Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney

Emma De Vita on a book by an executive with rural origins

If you thought Paul Daniels was the only man who created magic, you're wrong. Lee Cockerell was a poor farm boy from Oklahoma who ended up running the Walt Disney World Resort's operations and writing a book called Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney. Cockerell espouses "powerful lessons that helped him to create a passionate, effective team and which can be translated to any career or business culture". Even Mickey Mouse could get the hang of them.

The most salient of the 10 strategies are: "Remember, everyone is important"; "Stay ahead of the pack"; and "Eliminate hassles". But where's the magic in that, Lee? Perhaps in strategy five: "Create magic through training". This involves "making sure every employee is fully steeped in your corporate culture", "inculcating a sense of purpose in everyone at every level" and "taking seriously your responsibilities as a teacher, coach and counsellor".

Cockerell ends with some advice from his wife Priscilla: "Be careful what you say and do; they're always watching you and judging you. Win their trust and earn their respect, and I guarantee you too will create magic in your organisation, in your career and in your personal life as well." Magic.

- Emma De Vita is books editor of Management Today

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