Best practices to facilitate a culture change
Recently, several Indianapolis area hardware store owners including Pat Sullivan of WIBC’s “Home & Garden” show and owner of Sullivan Hardware & Garden participated in a multi-day workshop in Orlando, FL at The Disney Institute, the professional development arm of the Walt Disney Company. Sullivan spoke with Radio Indiana about some of the best practices and real life business lessons shared by The Disney Institute which can help facilitate change in a business or corporate culture.
Pat Sullivan: They talked a lot about how much they invest in training their people and how they empower each employee. And I saw it in action at Epcot… There was a guy busing dishes (on the other side of the restaurant) and he sees a waitress knock a margarita off a table. He just goes away for a moment, then comes out with another margarita and puts it on the table and cleans up the mess. So it’s all about empowering – I mean he didn’t have to do that… He didn’t go, “well that’s someone else’s job” or “let me go ask my manager”. No, he’s empowered. Every person down to the guy sweeping the floor is empowered to take care of those guests… every one of them has that power to just make that decision and to know that they are not going to get ripped like “what the heck were you doing that for?” Owners and managers letting go (of the control) is important.
Radio Indiana: Interesting. Anything else regarding how to treat your employees?
Pat Sullivan: I think in business we can be the worst at thinking we have a little mini fiefdoms and the people get hung up on titles. You know, “I’m the owner”, “I’m the president”, “she’s my vice president”, “he’s my store manager”… it seems Disney does a better job of really saying hey, every employee is important! Sometimes I think small business people, we don’t do that as well as we should because as people get farther down the line we don’t maybe think those people are as important as our managers and assistant managers and stuff like that. So I think was a message that some of the store owners took away.
Radio Indiana: How about customer interaction, what was talked about with that?
Pat Sullivan: They talked a lot about how the experiences that the guests have and that you want them to have…. I use the term “everybody gets the same roller coaster ride”. At my store, for example, we give customers free popcorn. Yet it has happened before when at 6 o’clock at night I walk by the machine and it is closed up and the light is off. Well, why doesn’t the customer that comes in after 6 o clock get popcorn? Because my employees are tired of it, they’ve been busy all day and already made several servings of popcorn. That doesn’t matter because everybody gets the same roller coaster ride. We need to perform all the way through the hours we are open. Customers are there to have that experience, to have that magic.
Over the next couple of months, The Disney Institute is putting on the following one-day seminars throughout the Hoosier state.
- April 11, Ft. Wayne – Disney’s Approach To Quality Service. Know What Your Customers Want, Even Before They Do
- April 24, Kokomo – Disney’s Approach To Leadership Excellence
- May 3, Columbus – Disney’s Approach To Quality Service. Know What Your Customers Want, Even Before They Do
- May 8, Madison – Disney’s Approach To Brand Loyalty, How To Be A Customer Magnet
- May 10, Evansville – Disney’s Approach To Selection, Training and Engagement
- May 16, Sellersburg – Disney’s Approach To Quality Service. Know What Your Customers Want, Even Before They Do
- May 17, Anderson – Disney’s Approach To Brand Loyalty, How To Be A Customer Magnet
- May 17, Gary – Disney’s Approach To Brand Loyalty, How To Be A Customer Magnet
Visit The Disney Institute website for more information.