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Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney Hardcover – October 14, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 191 customer reviews

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  • Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
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  • Be Our Guest: Perfecting the Art of Customer Service (Disney Institute Book, A)
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  • Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World's Most Engaged, Loyal, and Customer-Centric Employees
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On his way up the career ladder to become Executive Vice President of Operations at Walt Disney World Resort, Cockerell freely admits he was such an autocratic young hotel and restaurant manager that he was hit over the head with a beer bottle by an employee he'd treated poorly. This and other incidents (including a bashing with a clipboard) convinced Cockerell to study leadership, which he proceeded to do with gusto throughout his stellar career, ultimately creating the Disney Great Leaders strategies. The author's engaging storytelling brings life and infectious energy to this entertaining and inspiring book, which outlines the processes and rationale behind Disney's employee-driven ethos. Each chapter expounds on the Disney Formula for Success, which Cockerell sums up as "great leadership leads to employee excellence, which leads to customer satisfaction and strong business results." Cockerell's willingness to use his management gaffes as examples not only makes him a likeable narrator but also a credible leader, offering up a mesmerizing view of a career devoted to excellence in customer service, employee empowerment, organizational improvement and responsive leadership.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“Shows the magic in leadership — and the leadership in magic! Read this book!”
-Marshall Goldsmith, New York Times best-selling author of What Got You Here Won’t Get You There, winner of the Harold Longman Award for Business Book of the Year.

“In Creating Magic, Lee Cockerell delivers his ideas about leadership in a common sense way that can really reach people and help them improve their effectiveness at work, at home, and in their communities. His valuable leadership strategies and remarkable Disney stories will ring true for everyone who reads this book.”
—Ken Blanchard, coauthor of The One Minute Manager® and The One Minute Entrepreneur

"Elegant in its simplicity and practicality, Lee has distilled many powerful leadership strategies into the lessons many of us learned as children.  They are no less relevant to our working lives.  At its core, Creating Magic is a collection of stories that reminds us to demonstrate care and respect for every member of the team and to focus our efforts not our ourselves but on the people we lead."
-George Bodenheimer, President, ESPN, Inc and ABC Sports

“Lee's common sense principles and down to earth storytelling is refreshing. His book will help leaders and managers at all levels become better in all parts of their lives."
—Lee Huebner, Director of the School of Media and Public Affairs, Georgetown University.

"… Creating Magic transcends the leadership business-speak so prevalent in modern day motivational tomes and offers a real approach to sensible and practical strategies culled from the experience of a lifetime spent in pursuit of leadership excellence.!"
-Ted J. Kleisner, President and Chief Executive Officer, Hershey Entertainment & Resorts Company

“Disney is one of the world’s prime exemplars of service having pioneered and implemented much of what is today seen as best practice in service management. Lee Cockerell has played a major role in this….For those wishing to learn how Disney has achieved its reputation for service, this will be a book to read."
-Chris Voss, Professor of Operations and Technology Management, London Business School

“In the hospitality industry, people are our most important asset. No one understands how to develop this asset better than Lee Cockerell who clearly articulates in Creating Magic how leadership environments that are committed to achieving excellence through lifelong  learning, continually honing our professional competence, maintaining personal control,  and rewarding behaviors that recognize the personal worth and reinforce the professional accomplishments of our fellow team members will create a culture of shared vision, trust and a “can do” sense of individual empowerment. The result: pure “Magic” …. Lee’s “10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies” will contribute much to the success of any endeavor.”
-Dieter Huckestein, past President - American Hotel & Lodging Association, Chairman of Conrad Hotels and President - Hotel Operations, Hilton Hotels Corporation (retired).

“Lee is a powerhouse when it comes to developing and inspiring leadership in front line employees and managers. During my years working with him at Disney and in all of my senior management positions since, I have used his leadership philosophies to successfully develop effective leaders and cultivate business environments focused on service excellence. Creating Disney Magic will be a must-read for anyone who wants to make a positive organizational difference built on highly engaged employees delivering exceptional service."
-Karl McDonnell, President& Chief Operating Officer, Strayer Education, Inc

