The training & development trap

The training & development trap…

Training teaches you how to do.

Development teaches you how to lead.

Doing and leading are not the same.

Not even close.

Train for compliance.

Develop for commitment.

You’re welcome.

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Read just the first sentence in the Tweet

Disney speaker jeff
Huge difference between training and development.


Read just the first sentence in the Tweet.

Only that sentence.

At Disney, training is highly structured, designed by an expert Human Resources team, and delivered by carefully chosen hourly Cast Members called “Disney Trainers”.

A Disney Trainer is not a full-time role.

You perform your normal Host/Hostess role and when you are needed, you are scheduled to be a trainer and get a small hourly pay increase for the hours you are officially designated as a trainer.

Training Manuals filled with Standard Operating Guidelines for each individual role are followed and administered without deviation.

There are additional layers to training and i am skipping those intentionally to jump to development.

Development at Disney, and any great organization, is the opposite of training.

Development is highly unstructured.

There are no manuals.

There are no trainers.

Development is initiated by great leaders.

Good leaders may rarely initiate development.

There is also very little accountability to insist that development is robust.

Great Disney leaders have unlimited and creative ways to develop others (usually their direct reports, but not limited to that).

For example, during a bi-monthly one-on-one meeting with my leader in 2007 (seven years before i retired), Wayne said, “Not everyone on the Executive Team likes you. When you’re in meetings, just zip it.”

Those two sentences changed the trajectory of the second half of my 15-year Disney Institute career.

In fact, in all of my 30-plus years at Disney, this was the simplest, quickest, and most impactful development any leader bestowed on me.

Contrast that with a seven-month full-time special assignment as a Guest Satisfaction Measurement (GSM), the second most impactful “development” in a long career.

Just to be crystal clear:

Train for compliance with the highest industry standards.

Develop for commitment so strong, you earn the reputation as being a great place to work, because your mission (and the way you connect your team to it) is so powerful.


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This website is about our WORK. To ponder today’s post about our HQ, click here.

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Making a great first impression in your organization


Jody’s episode is worth a listen from start to finish. However, if you’re pressed for time, listening to just my 6-minute piece about Disney University and Disney’s Train-the-Trainer class is a decent compromise.

PS. Listening to his first 6.5-minute piece makes my piece even more relevant.

PSS. Jody and i used Skype to record. We’ll be using RINGR in the future.

And finally, next time, i’ll skip the intro story (meeting Brian at DU) and get straight to the content.


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This website is about our WORK. To ponder today’s post about our HQ, click here.

If you want to stay on this site and read more posts from this Blog, click here.


The whole point of development

The whole point of development is to do one thing brilliantly.

To move a highly trained, professional team of compliant employees to an unstoppable team of fully committed, heart-and-soul-on-fire employees.

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This website is about our WORK. To ponder today’s post about our HQ, click here.


How important is new employee orientation?

Disney University exterior view
Yesterday, lunch meeting at Disney University.


Q. How important is it to conduct new employee orientation as the very first day (no exceptions) of work for newly hired employees?

A. If an organization doesn’t immediately set context for everything else that will happen in an employee’s career, what is at risk?

Seriously, let that sink in for a minute…

  • New people filling in the blanks by guessing
  • Making assumptions about priorities and focus
  • Questioning why their questions aren’t anticipated, and answered without having to ask
  • Feeling like the slick marketing doesn’t live up to the real thing
  • Setting the tone that winging it is acceptable
  • And on and on

Disney over-focuses on this question and insists that every new employee (Cast Member) attends Disney Traditions, every new employee’s first day of work.

The day is spent building an emotional connection to the Disney company culture that by the end of that first day, it’s something everyone wants to defend.

When done with excellence, that feeling should last a lifetime.




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