Participants in our Approach to Leadership Excellence training course frequently tell us that management today has a tendency to focus on finding what’s wrong and repairing it, or even punishing it, instead of finding what’s right and rewarding it.
Spotting shortcomings, providing feedback, and making appropriate adjustments are all necessary and important, but at Disney Institute, we teach business leaders that they must proactively search for and recognize employees who demonstrate their organization’s desired behaviors. In other words, they need to find people who are doing “it” right.
This principle represents a critical aspect of our Disney company culture. We believe positive reinforcement is one of the easiest and quickest ways to improve employee happiness and effectiveness. Just as a freshly planted seedling must be nurtured with water and sunlight, employee engagement must be fostered through consistent recognition and genuine care.
Catching employees doing “it” right increases the likelihood that they will repeat the desired behaviors, and leaders’ acknowledgment of such behaviors serves as positive reinforcement by nurturing employees’ self-confidence. Increased self-confidence, bolstered by continuous reinforcement, inspires people to do their best work, enabling them to make a dramatic and lasting impact on the organization.
Sincere recognition and appreciation are indispensable tools for engaging employees, and three primary groups at Disney recognize and appreciate our Cast Members:
- The Organization: Recognition programs are a major part of an organization’s culture. At Disney, we recognize our employees for both their everyday accomplishments and their extraordinary commitment to our organization. When three hurricanes struck Central Florida in the same month in 2004, the Disney parks assigned multiple ride-out crews to stay on our properties in order to take care of guests and fellow Cast Members, assess operations, and resume normal functions as quickly as possible. Disney created and distributed a special pin for the ride-out crews, in recognition of their exceptional effort.
- The Leader: Leaders use various tools daily to thank Cast Members personally for their efforts. Writing a personal thank-you note takes only a few minutes, but it goes a long way toward demonstrating your commitment to your people.
- Peers: Research shows that positive peer-to-peer recognition increases employee engagement. Imagine your team members grabbing one another a cup of coffee or writing personal notes of appreciation to one another. When that happens, you’ve succeeded in moving beyond work teams; you’ve created a community of people who truly support and enable one another to accomplish great things together.
At Disney Institute, we believe the extent to which you genuinely care for your employees is the same extent to which they will care for your customers and one another. And that’s a powerful way to create success in any business.
About Disney Institute
As the trusted, authoritative voice on the Disney approach to customer experience, Disney Institute uses business insights and time-tested examples from Disney Parks and Resorts worldwide to help organizations develop the customer experience culture they are capable of delivering. For nearly three decades, Disney Institute has helped professionals discover ways to positively impact their organizations and the customers they serve through immersion in leadership, service, and employee engagement. Unique to Disney Institute is the opportunity to go behind the scenes in a “living laboratory” to observe firsthand how Disney methodologies are operationalized and how they can be adapted and applied to any work environment.
Let our experience change yours. To learn more about courses that explore the Disney approach, visit DisneyInstitute.com.