Four Disney Secrets that Make Your Welcome Amazing

Editors Note: During our August focus on Guest Experiences, we are honored to have some of the best voices in the world of Customer Experience provide guest posts for the Vision Room. As you read the content below, simply think “Guest” in terms of the “customer” the author is talking about – and you will benefit from the knowledge and expertise of these great minds.

The Disney University—a name that carries clout and evokes images of excellence. Mention this highly-regarded institution to any business leader and the question that often follows is:

“How do they develop the world’s most engaged, loyal and customer-centric employees, year after year?”

Although the word “University” is invariably embodied in the title of corporate and organizational training departments around the world, very few of these “universities” have matched Disney University’s level of success for at least two reasons:

  1. Many don’t enjoy the levels of leadership support enjoyed by Disney University founder, Van France.
  2. Many don’t understand training cannot be limited to ‘Here’s what you need to do, now go do it.’ That’s not good enough. Training needs to instill a spirit, a feeling, an emotional connection.

Van France and his team of strong-willed visionaries created a corporate culture and an organizational DNA well before these words were ever in vogue. They didn’t just go to the store, buy pixie dust and start throwing it around. Their tireless devotion to perpetuate Walt Disney’s dream, plus the game-changing business concepts they created, helped build an organizational culture that is respected around the world.

Secrets of the Disney University
What does it take to create legions of amazingly motivated employees, year after year? How does a training organization, any organization for that matter, thrive well beyond the honeymoon period? The message from Van, and the many who worked with him to create the Disney University, is unwavering. Success is predicated on:

• Having a seat at the leadership table.
• Being a valued part of the organizational culture.
• Moving well beyond providing merely short-lived programs.
• Being incessantly creative and willing to try new approaches to keep the message relevant, fresh and engaging.

Many who worked with Van describe his style in the following ways: “Van kept people focused. He kept us from making training programs too esoteric and academic by keeping us focused on practical application, using simple concepts such as, we create happiness, and we know the answers.”

Who keeps you focused?

Excerpt from Disney U: How Disney University Develops the World’s Most Engaged, Loyal and Customer-Centric Employees  Publisher: McGraw-Hill

> Read more from Doug.


Want to know more about Guest Experiences at your church? Let’s talk! Connect with an Auxano Navigator here.

Download PDF

Tags: , , , ,

| What is MyVisionRoom? > | Back to Execution >


Doug Lipp

Doug Lipp

Doug enjoyed a unique career with Disney, beginning in 1978. He achieved recognition as a college intern in the Disneyland Marketing Department in Anaheim, where his natural speaking and leadership skills caught the eye of Disney’s executive leadership. After graduate school, he was fast-tracked into an exclusive Disney management-training program, where he was quickly promoted to a leadership role in the prestigious Disney University. During this time,Tokyo Disneyland (TDL) was in its initial stages of development. It was vital that the “Disney Way” be implemented in its first theme park overseas. Doug was selected to help train visiting Japanese executives in this philosophy before TDL opened. For two years, Doug helped manage both the construction and operations phases of TDL, including hiring and training more than 4,000 Japanese employees. After completion of TDL in 1983, Doug returned to Disney’s headquarters to lead corporate training initiatives. At the time, Disney was undergoing tumultuous change. Doug continued to work at Disney’s corporate office during this period of new leadership and strategic growth. In 1993, Doug’s life-long, entrepreneurial spirit led him to establish his own training and consulting firm, G. Douglas Lipp & Associates. Since 1995, Doug has delivered many thousands of keynote presentations to well over one million attendees around the world. He is a passionate champion for building great and enduring organizations through the development of loyal, engaged and customer-focused employees.

See more articles by >


What say you? Leave a comment!

Recent Comments
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you Ed for sharing your insights into the Church Growth Movement. I have my reservations with Church Growth models because it has done more damage than good in the Body of Christ. Over the years, western churches are more focused on results, formulas and processes with little or no emphasis on membership and church discipline. Pastors and vocational leaders are burnt out because they're overworked. I do believe that the Church Growth model is a catalyst to two destructive groups: The New Apostolic Reformation and the Emerging Church. Both groups overlap and have a very loose definition. They're both focus on contemporary worship, expansion of church brand (franchising), and mobilizing volunteering members as 'leaders' to grow their ministry. Little focus on biblical study, apologetics and genuine missional work with no agenda besides preaching of the gospel.
— Dave
comment_post_ID); ?> Thank you for sharing such a good article. It is a great lesson I learned from this article. I am one of the leaders in Emmanuel united church of Ethiopia (A denomination with more-than 780 local churches through out the country). I am preparing a presentation on succession planning for local church leaders. It will help me for preparation If you send me more resources and recommend me books to read on the topic. I hope we may collaborate in advancing leadership capacity of our church. God Bless You and Your Ministry.
— Argaw Alemu
comment_post_ID); ?> Amen!!
— Scott Michael Whitley

Clarity Process

Three effective ways to start moving toward clarity right now.