“Lee Cockerell created a distinctly unique service culture at Disney World…Essential to fulfilling this strategy is a complete understanding of the nature of leadership which Lee spells out in his book. Managing is not enough. It takes leadership to create excellence. The formula is not limited to the hospitality industry. It works for healthcare, manufacturing, transportation and education. It applies to the government, military, and not-for-profit ventures, as well as private industry. Those who practice these lessons, and participate in such organizations, live in a better world."
- Martin K. Starr, Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Operations Management, Crummer Graduate School of Business, Rollins College
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 270 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Business; 1 edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385523866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385523868
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 1.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (191 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #16,271 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Lee Cockerell, by his own admission, wasn't a very easy person to work with. After getting whacked on the head a few times with various office supply products, wielded by unhappy co-workers, he got the message: Lighten up. It's a message many people currently engaged in "business" (including more than a few CEOs) need to heed. Watch out, that next clipboard may have your name on it.

Sometimes it takes a good smack on the head by a clipboard, or a swift kick in the pants, to make us understand that we need to get along with people in order to succeed. That's such a simple concept, but one that so often is dismissed by so many, especially the higher up the corporate ladder they climb.

Fortunately, Lee Cockerell got the message, loud and clear. The rest is contemporary American business history. He went on to great accomplishments with the Disney empire, simply by learning how to effectively engage with people; especially those working under him.

For anyone looking for the most basic & wonderfully "common sense" approach to leadership, look no further than this terrific book. Read it, and you too, may create some magic.
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Format: Hardcover
Lee Cockerell should be bigger than Blanchard and Covey combined. Lee is light-years past theory. He is straight-forward, no-nonsense, wise. Every great leader should read this book, or miss an incredible opportunity to see Disney from an executive mind-set, with tons of practical, how-to's for any leader, in any organization.
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Format: Hardcover
As a corporate human resources director, I really enjoyed reading this book. "Creating Magic", is a common sense approach to leadership that will help those in need to improve on the job, indeed in their personal lives too. The strategies and great WDW stories make this a very "usable" book that also happens to be a fun and insightful read.

"Creating magic" is the bounding of various stories that teach us a lesson about leadership and management. The stories drive home the point that leadership is not about the leader but rather the people that are being lead, molded and guided in their respective careers.

While I recommend this book in that it pursues leadership excellence. However, I cannot rate it 5 stars as Creating Magic does not contain any novel or new techniques. That is, the lessons of the book have already been digested by most of those in the managerial profession. If you are seeking an excellent reminder of these values then the book will meet your goal. If you are looking for the novel and new approaches to leadership, you will not find it here. I also suggest High Altitude Leadership: What the World's Most Forbidding Peaks Teach Us About Success

Michael L. Gooch, SPHR - Author of Wingtips with Spurs
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is a wealth of information delivered like a special talk shared between you and a man who has lived a blessed life. You learn from someone who has not only "talked the talk... but walked the walk." This is a read for those who want to understand what made Disney such a successful company, what talents and values came forth to make a fantastic working environment for cast members and their management teams. I really enjoyed the common sense truisms and felt encouraged to put them into practice to improve my patient care and co-worker relationships. I liked the challenge to think about your core values. I'm glad I found this book and will be reading many more of Lee's books.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Most of us judge ourselves based on our intentions. The people around us judge us based upon our behaviors. As leaders, we must make sure that our behaviors support our intentions. This is one of the many lessons I've learned from Walt Disney World, a legendary culture created and sustained under the exemplary leadership of Lee Cockerell, WDW's former Executive VP of Operations. In "Creating Magic," Lee Cockerell explains how to make that kind of loving, caring, respectful leadership a practical reality. Lee shows leaders in all walks of life how to operationalize a culture of caring in every sphere of influence. "Creating Magic" is the most inspiring and the most practical book on leadership I have ever read.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I felt like this was a good start for a leadership book. Every time I picked it up it gave me good ideas on how to improve not just my leadership skills but also the communication between members of my team.

I'm glad I read it. I think it is beneficial and worth having in everyone's library.

The reason why I gave it 3 stars is because at times the chapters dragged on and were s bit repetitive and long. Otherwise nicely done.
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By Jeff on August 17, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Awesome book for any leader. Disney has always been exceptional for their customer service and this book highlights many of their tactics. It is a relatively quick read as you really don't want to put the book down. With that said, it doesn't have to be read quickly and can be read a little at a time. I took time to reflect after each strategy and frequently use the book to re-read chapters. Easily quotable and is great to share.

Anyone with aspirations to lead should pick up this book, you will not be disappointed.
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