How Does Disney Do It! A “Magic” Formula For Creating A Positive Company Culture

The Strategic Coach Team
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Last year, courtesy of a client, I had the opportunity to do a backstage tour of Disney World. What really struck me, amongst the many magical things about Disney, was how positive it is!

At 11 a.m., there was the Celebrate Parade, and the energy and enthusiasm of its cast members infected everyone. The Disney team was so happy we were there and thrilled about creating the magic for us. No one watching was immune—everyone was smiling and dancing and singing along. It was impossible not to join in, and I was there for business!

Given how easy it is to be negative and reactive in our daily lives, it’s exciting to find companies like Disney who’ve mastered the ability to bring out the positivity in people and make it part of their operating system.

A great book about Disney is Inside the Magic Kingdom by Tom Connellan. He noticed that even the guests pick up the attitude of the people who work there and start helping each other. Veteran visitors of the park will ask others who are looking confused how they can help. Everyone wants to help each other experience the magic. Everyone’s just a little bit nicer at Disney.

Is positivity instrumental to Disney’s success, and if it is, can we emulate it? Absolutely. When our clients and customers can count on us to create a positive and safe experience for them, they’ll continue to give us their business, and refer us to others.

How do you create that kind of positive and enthusiastic culture? A huge part of positivity comes from acknowledging and celebrating progress instead of focusing on what’s not progressing.

Many of us take for granted the progress we’ve made, and wonder why we get discouraged when our final goal seems so far away. By taking the time to measure how far we’ve come, we gain the energy and enthusiasm for continuing the journey.

One quick and easy strategy to capture the progress made is to start every meeting with a Positive Focus. At the beginning of the meeting, go around and give everyone 30 to 60 seconds to say what area of progress they’re proudest, happiest, or most excited about in any part of their life.

Most people come into a meeting not “present.” They’re focused on the last conversation they had, the last email they read, or the traffic that almost made them late. By starting with The Positive Focus, you get everyone mentally, as well as physically, in the room. Many of us at Strategic Coach do this in all our meetings, both internally, and also with clients.

Whatever issues we need to deal with, they’re always better handled from a positive and confident frame of mind. Creativity thrives in a safe, positive atmosphere, not a fearful, negative one. It’s not that you’re overlooking challenges; in fact, you’re coming at them with the right attitude.

You can also finish meetings by asking, “What value did you get out of this meeting?” By always bookending your meetings this way, you’re training people to look for the value in every experience. The focus is always on what’s working rather than what isn’t. The more often you do it, the more automatic it becomes.

In our drive for increasing productivity and profitability, positivity can be your “magic” formula for growth.