After living in Florida for almost 2 years, we finally took the plunge. We went to Disney. And we survived. After nearly 20 miles of walking, buying the most expensive tub of popcorn I've ever seen, standing in lines, and seeing endless Storm Troopers... we're hooked. We're in. Thank you Disney for Florida resident passes!
Amidst it all, I want to try to pull a few leadership lessons:
1. Details Matter - I was geeked out at the parking at Disney. Not that the lots are huge or the trams are constant or that we got to park in the Heroes lot. But I was geeking out over how much detail goes into something as mundane as parking. It's a coordinated symphony where every car has a spot, tram operators can tell you based on the time of your arrival where you parked, and how clear the lines and traffic ways were. In leadership, we can't overlook how important the details are. Typos in our publications happen, but if we're attentive to detail we'll make sure we pay attention to the little things. Even how Disney employees are taught to point proves their attention to detail.
2. Excellence - One of the coolest parts about Disney is that it's never done halfway. Even when it's the same show or presentation, it's always done with excellence. Sure it gets old for the performers, I don't know how it couldn't. I mean, I bet even the mechanics in Small World get tired of it. Whenever we do anything in leadership, it should be done with excellence because whatever we do in leadership is done for God, to the benefit of His people, for the praise of Jesus' name.
3. Cleanliness Speaks Volumes - After a long day, the most expensive tub of popcorn I've ever bought got knocked over by our 3 year old. Luckily, it came with cheap refills. In the 10 minutes that I walked back to get a refill, the mess had already been cleaned up. Disney's maniacal obsession with cleaning is famous. The way we treat our facility speaks volumes to guests. If we're happy with clutter, trash, and unkept flowerbeds, lawns, and pews, it says much more than what our website or preaching says.
4. Experiences Should Be Felt - When people go to Disney, they don't go for thrill rides. We had to explain that to our 7 year old who wanted to ride roller coasters all day. It's all about the experience of waiting in lines, seeing the characters, being immersed on the rides, and soaking in the whole range of emotion and wonder. Our leadership can learn a lot from that, not to manipulate people by forcing an experience, but to make sure that we're putting people in a place to not only hear truth, speak truth, but feel truth. Is your lighting too bright? Too dim? Is the volume too high or low? Is there clear signage? Do people feel welcomed by friendly and engaging faces?
5. Find Ways to Simplify - Too often our leadership and ministries operate like a crowded area, tons of activity going, lots of commotion, and more happening than we could ever take in. And yet in the middle of all that is a Disney way to simplify -- the FastPass+. With the FastPass+, you can select 3 attractions ahead of your time there. That way, you can plan your day without the chaos of navigating a park filled with thousands of people looking around for what's next. Sure, there's still standby lines, but we found the FastPass+ process to simplify and take a lot of the pressure off our Disney trip. As leaders, we have to find ways to simplify what we do. Can our people explain what our mission statement is? Can people explain our process for discipleship and assimilation? If not, we're too complex. That's where I've found the Simple Church model so useful. My dream for our church is to someday embrace Connect-Grow-Go. Three words that tell us how we achieve our mission of "Building Strong Families in Christ."
Scott M. Douglas
A blog about leadership and the lasting legacy of family ministry.