The Empowered Classroom

What if Disney ran the schools?

By June 14, 2018 October 15th, 2019 No Comments

Ok, this is tongue in cheek, but just stay with me.

Several years ago, I had the opportunity to attend a leadership event sponsored by Disney executives. Guess what? There are many lessons we in educational leadership can learn from the Disney model.

  1. Every guest is to be treated like the most important guest.
  2. Disney opens each day and closes each day in a joyous way, with the leaders (Mickey and Minnie), out front greeting the guests enthusiastically in the morning and offering a “thanks for coming, see ya real soon!” message in the evening.
  3. Disney leadership (Mickey Mouse) is very present, interacting with the guests throughout the day.
  4. Disney brings people together from all over the world, different cultures and different languages with the common goal of enjoying themselves and making great memories with their families.
  5. Disney works tirelessly to provide a consistent, excellent experience for each guest.
  6. When Disney fails to provide the guest with an excellent experience (unfortunately, life happens and rides break down) they work tirelessly to fix it so the guest leaves satisfied.
  7. Every cast member (what they call their employees) is carefully selected, highly valued, treated like family and fully trained in the unique culture of Disney.
  8. Every cast member is fully responsible to provide an excellent experience. There is no such thing as “that’s not my job”. Each cast member is expected to know all basic information a guest might need and, if they cannot provide the help needed, is expected to walk the guest to someone who can help them. I have seen Disney executives in suits walking through the park on a hot summer day with a stick picking up trash. I love that.
  9. Disney offers a large variety of experiences because they know that “one size does not fit all”.
    10. Disney provides excellent security for its guests in a way that is not scary to children but is highly effective. Is anyone in school security talking to the folks at Disney security? Might be a good idea. They deal with very real, very serious threats on a daily basis.
Jackie Matthews

Jackie Matthews

Education done well (with excellence, passion and love) can change individual lives and entire communities for generations. One of the most exciting and rewarding personal experiences in my life is watching someone “get it."

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