Monday, February 20, 2012

Disney Leadership Strategy 1: Everyone is Important

As part of our leadership module in MBA class, we had to read several books on leadership. One of my favorite books was entitled "Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney." And the first strategy is this: "Everyone is Important."

Disney, my Strategic Planning Professor told us, was a company that had no vision statement. All they had was a mission statement, but by that alone, they are a company that has a very good direction. Their mission is simple: to make people happy.

It's all about people. Your employees, not just your customers, need to be taken care of. They need to feel included. The company is as much theirs as it is yours. Leaders have to respect, appreciate and value everyone, from the Chief Executive Officer to the janitors. We have to make sure everyone matters, and make sure that everyone knows it.

Know your team. Take the time out to eat with them. Se how they're doing, not just in the job, but also in life. Also, let your team get to know you. Open up a little. Let them know you're a living breathing human being, too. When you greet people, do it sincerely. Reach out to everyone on your team. And make yourself available. When it comes to communication, listen to understand. No backstabbing, no complaining behind someone's back. And no late feedback. Communicate clearly, directly and honestly.

Stand up for the excluded. Care about people. Forget about the chain of command. Get off your high horse and BE part of the team, and not just someone who gives out orders. Don't micromanage. Give your people some freedom to be responsible for their own work. Design your culture. There is no need to conform to what society's standards are.

And very importantly, treat your people as you would want your customers to be treated.

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