Growing up, many of us had dreams of Disney. Whether or not we made it to one of its dozen or so theme parks, Disney will always have an aura of magic around it. For Dan Cockrell, that magic turned him into a leader.
Who is Dan Cockrell?
Dan started his journey as part of the Disney College Program, where he parked cars in the Florida heat all summer. After that first summer, he joined the Disneyland Paris Management Trainee Program and was part of the team responsible for opening Disneyland Paris.
Dan held several leadership positions while there, but he left Paris after five years and returned to Florida, where he held a variety of executive roles at the Walt Disney World Resort both in the theme parks and resort hotels. Dan spent almost the last decade of his 26-year Disney career as vice president of EPCOT, then vice president of Disney’s Hollywood Studios, and eventually vice president of the Magic Kingdom, where he led 12,000 cast members and entertained over 20 million guests annually.
What can Dan Cockrell teach me about leadership?
Through his time at Disney, Dan has learned many lessons in leadership. One thing Dan has said is, “As leaders, it is within our control and our responsibility to create the right culture for our organizations. It is also the most important thing you can do for the success of those with whom you interact.” Dan believes there are four parts to becoming a great leader:
Leading yourself: Managing your physical well-being, mental fitness, moral fitness, organization, prioritization, and planning skills.
Leading teams: Selecting and retaining new talent, managing relationships, setting expectations, capitalizing on reward and recognition, and giving effective feedback.
Leading organizations: Setting an organizational vision, developing a strategy, determining quality standards, establishing training, furthering employee and company development, setting and adjusting measurement indicators, practicing accessibility and approachability, and learning to partner and collaborate.
Leading change: Setting a pattern of continuous improvement, bringing change, charting new waters, and encouraging creativity and innovation.
Learn the Disney stories behind and details for each of these objectives in Dan’s book, How’s the Culture in Your Kingdom?, published by MyEducator.
How can I give my company more value and vision through my leadership?
Dan is serious about his leadership responsibilities. He believes in leading by example and has tried every job at Disney once (even housekeeping). He believes in “appreciating the value of different talent, team collaboration, trust, setting an example, and the importance of relationships.”
Dan believes one of the secrets to Disney and other successful companies is that they “demonstrate the will to always get better. They consistently improve upon an already top-performing organization while setting a new vision and new goals for the employees.”
How can I learn more about these and other secrets to successful leadership?
Check out Dan’s website dancockerell.com or his book, How’s the Culture in Your Kingdom?, published by MyEducator.
Dan also has a podcast called Come Rain or Shine, where he shares stories and insights to help you build the mindset you need to build a strong organizational culture.
What are you waiting for? Check out Dan Cockrell’s book or podcast today and discover the magic to becoming a better leader.