Think Like a Disney Manager
When I look back on my life, I can say without hesitation that the five hardest years I ever experienced were those spent working for Disney.
Working for Disney is like being the child of a global dictator. Their influence is everywhere, and they make you feel as if your inadequacies could bring the whole organisation tumbling down.
Through crushing pressure, they take the sloppiest of people and turn them into hard working, organisation machines. After working for Disney long enough, anyone would find it impossible to be late for work ever again.
I’m a completely different person to the one I was before I worked for Disney, and I can never return the person I was.
I spent one year working for Walt Disney World in Florida, and over the course of 4 years completed 5 contracts for Disney Cruise Line.
Like everyone else working for Disney, I got to know the “showtime” management principle really well, and I think all companies would benefit from implementing this method of conducting business.
The Showtime Method
Tonight I took my date to dinner at a tapas restaurant in Shanghai I’d read about on Trip Adviser.
The reviews I’d read were true, the food was really good. What ruined the experience for me wasn’t the food, it was the atmosphere created by the stressed out manager.
The manager for this restaurant clearly didn’t have an office, so instead of stressing out over her laptop somewhere appropriate, she did it at the bar. My table was only a couple feet from the bar, so I bore the brunt of her stress.
She completely bummed me out, especially when I kept catching glances of descending numbers on her laptop screen.
The restaurant is clearly in a bind, but bumming out the customers isn’t going to help the problem. In fact she ruined her chance at gaining a regular customer by making me feel so anxious all night.
Instead of creating an awful atmosphere, she should have implemented the showtime method.
The method is simple, and you may think that most businesses are doing it, but they’re not.
This is what Disney does…
Disney tells its staff that they are cast members, and that when they’re doing their job (regardless of what it is) they are taking part in the show.
Every area that is visible to guests at any Disney property is referred to as the stage. By referring to us as the cast members, Disney is ensuring that we see the stage as vitally important to our role, whatever it is.
Disney doesn’t want to always be checking that we’re doing the right thing while in front of guests. Instead, they give us a feeling of ownership over the stage, a sense of pride in performing the show to the best of our ability.
Disney has a “look book” which is a guide that tells us how we should look while we’re “on stage”. We’re even trained in how to act and speak to people while performing our job while “on stage”.
Disney understands that their enormous business relies on how the average employee acts while in view of the guests, so they hammer this principle into absolutely every single one of us.
Applying the Method
This manager badly needs an office, she needs somewhere she can stress and vent. She needs to do whatever it takes to ensure that she never again acts so stressed out while on stage.
A manager isn’t just accountable for how they act while in view of their guests (or customers), they’re accountable to how their staff act as well.
It really is true that staff aren’t going to listen to what you say, they’re going to follow your lead.
The manager of this restaurant paced, worked and stressed out in full guest view. This resulted in waiters that were slow, uninspired and lackluster. The whole night just felt depressing.
I really hope that she pulls her act together and realises that her business is relying on these guests wanting to come back. The dining room of her restaurant is a stage, and she’s the star. The only way she’s going to get anyone to come back again is by turning the show around.
I won’t be back, but I hope she does a better job with her future clientelle.
Learn from her mistake and take a lesson from Disney. Everywhere your customers can see is part of your stage, so what kind of show are you presenting? Is it a show your customers will want to see again?
Recognise where your stage is and use it to present the best show on Earth. Once you do, your customers will keep coming back for more.