Last year, I decided to put my extensive travel knowledge (ah, the life of an operations consultant) to some good use and planned a getaway for myself. As a working mom of five young adults, “me time” is hard to come by. I decided to venture out of my comfort zone and planned a solo trip to Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL! To me, it seemed like the most magical idea ever. The thought of being on my own timeline and having the freedom to rise and rest when I chose simply made me giggle with delight.
Not long before my departure date, there was talk of storms brewing in the Gulf of Mexico. Little did I know I would experience my first (and hopefully last) hurricane. During my first day at Walt Disney World, rumors started floating around the park of a potential closure in preparation for Hurricane Ian. After a quick Google search, I learned that since opening in 1971, Walt Disney World of Florida had only closed for weather-related issues a handful of times (seven to be exact.) The likelihood of this happening (in my mind) was slim to none. Well, I was wrong. The announcement of the decision to close all parks (and some resorts) trickled into social media. With an average of 160,000 visitors to the parks plus an additional 77,000 cast members, I expected utter chaos. I hate to admit this, but I was wrong again.
Disney’s Keys to Success
The two days the parks were closed, and throughout the rest of my vacation, I witnessed the best customer service and genuine love Disney has for their guests. This should not have been a surprise to me since, in 2021, I completed an online training certification regarding Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence through the Disney Institute. During my training, I learned about the four keys Disney has used for the last six decades to train their team members. These keys, in order of importance, are:
These four keys have been the engine that drives the world-class service for which Disney has become synonymous. Recently, Disney added to this list, making it five keys. The new addition is inclusion, which they added with the aim of implementing “meaningful cultural change.” This organizational evolution is a great example of a business that wants to stay relevant and impactful and is willing to revisit and revise longstanding, tried, and true traditions.
Disney is true to its values and vision, and they know who they are, what they stand for, and why they are headed in a specific direction. If Disney had decided to stay open during Covid-19 or during any other natural disaster, it would not be true to its code, putting safety above all things, including profit. It’s reported that WDW lost over 65 million dollars during the two-day closure due to Hurricane Ian. However, during the crisis, they stayed true to their values. Disney cast members are empowered and given permission to make all guests as happy as possible. During my two shelter-in-place days at a Disney property, cast members delivered flashlights to each guestroom, boxed meal kits were prepped and available, characters visited the hotel for lobby dance parties to help keep kids entertained, and the crew was readily available at all hours to reassure and comfort guests.
Finding the magic recipe for your firm
Businesses like Disney, those companies known for going over and beyond expectations for guests and team members, are the organizations I try to gather knowledge from to assist in consulting with my plaintiff law firm clients and their team members. By incorporating some of Disney’s stellar practices and anchoring forces, you could see huge shifts in your company culture and improvements to your bottom line. Here are some tips you can rip off and duplicate from Disney:
Looking for the lessons
Ultimately, the business lessons Disney can teach are plentiful. From creating an unforgettable customer experience and setting high standards to listening to feedback and being innovative, businesses today can learn a great deal from this legendary brand by implementing many of its strategies. By applying Disney principles in the workplace, your law firm can benefit from increased client satisfaction, employee loyalty, higher profit, and growth. With its magical touch on hospitality and service standards worldwide, it is no wonder why Disney remains an inspiration for many businesses today. From making work fun to creating unforgettable experiences – there’s something we can all learn from the Magic Kingdom!