Disney Institute – sometimes we teach – sometimes we learn
I was at Blue Ridge Community College in Weyers Cave, Virginia last week presenting Disney’s Keys to Excellence. Part of the morning program involves sharing the Disney core values of openness, respect, courage, honesty, integrity, diversity, and balance. But I learned a lot about commitment from the participants. Two medical centers sent large groups to the program and a regional convenience store/ gas station company sent 22 people. Several other organizations also sent groups of 6 or more to the session. Their presence clearly demonstrated an organizational commitment to find ways to be ready for the eventual turnaround in the economy rather than just trying to circle the wagons and survive. But for me, there was an even more impressive example of commitment. After the program I was approached by a woman who is a sole proprietor operating a small store in the area. She closed her business and gave up an entire day’s revenue to learn how she could be a better businessperson and find ways to grow. I spent several years as a sole proprietor myself and I appreciate what it takes to make time for training. Listening to her taught me a lesson in personal commitment. It is obviously great to be part of an organization that is committed to doing the right things right, but here is a woman PERSONALLY committed to doing the right things right and willing to sacrifice on the short term for the greater long term good. That’s something we can all learn from. I wonder how long her business will be “small”. Walt had the same kind of personal commitment. He let his brother Roy sell Walt’s personal car to pay for the equipment needed to add synchronized sound to a little short named Steamboat Willie. It all started with a mouse and a man committed to excellence. Sounds like a the start of a good business model to me.