Lee Cockerell was once such an arrogant and autocratic young manager at the Walt Disney World Resort that an employee broke a bottle of beer on his head.
That prompted this manager, who went to become the resort’s executive vice-president, operations for 10 years, to embark on a lifelong study of leadership. He formulated what’s known as the Disney Great Leaders strategies.
Some of his conclusions appear in his new book, Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney, which is now available in Indian bookstores.
In his book, Cockerell, who lives in Orlando, Florida, talks about the mistakes that he made in his long career at Disney and outlines the processes and rationale behind Disney’s employee-driven ethos.
He talked to Lounge about five inspirational books that changed the way he looked at success and leadership:
By Malcolm Gladwell
“This book teaches us how to understand the way we think,” says Cockerell. He believes that Gladwell’s book, a best-seller all over the world, can teach young managers how to think differently, help them make better decisions and provide better service to customers.
It’s Your Ship
By Capt. Michael Abrashoff
As commander of the highly acclaime ‘USS Benfoldd’, Abrashoff demonstrated how progressive management can succeed at sea. Cockerell recommends this book especially to learn how to work through the web of bureaucracy that is present in every organization. “It teaches you how to get extraordinary results by involving, listening and showing respect to people in an organization,” he says.
What Got You Here Won’t Get You There
By Marshall Goldsmith and Mark Reiter
Marshall, an executive coach to the corporate elite, pinpoints 20 bad habits that can stifle already successful careers. Although some of it is staple self-help stuff— “Learn to listen”, “Let go of the past”—Cockerell believes that it reminds you of the importance of being a learner all your life.
Good To Great
By Jim Collins
This book explains in great detail the differences in the practice and leadership of organizations that are good, in contrast to those that are great. “I particularly liked the author’s point that the very best leaders have two special traits, which Collins calls ‘Level 5 leaders’. Those two distinct traits are humility and ambition,” says Cockerell.
The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People
By Stephen Covey
Few instructional books have gained as much popularity as this one that came out first in 1989. Covey’s best-seller, says Cockerell, can greatly improve lives: “Anyone can practise Covey’s mantras.”