Why Disneyland is the Happiest Place on Earth

Disneyland Splash Mountain

Are you planning a family vacation to Disneyland this summer? If so, notice how they attend to the details of what makes you happy.

Disney understands what you, the customer, wants before you do.

Several years ago I attended a Disney seminar for leaders and was amazed at their organization’s attention to their customer’s needs and desires.

Disney employees exemplify what I call “The Diamond Rule: Strive honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.”

 

Here are some ways they understand you, their customer, intimately:

  • They minimize distractions and expedite check in at their hotels because they know your family’s nerves are frazzled from the long, exhausting trip to get there. They know the last thing you need is more stimulation at that moment.
  • You won’t find an outside newspaper for sale anywhere on their property because they know you have come there to escape the real world.
  • Every employee knows where the nearest restroom is because they know you have pushed your bladder to its limits and will need to make a mad dash to get there in time.
  • Trash receptacles are placed no more than 30 steps apart because they know just how long you are willing to hold onto your trash before dropping it.
  • Lines at each attraction twist and turn with their own suspenseful entertainment as you wait with anticipation so that you don’t mind very much how long it’s taking.
  • Disney employees are called “Cast Members” to remind them that when they enter the property “It’s show time!” and your family is their most important audience.

Disney’s philosophy in their own words (excerpts from the Disney Institute website)… Read more ›

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Spring Forth with Renewed Energy

Spring is a time of releasing old burdens and planting something new and exciting that make your Spirit soar—both personally and as an organization. What could you plant now that will lead to a bountiful harvest this Fall?

Consider growing your company as you would grow a plentiful garden on fertile ground. During our strategic planning and training sessions with Native American communities and their enterprises, a good Hopi friend and business associate of mine, Perci Ami, often shares about the circle of growth and how it relates to the four directions of the medicine wheel. This cycle has proven valuable for understanding the natural order and balance necessary to yield a successful harvest in life as well as in organizations.

1. Cultivate Your Garden

Every organization is unique like each seed of every plant. What works for one may not work for another. Does your organization have a strategic plan that clearly identifies your unique seeds to success? The strategic planning process naturally reveals and cultivates what to focus your precious resources upon so that your organization is aligned with your desired vision for the future. This alignment will result in an organization that will stand the test of time.

The process also helps to differentiate the uniqueness of your organization compared to that of your competition. It is a great way to determine or reconfirm the core purpose, core values, vision, goals and action plans for an organization.

Successful companies that stand the test of time even during tough times are built upon a solid foundation of core purpose and core values while adjusting their vision, goals and action plans to adjust to the ever-changing external economic and political environment. In other words, their core values and purpose are etched in stone; their vision, goals and action plans are molded of clay.

The process, done right, draws from the collective wisdom of the leaders and employees throughout the different levels of the organization. The result is widespread involvement, buy-in and accountability for the success of the organization. The strategic planning process will illuminate your path toward a bright, prosperous future.

2. Plant Your Seeds

Once your strategic plan is established and you have decided which seeds to plant, it is time for a reality check to assure that the seeds you plant will grow. Ask yourself, “What in our present situation aligns with our strategic plan? What does not?” Similar to weeding a garden, continue doing what aligns with your plan. Stop doing what does not.

Having the right people doing the right things in the right way will assure success. All policies, procedures, systems and processes should assist your employees to achieve what you have defined in the strategic plan. If there are employees who do not support your organization’s direction, they are like weeds that choke the life out of what you desire to grow. These people are probably your unhappy employees. Chances are they are also your least productive employees who demand a lot of your time and energy.

Great leaders do not manage people, they manage agreements with people. Consider having the leaders in your organization create with each employee they supervise a Declaration of Understanding that clearly spells out mutual desires and expectations. Employees will choose to live their agreements or not. As a result, leaders can simply manage the agreement without a clash of personalities. Employees who choose not to live by their agreements, even after extensive coaching, will probably be happier someplace else where they feel better alignment with their values.

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3 Things Customers Value Most

Understanding your customers’ needs and desires is vital to improving your bottom line.

All customers assess the value of your products and services (the stuff you provide) before making a buying decision by weighing the delicate balance of price, quality and service—3-legs of the stool. You must learn how to masterfully build and balance these three components.

