The Agricultural Retailers Association (ARA) Conference had a magical closing statement to end this year’s sessions with Lee Cockerell, retired Executive Vice President of Walt Disney World giving a closing address titled “You Can create Disney Magic Too.”
Cockerell’s address focused on the factors he believes are the key to running a successful business: “It’s not magic that makes Disney World work, it’s the way we work,” he said. He stressed the importance of hiring and promoting the right people, as well as having systems in place to help pick them out, implementing and enforcing quality training programs, and creating a positive and inclusive work culture for employees. “Those three things translate to the bottom line, and they translate to more ingenuity and creativity,” said Cockerell in an interview following his address.
He also emphasized that organization, competency, and strong leadership skills are absolute necessities for executives looking to run successful businesses. “When you do the hard things, life gets easier,” he said. “Do something hard every week and your life will continue to get easier, but if you only do the easy things, life will get harder, and it will come back and bite you.”
Cockerell also has published a number of books on professional development. His latest book, Career Magic, relays an account of the numerous obstacles young professionals are bound to face in their careers and offers advice on how to keep them from taking control. “I’ve been passed over, I’ve been fired, I’ve been disappointed, and you’ve just got to go out and get back at it,” he said. “I worry about young people giving up too quick because they don’t get it quick enough, but you need to be patient with your career.”
Learn more in Chuck’s full interview with Lee here: Interview with Lee Cockerell, Walt Disney World