The greatest don’t even think about doing it

Disney Speaker jeff noel question
Great customer service question.

In a great customer service culture, exceeding customer expectations is what employees think and do, without thinking.

And in a great employee engagement culture, leaders exceeding employee expectations is what great leaders think and do, without thinking.

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Leaders in every industry fall prey to a busy schedule

business art
Common sense isn’t as common as you expect.


Here’s what i always say, in somene else’s words, in an excerpt from a HBJ article. Learn (or relearn) the fundamental difference great customer service organizations, like Disney, focus on.

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When Stephen Cannon became president and CEO of Mercedes-Benz USA, he recognized that success was about more than just his vehicles. It was about how much the people who sold and serviced the cars cared and how generously they behaved. “Every encounter with the brand,” he declared, “must be as extraordinary as the machine itself.” And almost every encounter with the brand, he understood, came down to a personal encounter with a human being in a dealership who could either act in ways that were memorable, or could act the rote way most people in most dealerships act.

Cannon also understood that if he wanted to influence the behavior of more than 23,000 employees at Mercedes dealerships, there was no rule book he could write to engineer a culture of connection and compassion. Instead, he had to convince dealers and their staffers to join a grassroots “movement” that treated kindness like a contagion.

“There is no scientific process, no algorithm, to inspire a salesperson or a service person to do something extraordinary,” Cannon told me. “The only way you get there is to educate people, excite them, incite them. Give them permission to rise to the occasion when the occasion to do something arises. This is not about following instructions. It’s about taking a leap of faith.”

Over the last few years, this leap of faith unleashed all sorts of everyday acts of kindness. There was one dealer who’d closed a sale and noticed from the documents that it was the customer’s birthday. So he ordered a cake, and when the customer came in to pick up the car, had a celebration. Then there was the customer who got a flat tire on the way to her son’s graduation. She pulled into a Mercedes dealership in a panic and explained the problem. Unfortunately, there were no replacement tires in stock for her model. The service manager ran to the showroom, jacked up a new car, removed one of its tires, and sent the mother on her way. “We have so many stories like this,” Cannon says. “They’re about people going out of their way because they care enough to do something special.”

There was another ingredient to the Mercedes-Benz contagion. It’s more natural for front-line employees to show kindness towards customers, it turns out, if they are motivated by genuine pride in what they do. Harry Hynekamp, a 15-year veteran of Mercedes-Benz USA, became the first-ever general manager for customer experience. As Hynekamp and his team traveled across the country, they discovered that “pride in the brand was not quite as strong as we thought, the level of engagement with the work not as deep as we thought.”

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Ok, back to my Disney Institute voice. Hardware gets you hooked the first time. Service is what keeps you for life.


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You’re a good person is the good news (it’s also the bad news)

blockchain TED talk
Blockchain TED talk, worth the 18 minutes it took to watch last night. The link is at the end of this post, don’t click the photo.

blockchain TED talk
Blockchain TED talk…so worth it. Easiest-to-understand explanation i’ve heard so far.

The good news is you’re a good person.

Wait, there’s some bad news too.

The bad news is you’re a good person.

Good is the enemy of great.

Great gets us closer to thriving – personal vibrancy.

Good gets us closer to mediocrity – personal surviving.

Learn, unlearn, relearn.

This is great.

Watch the Blockchain TED talk here.

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It went better than expected

Disney Leadership Keynote Speaker
Last week at airport newsstand.


We carve out a life one day, one meeting, at a time.

Yesterday’s meeting with seven Healthcare executives went better than expected, and i expected it to go well. The client was thrilled with the content, the flow, the commitment. The fact that we have worked, extensively, together in the past is a huge plus.

All my speaking in 2015 has come from referrals, recommendations, or previous clients.

Regardless of what the Harvard Business Review shares in their front page article, i will always stick to what i learned, know, and do – based on a lifetime (1982 – 2014) as a Disney insider.




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Speaker Hall of Fame

Hiking trail
Led from the back of the pack yesterday.


From an email yesterday.

To be in the Speaker Hall of Fame, each candidate must excel in seven categories: material, style, experience, delivery, image, professionalism and communication.

There are only about 150 speakers who have ever been inducted into the NSA Speaker Hall of Fame.

Can’t help but wonder, if only for a moment, how i’d stack up.

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