get yourself fire, but at the end, we would ask, OK, you know, your purpose, you know, our purpose. How do you align? And that’s really what an orientation should be about. Not just logistics.


So some other ways you can focus on the future, these are the parks and watch, and you’ll see these techniques using managers honored about everywhere.


I have a newsletter called Micky Snaps, you can find that it kind of like a mouse. Every other week. I send out some tips on what Disney does.


I’d love to talk to you.


Just e-mail me.


You could take the book care like a mouse home and really, really dive into it.


Most importantly, keep attending these HRDQ-U events because there’s some real learning that takes place, and share the best practices you got from this, and those events, and everywhere else, with others.


And today’s webinar is sponsored by HRDQ-U Virtual Seminars. Be sure to check out our curriculum of more than 80 virtual instructor led online seminars. You can go to for more information. And make sure that you join us on your favorite social media site for quick access to all of our latest webinar events on blog posts.


You can find us at HRDQ-U. That is all the time we have for today. Thank you all for participating. And thank you for joining us.


Well, thank you, Sarah, and thank you, everybody, for attending.


I only have one thing to say, and that’s hopefully someday soon. I’ll see you real soon.

© 2021 HRDQ-U. All rights reserved.


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