Let’s look at all the components of the 3-legged stool as shown in the accompanying graphic:

  • Your products and services represent what’s placed on the seat
  • Price, quality and service are the three legs
  • The legs are supported and stabilized by a clearly defined strategic plan (i.e., core purpose, core values, mission, vision, goals, objectives, strategies, tactics and action plan).

In this article, we will focus on exploring the delicate balance of the three legs of the stool. At the bottom of this article, you will find links to other articles that I have written about the other components of the stool. Read more ›

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Posted in Assessment Tools, Business Principles, Customer Service Tagged with: ,

Celebrating Valentine’s Day in the Workplace

What does love and Valentine’s Day have to do with business? In a nutshell, everything!

  • Customers and employees who feel loved are more loyal to your company.
  • Employees who love their bosses and their jobs perform better.
  • Customers and employees who feel loved share their experiences with others.

What if this is true: “It’s all about love!”?

Simply put: Love aspires. Love inspires. Love grows.

Let’s look at two extraordinary companies, both of which were launched in 1971—more than 45 years ago—operating with love as an essential core value.

Have you ever enjoyed a burger and a beer at a Hard Rock Café? Did you know that the company was founded by two hippies who chose love, peace, and rock-‘n-roll as their mantra? Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton were two shaggy-haired Americans who just wanted to find a good American burger while living in London. They built their first café on London’s Hyde Park corner as the first “classless” restaurant in the class-laden English society.

Today there are more than 175 Hard Rock locations, which include restaurants, hotels, casinos, and live music venues in 55 countries. Emblazoned on the wall of every property is, “Love All, Serve All.” It is the life—and business—success principle that Tigrett borrowed from his guru in India.

The Seminole Tribe acquired the Hard Rock companies in 2007, continuing to keep its love-based culture alive. Their mottos are still visible: “Love All, Serve All,” “Take Time to Be Kind,” “All Is One,” and “Save the Planet.” And how’s this for a core value: “Deliver kick-ass service.”

Southwest Airlines is another company that fearlessly embraces love (“LUV”) as a fundamental principle.

Read more ›

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Posted in Business Principles, Customer Service, Employee Engagement, Energize Your Business, Inspiration and Motivation, Teambuilding Tagged with: , , , , ,

Compass for Success in 2017

A strategic plan is both the roadmap and the compass for your organization. When your plan is done well, it enables you to get clear, get organized, get going, and get results as quickly as possible—so you can get on with operating your day-to-day business.

There are four phases of the process to create your strategic plan:

  • In the 1st Phase, you and your team get clear about the direction to take the organization and why to do it;
  • In the 2nd Phase, you will learn what will motivate your team to get organized and be on the same page, moving in the same direction, and why to do it;

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Creating Strategic Alignment

What I love about a well-done strategic planning process is that it accomplishes collaboration and cooperation throughout your organization. Having everyone participate in the process naturally creates enthusiastic buy-in and support all the way from the top tier of the organization to the frontline.

The Strategic Alignment Model shows what’s possible with respect to involving more and more people in the process as it unfolds. It is a natural, cascading effect—similar to water flowing down terraces in a mountain stream. Read more ›

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Jump Start 2017

With 2016 nearly wrapped up, I hope that you are taking a deep, contemplative breath and a little time for personal reflection.

Every year we weave a unique tapestry of adventures we have experienced, successes we have accomplished, and setbacks we have suffered.

Reflect on the Past Year

Part of my ritual this time of year is to list these significant events that have occurred in my life, both personally and professionally, so I can fully view and appreciate the tapestry I co-created. It includes projects completed, activities enjoyed, problems faced, milestones reached, unforeseen circumstances overcome, etc. Some within my control, some not. What I have grown to know is that each experience was necessary to bring me to the present moment.

Jump Start Your New Year

Whatever our past year’s tapestry looks like, the beauty of the dawn of a New Year, is that we get to envision a new tapestry. It is time to begin selecting some of the threads and colors, and identifying the themes we desire.

Our greatest opportunity for 2017 is to apply our talents, skills and abilities more fully to make the finest tapestry possible.

Personal goal setting and strategic planning are creative tools that enable us to design our personal and professional tapestry.

