Monday, March 31, 2014

What happened to the cream….?

My trusted personal advisor shared this insight about inspired management and charismatic leadership:

An acquaintance who had worked at Walt Disney World during most of the 1970s recalled that each area of the park and each attraction had a daily designated "Lead," that is, an hourly employee who was temporarily paid $1 extra per hour and had limited authority and responsibility to make on-the-spot decisions regarding any facet of that area's or that attraction's immediate need.

The “Lead” was particularly focused on the “magic,” making sure that the guests had a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious experience. If you were at Disney at that time, as a cast member or guest, you know what I mean.

This system worked pretty well, and a "higher up" manager was rarely ever called in to make a final decision.

Fast forward to 1993. Disney had eliminated its reliance on a designated “Lead” hourly worker, and, of course, stopped giving extra pay to the designees. The expectation in the executive suite was that when an on-the-spot decision needed to be made “the cream would rise to the top," in Disney management's exact words, and that a self-motivated employee would step up and make the call.

Overall, it was a huge failure. Disney execs couldn't understand why the areas and attractions fell so quickly into mismanagement, why there was extensive down time, why the "good people" quit, and why there was a notable loss of "magic" in the Park….

….ummm, d’ya think of any possible explanation?

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