In my leadership roles, I have always tried to make work fun. We spend far too many of our waking hours at work for it to be so serious. Some leaders believe that work should always be serious, and any "fun" should take place after hours. The facts prove otherwise, with happier employees boosting returns.
I had just spoken at a Disney Leadership Conference when a young manager walked up to me. He introduced himself and said, "I don't expect that you remember me, but I worked at Epcot. I am a manager today because you gave me a cup of hot chocolate."
"What kind of mood is the boss in?" is a common question asked by workers in an organization. The answer often determines the kind of day that employees will experience.
As a Boy Scout, I was taught early in life to "Be Prepared." At our weekly meetings, we were required to present 10 cents and a handkerchief. The dime was so that we could make an emergency phone call at a phone booth (yes, it only cost 10 cents to make a call back then, and we still had pay phones).
When I was the Vice President at Epcot, my assistant came into my office and closed the door. I knew that was not a good sign. "You have a problem," she started.
It bugs me when I call or e-mail someone and don't get a response. My mind considers the possibilities: Is their voicemail or e-mail not working? Is the person on vacation? Have I offended them and they are refusing to reply because of the offense?
Conventional wisdom would tell you to "blow your own horn" to get recognized and advance. However, this negates the importance of surrounding yourself with great people who will be the true drivers of your career.
One of the most important types of knowledge you need to acquire is self-knowledge. Many people get book knowledge or street smarts, but never get to know their own strengths, passions, blind spots and weaknesses.
As part of my Disney training, I completed over 400 hours of “in-costume” training at over 50 different roles and locations at Walt Disney World. As a Vice President, I hauled trash at the Magic Kingdom, made beds at the Grand Floridian, sold tickets at Epcot, cleaned the broiler at quick service restaurants, and sold merchandise in the stores.