Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Performance Excellence (1994)

Back in 1994, when Disney was about to celebrate their 40th Anniversary.  Judson C. Green, then chairman of Theme Parks and Resorts, penned a pamphlet for Cast Members which "defined the daily goal of exceptional performance... so we may all share a common foundation and expectation of how we intend to work together in the future." 

In 2000, Green left Disney to become President and CEO of  Navigation Technologies Corp, as described in an April 18th article in the LA Times, but the legacy of his vision for the future of Disney lives on in these words:


  • Exceeding guest expectations
  • Getting involved
  • Breaking down barriers
  • Sharing information and suggestions
  • Working smarter
  • Trying new ways to do things
  • Listening to others
  • Being a team player

Our Disney Culture:

We have a rich heritage, traditions, quality standards, and values which we believe are critical factors to our success. This foundation, as well as certain traits and behaviors, create a unique environment which we call the Disney Culture. We will seek to understand and cultivate our culture and challenge ourselves to model the behaviors that it represents.

We respect the Disney Heritage and Traditions:

We are committed to a friendly and informal work environment.
We show our pride and respect for the Disney Product and Legacy.
We emphasize Cast training and recognition.
We pursue synergistic opportunities.
We demonstrate our concern for our environment and community.
We emphasize "family" entertainment.
We protect the public's trust in Disney.
We are committed to education.

We ensure the Disney Quality Standards:

We put safety first, to provide secure, safe experiences for our Guests as well as our Cast.
We give friendly, personalized service and treat every guest as a VIP.
We deliver flawless and professional presentations every day, for every guest.
We strive for the fastest and most effective systems and procedures in order to provide a quality Guest experience.

We share these Disney Values:

HONESTY - We deal with each other in a sincere and straightforward manner.
INTEGRITY - We act in a manner consistent with our words and beliefs.
RESPECT - We treat others with care and consideration.
COURAGE - We pursue our beliefs with strength and persistence.
OPENNESS - We share information freely.
DIVERSITY - We seek value and respect differences among our fellow Cast Members.
BALANCE - WE strive for stability and vitality in our personal and professional lives.

We demonstrate these Disney Traits and Behaviors:

We enjoy making our guests happy.
We care about our fellow cast members.
We work as a team.
We deliver quality.
We foster creativity and innovation.
We encourage risk-taking, realizing that mistakes amy happen.
We are attentive to every detail.
We find enjoyment and fun in our work.
We assume responsibility beyond our individual roles.
We are emotionally committed to Disney.


Share their vision and belief in the Disney Culture.
Share their enthusiasm and pride in Disney with the Cast.
Energize others with their commitment for PERFORMANCE EXCELLENCE.
Display decisiveness and a sense of urgency in achieving goals and objectives.
Encourage creativity and risk-taking.
Promote teamwork to accomplish our business objectives.
Set challenging goals which are realistic, clear and measurable.
Hold themselves and other Cast Members accountable for their performance.
Unleash the potential of each Cast Member by providing developmental opportunities.
Listen intently to diverse opinions.
Communicate honestly and frequently, soliciting feedback and suggestions from Cast Members at all levels of the organization.
Interject a sense of humor, fun and enjoyment in their work.
Set the stage and work with others to produce the show...
Celebrate the Victories!

Walt may have said it more simply, but I think the message still rings true to his vision.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

The Wonderful World of Disney

I love this photo of Walt. Dressed in a casual sport shirt, natural hair, huge smile on his face, eyebrows raised looking like a kid on Christmas morning. He's doing something that he genuinely loves.

Cynics could point out dozens of things about him which they question, from his sincerity to his intentions, but far more often than not, their complaints are more reflections of their own unhappiness than any objective judgement of the man behind the throttle.

There is a reason why he called the park Disneyland and described it as the Happiest Place on Earth. It was literally his world - his creation - and was intended to be different than what was going on outside the very deliberately placed berm which shelters and frames what happens inside.

It is also part of the reason why so many others have tried and failed to accomplish what he did. When you enter one of Walt's worlds, the rules are supposed to be different. It's not about today and here. It's about the best of the past, your hopes for the future and magic - which is a key element of fantasy.

Here is an example of the type of things that can happen in Walt's Worlds:

A young girl recently recounted the story of what happened to her when she met Peter Pan;

"He saw my arm and he grabbed it and held it up and looked at it. There are scars on my arms from self-harm."

The he asked:

"Are those scars from pirates? That old Captain Hook can be so thoughtless sometimes. Doesn't even realize what he does hurts! You can come to Neverland with me, and I won't let any marks find your arms ever again."

When asked why he cared so much, Peter said that nobody should have to deal with such personal pain and "marks like that made a person grow up too fast." I don't know why Peter knows what he seems to about self-harm, or that it is associated with a history of trauma. What I do know is that Disney and the Parks are supposed to be a place of refuge from the things on the outside, often imperfect world.

Walt put it this way: "Safety, for both our Guests and our Cast is always our first concern. We take pride in our tradition of providing a safe, carefree environment..." 

 Peter clearly understands this and I'd bet he loves creating and sustaining the Wonderful World of Disney as much as millions of others enjoy visiting it.

Walt's Park Rules