If you are a business owner, thinking of starting a new business, or are a leader in an organization this upcoming class will help you to jump start your strategic planning process and make your 2017 tapestry your best yet. It is my honor to partner again with Greater Phoenix SCORE to facilitate this engaging how-to class, A Strategic Planning Process that Energizes Your Business. Read more ›

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Posted in Business Principles, Business Strategies, Employee Engagement, Energize Your Business, Leadership Principles, Strategic Planning Process Tagged with: , , ,

Preparing for a Bountiful Harvest

Circle of GrowthI hope that you have had both a fun and productive Summer and haven’t been too distracted by the election shenanigans. This past weekend, my wife, Lyn, and I enjoyed the last farmers market of the season for Payson, AZ. It reminded me of the cycle of reaping a bountiful Fall harvest from a garden.

Consider growing your organization as you would grow a garden. During our strategic planning and leadership training sessions with tribes and their enterprises, a good Hopi friend and business associate of mine, Perci Ami, often shares about the cycle of growth and how it relates to the four directions of the medicine wheel. This circle has proven valuable for understanding the natural order and balance necessary that yields a successful harvest in life as well as in organizations.

 1. Cultivating the Earth

Every organization is unique like the seeds of different plants. What works for one organization may not work for another. Does your organization have a strategic plan that clearly identifies your unique “seeds of success”? The strategic planning process naturally reveals and cultivates what to focus your precious resources upon so that your organization is aligned with your desired vision for the future. This alignment will result in an organization that will stand the test of time.

The process also helps to differentiate the uniqueness of your organization compared to that of your competition. It is a great way to determine or reconfirm the core purpose, core values, mission, vision, goals and action plans for your organization. Successful companies that stand the test of time, even during tough times, are planted in the fertile ground of core purpose and core values. Then they adjust their vision, goals and action plans (similar to molding pliable clay) to the ever-changing external economic and political environment.

The strategic planning process, done right, draws from the collective wisdom of the leaders and employees throughout the different levels of the organization. Read more ›

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Facilitation Tips to Energize and Streamline Your Meetings

Facilitating MeetingsWhen asked to facilitate a group meeting, equip yourself with the right tools to energize the participants and accomplish the objectives.

Last week I had the honor and pleasure to facilitate an afternoon SCORE workshop for a group of small business owners titled, A Strategic Planning Process that Energizes Your Business. Being directly after lunch, I knew the session needed to crackle with energy or else nap time would soon be upon us.

Here are some of my favorite group facilitation tools and tips for captivating the attention of participants and accomplishing meeting objectives:

  1. Clear Meeting Objectives– Prior to the facilitation, get together with key leaders and stakeholders to define the objectives of the upcoming meeting. These objectives are your ultimate targets, or goals, to accomplish.
  2. Written Agenda– Seems obvious, doesn’t it? You’d be surprised at how many meetings I have attended at which people don’t know why they are there. A written agenda, at the very least, provides a good framework to channel discussions. Sending it out to the participants before the meeting is a bonus.
  3. Declarations of Understanding– I begin every facilitated meeting by asking the participants, “What are your desires and expectations for this meeting and of me.” I capture their ideas on a flipchart. Then I share with the participants what I desire and expect of them, listing everything on another flipchart. Next, I hang both flipcharts on a wall so we can all refer to them throughout the meeting, if necessary, in order to keep things on track. My favorite desires and expectations of participants are:

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12 Steps to Creating an Inspiring Strategic Plan (Part 2)

 Strategic Planning Facilitation

(This is the second of two posts highlighting this powerful 12-step process. Click here to read about the first 6-steps in last week’s article.)

12-Step Strategic Planning ProcessEnergize and engage your employees with an inspiring strategic planning process that helps everyone get clear, get organized, get going, and get results. That’s what successful businesses do.

Here are the remaining steps of the 12 steps of the strategic planning process cycle that, done right, tends to amplify and accelerate the success of any organization:

 

Get Organized…

  1.  Do Some Soul Searching – Warren Buffet said “In the business world, the rear-view mirror is always clearer than the windshield.” When you reflect on and understand your Strengths, Possible improvements, Opportunities and Challenges (SPOC Analysis) as an organization, you can chart the best course toward your goals and figure out the actions needed to reach your company vision.
  1.  Focus Your Energy – What you focus on expands and grows stronger, so, focus your attention on your desired intention. Oprah Winfrey said “Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.”
  1.  Chart Your Course – Companies that use strategic planning to set only financial targets are missing out on some of the most rewarding benefits and possibilities. Establish goals that will be inspiring and energizing, not just financial targets to achieve. Involve your employees in the process before you get too far down the path.

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