The Underground at the Mouse House — Where the Continuous Improvement happens
My son did an internship at Disney World.
One of the stark images he shared was the Disney Cast cafeteria in Underground Disney. The underground is more than three times the size of the park and is really at ground level. The park is level two and three built above grade with the help of talented designers and the millions of square feet of soil evacuated from the Seven Seas Lagoon and other water attractions.
“In the final analysis Walt Disney’s greatest creation was the company,”
— Richard Schickel, author “The Disney Version.”
No guest under the age of 16 can tour Underground Disney-for fear of losing the Magic. Points shared by my son, reflecting on the Disney Cast Cafeteria were all the members in that day’s performance dined on the burger and fries for a $1.50 that cost $6.50 in the Park, surrounded by Mickey with her head off, Chip and Dale only semi-costumed and Snow White picking her teeth while intermittently adjusting her hose. This is where the stardust meets the sawdust; where the magic is created by hard work.
“In the final analysis Walt Disney’s greatest creation was the company,” Richard Schickel wrote in “The Disney Version”. Building a lasting legacy is the real challenge, many firms started by entrepreneurs conclude with their passing, while others subsist into the next generation, never realizing their fate is sealed and their care taking will only prolong the demise.
Surviving, building a business that does more than pass from one generation to the next can be a real challenge — this is where the stardust meets the sawdust — investing the time and planning takes a committed focus. It sends a message that planning is important and we must build the future now.
Some important tools often discounted in closely held firms are training, talent management, development and performance management, appraisal. While some of these sound similar they are not. Training covers four unique types:
• Required and regular OSHA, MIOSHA, orientation, harassment prevention
• Job and Technical-IT systems, on the job, record keeping.
• Development and Career-All hands business trends, leadership, change management.
• Interpersonal and problem solving-communication, problem analysis, team relationships.
One error some firms make is believing training is a Human Resource job, some of these same Paleolithic leaders also believe quality is the Quality department’s job. Training is part of a strategy. A sweeper at Disney is trained for over 40 hours before being permitted “on stage”. Outside truck drivers for Toyota’s supply chain spend 8o hours in training before they are permitted to interact with a supplier. Talent management, development is increasing difficult task, dual career families, organizational goals and individual goals all require balance and both the employee and company’s commitment to life long learning.
Performance management (click for detail) is the link in the chain that connects Organizational Strategies with Organizational Results. Developing tracking and adjusting these goals is not easy; linking an accounts payable role to strategy and results requires some effort. Performance management tools should address both administrative and developmental goals.
Keeping the leadership pipeline full is an organizational task. Writing the next pages in the history of a family business requires many minds, hearts and hands. This collection of talent needs metrics and tools to understand success and visualize when the Sawdust Becomes Stardust.
All the runners in a race compete, only one wins.
Lets run to win!
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