Episode 033 – Lee Cockerell, Part 1

Lee CockerellStories of the Magic, Episode 33


Interview Guest: Lee Cockerell


Sponsored by Leaving Conformity Coaching.


It’s been about 2 months since the last episode. Part of that, as I’ve mentioned before, is just trying to schedule guests, but this time there was quite a bit more involved, and at the start of this episode, I let you in briefly on what’s been happening.


Today, we get part 1 of a 2 part interview with Lee Cockerell, the former Executive Vice President of Operations for the Walt Disney World Resort. Lee is also a speaker, and the author of two books, Creating Magic…10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney, and The Customer Rules…The 39 Essential Rules for Delivering Sensational Service [both are affiliate links]. Lee had some very interesting times at the Walt Disney Company and has some great insights to share.

Oh, I should also mention that we recorded this at 6am my time, so I still have my morning voice.


In this episode, Lee talks about:
  • How he got started working for the Walt Disney Company;
  • Starting in charge of Food & Beverage at Disneyland Paris as it was opening;
  • Transitioning to hotels at Disneyland Paris;
  • Moving out to Walt Disney World as Senior V.P. of Operations for the hotels…then becoming Senior V.P. of Operations at WDW;
  • How being in charge of one hotel differs from multi-unit management…besides the obvious;
  • The most important thing any organization does;
  • How to find “the right people”;
  • Tips and strategies for using time management skills well so you can be more productive;
  • Being in operations at WDW on 9/11;
  • Balancing caring for stranded guests and dealing with cutting costs to offset the dramatic decrease in business;
  • His work with the Disney Institute, and how it changed over time;
  • What brought him to the end of his time working for Disney and what he’s been doing since then;
  • Tips for those of us who are building a business as a public speaker;
  • The first time he remembers thinking, “I’m doing something really different, really special”;
  • What he thinks is the biggest difference between the Walt Disney Company and other companies.


Find Lee:


Podcasts Spotlighted in this Episode:


I want to hear from you, so please email me, leave a comment below, or call the Listener Feedback line at (734) 23-STORY.   If you call in, don’t worry about having to sound perfect. If you ask me to, I’ll edit out any mistakes so you sound as good as you possibly can. You’re even welcome to start your entire story over again and I’ll use the “take” you want!

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Music and voiceovers provided by Rick Moyer.

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