Military aviators live by the values of leadership development. Whether soaring at the speed of sound at 30,000 ft, or stalking enemy submarines at a couple hundred feet off the surface of the ocean, leadership is the lifeblood of military aviation. Watch this video and see what I learned from F-16 pilot, author, and entrepreneur Rob “Waldo” Waldman. Great insight for every serious entrepreneur. As Waldo says, “Push It UP!!!”
Leadership Development Lessons Archives
Check out this video I made from the beach in Maui. It occurred to me while traveling to our family vacation that business, just as in life, is all about weathering the storm. Take notice of the times in your life when you were able to shift the momentum simply by hanging in and riding out the storm.
Leadership development lessons can come from just about anybody, regardless of their age. Check out what my 4 year-old daughter, Callie, has to say about her champion mindset and doing what you love!
Earlier this year my family and I took a trip to Disneyland. It was nice to get back to Southern California for a few days, and we had the pleasure of having Mia’s folks join us for the trip.
It was the first time our daughter, Callie, had been to “The Happiest Place On Earth”, and our son Maximus (then 15-months old) was enjoying his maiden voyage as well.
I want to share 3 valuable lessons it took away from Walt Disney as I visited his amusement park.
Lesson 1: Continually upgrade, grow and build.
My two favorite rides when I was a kid were Space Mountain and The Haunted Mansion. When we visited the park in September, BOTH rides were closed. I was bummed.
But the employees of the park did a great job of enthusiastically talking about how those rides are the crown jewels of their upcoming Halloween extravaganza, and were being upgraded for their big celebration.
What did that do for me, the customer?
1.) It immediately took the frustration out of my experience, because I couldn’t help but feel the Disney employee’s genuine enthusiasm.
2.) It made me want return the following month for the big Halloween bash. Gone was my initial annoyance; that was replaced by a sense of anticipation for the future. I wanted to be there, dammit! That is great for business.
Lesson 2: Don’t Be Afraid To Ask For The Sale
From the time you show up to the park until the moment you leave, Disney is constantly selling you. You have the option to show up an hour early; when you do, you are given access to the shops, the Disney characters (gotta get a picture with Mickey!), and of course food and drinks.
You get another opportunity at this when the park closes. All the shops and restaurants are open for an additional hour “for you convenience”. Why? So you can focus on enjoying the park, the rides, and the experience. Sure. But because the rides are closed, and you (and your kids) are far from ready to leave at that point.
The impeccable cleanliness of the grounds, outstanding customer service and perceived value of the product creates an incredible immersion of joy. You almost feel obligated to purchase a souvenir before you leave just so you can take a piece of the experience home with you.
Point here is that Disney is not at all afraid to ask for the sale. They have made a staggering fortune from professionally, confidently, and consistently selling in an almost-elegant fashion.
Lesson 3: Attitude Is Everything
I swear there must be something in the water at Disneyland. Every employee presents a professional, upbeat, and gracious attitude, seemingly every second of the day. I like to think I’m pretty good at picking up on things like this, and I can tell you that in the 3 days we were in hte park, I never once picked up on a bad attitude, fatigue, annoyance, unhappiness, or displeasure from a single Disney employee. And it was all genuine.
How do you get EVERY employee to project an attitude like that?
1.) Create a culture of quality. That means “service first” thinking. In a business like Disney’s you have to serve the customer, and over-deliver the quality.
2.) Total belief in the brand. I doubt any human being, regardless of their level of mental toughness or physical fitness could wear a fuzzy duck/mouse/dog/bear suit in 80-plus degree heat for hours on end, kids pestering you for photos, and the same Its-A-Small-World-After-All music playing over and over (and over) in your head and stay happy unless they had total belief in the brand and the mission.
3.) Money Could Not Be The Only Focus. Money is great, and money is important, but it cannot be the sole motivator for entrepreneurs. Walt Disney passionately loved his work, and that energy transcends time and permeates its way into every member of the Disney staff.
Strive to have that level of influence in your business, too.
I could write a book on my trip to Disneyland; it was that profound. As a kid, I loved it for the wonder and magic. As an entrepreneur I loved it for the unbelievable attention to detail and world-class professionalism. It was a real treat to witness a top-notch organization operate at such a high level.
If you have the chance to get to any Disney park, definitely go. Take notes, learn all you can, and remember Walt Disney’s quote:
“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.”