Walt Disney World

Walt Disney World

Sunday, 31 May 2015

Putting the fun in fundamentals

I should have known better than to expect a typical corporate training workshop from Disney. Through the YES program and our team projects, we not only learned Disney’s team-building process and principles, we lived it. In the end, I got so much more out of the experience. The dedication, talent, positivity and respectfulness of fellow teammates elevated the lessons to a whole different level, and I’m so grateful to you all. I learned as much from each of you as I did from the program itself and am happy to have a wonderful bunch of new friends.

"In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun." - Mary Poppins

My biggest take-away from the program is that creativity and innovation are outputs of a team. The greater the team, the greater the results. Disney’s process and principles allows them to create one incredible mega-team across their business divisions and keep them consistently delivering on their mission to create happiness for millions of people around the world.

So now that I’m back in DC, how can I apply the lessons learned from the workshop this past week to my own life? As a project manager, I work with small teams all the time though we often don’t approach it that way. Usually the relationship is more client-vendor than team, which works against us in the project as it makes it harder to establish trust. I’m going to go back to my team of coworkers and suggest we alter our approach and language to treat project groups more as teams and apply the Disney principles as team leaders. For every project, I’d like to make sure there is a clear vision that everyone understands and is on board with, bring a diverse set of people to the table, make sure each team member has the education and training necessary to handle the work, establish boundaries for us to work within and create a supportive culture of trust and respect.

The other take-away I’m looking forward to applying is regarding my own leadership strengths and weaknesses. I had a few moments on the trip after our workshop with Leah where I realized I’m naturally more comfortable being a servant leader, and I’d like to work on learning and practicing other leadership styles to balance out and improve my own abilities.


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