Home Business News The Wisdom of Walt Disney: The ‘magic moments’ and ‘attention to detail’

The Wisdom of Walt Disney: The ‘magic moments’ and ‘attention to detail’

1st Sep 23 12:49 pm

Ask anyone what their ‘mission’ in life is, and most will not have an answer, in fact the vast majority of people haven’t really given much thought to a lifetime mission because they get so totally wrapped up in the challenges they are facing today, or held back by the problems of the past.

But without a mission, whether in life or business, we are like a ship without a rudder… at the mercy of the tides of life, or the winds of change… and then people wonder why they sometimes feel lost or ‘not in control’.

Taking some time to determine a clear Mission, Vision and the and values by which you will build a life or a business, are crucial tools to help steer you towards your optimum and desired future.

A few years ago, I was fortunate enough to attend a course by Disney Institute for professional development & leadership training. The simplicity of Walt’s Mission and values/principles were so inspiring and visionary, as well as being applicable to so many businesses.

Walt’s Mission in life was simple:

“To make people, especially children, feel happy”

…But the simplicity of that mission/statement bought clarity to everything that the Disney Corporation did, and determined the way that they did it.

In this week’s Blog, I will share some of the principles that I took from the session, principles that I have shared and successfully used many times in many businesses.

Magic moments:

Walt challenged everyone at Disney to find ways to create ‘magic moments’ every day for all ‘the guests’ that visited. Everyone was tasked and challenged to look for, share, and emulate the very best examples (which were recognised and rewarded) so that the ‘magic moments’ were amplified and duplicated to literally thousands of visitors/guests. Turning one ‘magic moment’ into the magic that made Disney a wonderous experience again and again for so many.

Now, it would be easy to see how you could do that if you were dressed in a Mickey Mouse outfit, or if you were one of the cast members (as all employees were called) that were managing a ride, or serving in a restaurant, but the challenge was for everyone, even those that may have ‘behind the scenes’ roles, and I will never forget one of the examples shared with us:

One day whilst cleaning a family room, a cleaner noticed that the family had purchased several small cuddly toys of the Disney characters, and it was obvious that the children had been playing with them as they were spread around the room. The cleaner switched on the Disney channel on the in-room TV, moved the arm chair in front of the TV and lined up the characters on the chair so it looked like the Disney Characters were watching the Disney channel….

…can you imagine the ‘magic moment’ that the cleaners action would have created for the children on their return to the room – seeing their Disney characters watching the Disney channel – and the wonderful feeling, the ‘magic moment’ that the parents would have experienced in seeing their children’s response.

The Parents shared the story at checkout of the hotel, and the cleaner was awarded for ‘creating a magic moment’ for that family. Moreover, it was something that could be easily shared and duplicated across literally thousands on Disney hotel rooms every day – creating tens of thousands of magic moments.

The above is a great example to me of how literally anyone in a business can and should see themselves as part of the ‘cast’ and see themselves as being equally responsible for trying to create that magic in a business. The initiative of that cleaner cost the Disney corporation absolutely nothing, but it is in my mind just one small example of the type of initiative that contributes to making Disney so magical.

How can your ‘cast’ or team create magic moments in your business? for your customers and your communities, or how can you create magic moments for people in your life? Little things can make a huge difference, which reminds me of 2 quotes that hopefully capture the above principle:

Be creative, innovate consistently on the little things that the big companies ignore.

Little things of make big differences in business

Richard Branson

‘Enjoy the little things in life,

for one day you may look back and realise that they were the big things’

Kurt Vonnegut

Attention to detail and Appealing to all 5 senses:

Walt Disney understood at an emotional level, and at a scientific level, how

‘Engaging all 5 senses creates the strongest and longest lasting memory links’

….and everything that Disney did, worked to engage all the senses.

Any business can stop what they are doing at any moment and ask the question, ‘What senses do our products, services, or offering stimulate?’ And/or ‘How can we ‘connect’ at a greater, and longer lasting level with our existing and potential customers?’

There are numerous article and books written on every detailed example of the degree to which Disney went to ensure this was optimised, and even down to the pavements in every area of the parks being different, because in Disney’s words:

”You don’t just experience with your eyes, ears, nose, touch and taste…. It’s amazing what you experience with your feet”

So, for example in Frontierland which is based on a Frontier town from the wilderness of the wild west, he insisted that the ground be the colour of the dirt roads that would pass through a frontier town, and that before the surface was dry they had to run stage coach grooves through it and horse hooves to ensure that even as you walked, the contours that your feet might feel would be similar….

…Disney would send teams to frontier towns and historic sets to ensure that the buildings and materials used perfectly emulated wherever possible, a real frontier, wild west environment. Even the sounds were captured and whilst guest think that many of the sounds would be naturally occuring, local birds, and may not even notice some of the sounds…. Much of it is piped into the areas of the park so that EVERY sense is as aligned to the reality as possible.

Some people in business would see the detail to which Disney focussed, or even obsessed, to be excessive and unnecessary, because the vast majority of visitors/guests would not even notice or ‘sense’ the detail – or would they?, because many of our senses are sub-consciously or even unconsciously captured….

….But then again, very few businesses have prevailed and grown through almost 100 years of massive historic change and technical evolution into a business with a market cap of nearly £200bn today

and I will close this weeks Blog with 2 quotes from Walt himself:

“A half-way job means you wasted ALL the money!” and “Whatever you do, do it well.

Do it so well that when people see you do it

they will want to come back and see you do it again,

and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do”

Walt Disney

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