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Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney Hardcover – October 14, 2008
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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.
“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
Top customer reviews
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.
It is also a great book if you want behind-the-scenes-info about Disney. It is not a book about Disney but many of the illustrations are from the author's time at Disney, or somehow connect to Disney. If you are interested in the company, or want to understand how and were the Disney Magic (no not the boat) comes from, this is the book to read. Many of the stories are heartwarming and charming.
Finally, it is a great book for anyone who is thinking about leadership or going into a leadership role. It gives you a look at the "other side of the desk". Instead of fancy theories about leadership and what it takes to be a leader, the author gives simple outlines of what a leader needs in their toolkit to be successful. It takes away the mystery and provides very easy to follow advise for people who supervise one other person, to a CEO who supervises a whole company.
One issue I have with the book, while not directly relevant to the overall subject, is not discussing in enough detail the importance of developing a company's long-term strategy for success. Anecdotally, I have heard that Disney has a large number of fresh out of business school MBAs that are more concerned about short term profits and cost control than maintaining high quality standards and preserving long-term brand identity. I would be interested to get the author's reaction to this challenge, which he surely must have dealt with during Eisner's last years as CEO. While the author must consider his relationship with his former employer, it would have been interesting to get his reaction to a sore subject that many would argue has challenged the long-term success of Disney's brand.
I hope Mr. Cockerell considers writing more life and business lessons in a future book. I will be among those to purchase a copy!