He once managed 20 resort hotels, four theme parks, two water parks, a shopping and entertainment village, and the ESPN sports and recreation complex in addition to the ancillary operations which supported Walt Disney World® Resort (the #1 vacation destination in the world).
Lee joined Disney in 1990 to open the Disneyland Paris project.
Lee also created the Disney Great Leader Strategies, which was used to develop 7,000 leaders at Walt Disney World® Resort.
Lee, what’s an interestingly weird fact about yourself?
My first job was in 3rd grade, I milked a cow everyday by hand.
How did your journey as an entrepreneur all begin?
My Mother married 5 times.
I went to college, dropped out after 2 years and went into the Army in 1964.
In the army I cooked and then went to Washington D.C. when I got out as a waiter.
Worked there for 3 years, met my wife there and got married.
Then I worked at the Hilton for 8 years and then joined the Marriott corporation for a long time.
In 1990 I got recruited by Disney to go to France and open Disney in France.
I worked for 16 years up in Disney.
Then I retired because I was 62 and wanted to do some other things like write books and public speaking.
Now I travel around the world.
What’s Disney’s secret to building such a strong culture?
Be very clear with people about expectations.
Treat people right.
Give them hope that they can get ahead.
What’s your Big Reason Why?
I come to the conclusion that I didn’t wanna be a boss anymore, I wanna be the teacher.
What’s the secret to successfully managing so many huge projects at the same time?
#2 – Training. Test them after the training.
#3 – Creating a culture.
Launching Disney France was the hardest job I ever did.
The disadvantage was that I didn’t speak French.
When we launched they were losing a million a day, they had a lot of debt.
The French didn’t grow up with Disney like we did here in the U.S.A.
What’s the vision of Lee Cockerell look like for the future?
Business is picking up, I developed a 2 day workshop.
Working on a 4th book teaching people how to handle a career when things go south or you get fired.
I started a podcast 3 months ago called Creating Disney Magic.
It teaches you how to be a better leader and manager, also how to create the right culture.
The show is every Tuesday morning, it’s a 15 minute show and people love it.
What’s your best entrepreneurial advice?
Don’t underestimate what you can do.
Get over the obstacles, just keep pushing, that’s what entrepreneurs do.
What’s your favorite Success Quote?
“Everything’s hard before it’s easy.”
What’s a top recommended book?
Creating Magic – 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney
If all you had was $1,000 and a laptop computer what would you do to build a successful business starting from ground zero?
Put up a website to communicate with everyone in the world about my ideas.
Give them a good reason to go to your site.
What’s the best way to connect with you?
Lee Cockerell – On Walt Disney World
If you enjoyed today’s episode be sure to leave Lee a comment down below.
Love & Light,
>>> Interview ends here <<<
If you enjoyed today’s episode, check out our previous episode with: Amy Starr Allen – Conscious Marketing Mom-Preneur