Mountains still under construction. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Podcast Episode #2: Organizational Lessons From Disney in 2017

Big things are happening this year–what organizational lessons from Disney will you be able to apply to your company in 2017?  Our second podcast notes five of these milestones, and discuss lessons you can take from them for your own organization. You’ll see that their successes and failures could teach you a lot about how you do business in your corner of the world. You can find the link here on iTunes.

Let’s review each:

1. Pandora: The World of Avatar

Bob Iger has brought several major brands into the organization—Pixar, Marvel & Star Wars. And Disney has used third parties to help create much of what makes Disney today. But, fans were surprised when a major theme park addition was added that is not under the Disney umbrella. Will this succeed? Especially when it isn’t a Disney IP?

Organizational Lessons From Disney in 2017
The floating mountains of Pandora. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Companies contract out many of their services all the time. Disney does it as well. But can you contract out the creative/intellectual property or brand? We’ll see how guests respond when this newest land at Disney’s Animal Kingdom opens May 27.

2. Typhoon Lagoon

Typhoon Lagoon has been the greatest water park in the world—only equaled by its sister park, Blizzard Beach. Now Universal has set up a new park, Volcano Bay, to open the same weekend as the new Avatar experience. It won’t steal Pandora’s limelight, but will it steal attention from Disney’s water parks? And will Disney’s new addition to Typhoon Lagoon, Miss Adventure Falls, make up the difference?

Organizational Lessons From Disney in 2017
Surfs up at Disney’s Typhoon Lagoon. But what swells lies ahead? Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

How are you set up to compete? What do you do to make sure you aren’t sitting on your laurels?

3. Nickel & Diming vs. Upselling vs. All-Inclusive Packaging

In an effort to increase per caps, Disney is now trying a number of initiatives to make money. From premium parking to After Hour events to dedicated passholder queues, we’ll make sense of what Disney is doing and whether it is working.

On the other hand, you have Disney Cruise Line. Yes, they’re expensive, but so much of what you experience on board is bundled in the price. There is very little in terms of an upsell. Is this perhaps the better approach?

Organizational Lessons From Disney in 2017
The top decks of The Disney Dream. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

The question any organization that charges its employees should ask, “How do you approach pricing so that it doesn’t seem like you are nickel & diming your employees?”

4. Disney International

2016 brought to the world one of the most amazing Disney parks ever built. But is Shanghai Disney really successful? Hong Kong doesn’t want to be the smaller sibling—but isn’t sure it wants to put up the money. Tokyo is determined to keep growing, despite it’s spatial limits. And Disneyland Paris celebrates its 25th anniversary as Disney attempts to take complete control of the park.

Organizational Lessons From Disney in 2017
Le Château de la Belle au Bois Dormant. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Can your services and products transfer to new markets? Can you persevere in those markets? How do you partner to make that happen?

5. Bob Iger’s Replacement

Since Walt Disney’s death over 50 years ago, Disney has not had a good track record for preparing a replacement. The same problem exists in 2017 since Thomas Staggs, Iger’s heir apparent, left the company in 2016. The clock is ticking on the future of Disney. What will happen at the stroke of midnight when Iger finally leaves—if and when he leaves?

Organizational Lessons From Disney in 2017
Tom Staggs at a press event at Epcot. Once an heir apparent, now there is none. Photo by J. Jeff Kober.

Ask yourself, “How are you preparing to develop the leadership of tomorrow? What is your succession plan?”

More Organizational Lessons From Disney in 2017

This is just a handful of the big topics we’ll be covering this year. Our Disney at Work podcasts in the days to come are much like our other offerings–we focus on Disney, and we offer best practices that you can bring into your business or organization. No need to worry about whether it might be NSFW. It’s not only safe for work–it will make your work even better! So join us, and whistle while you work!

If you like our Disney at Work podcasts, please remember to subscribe, so you can be alerted to future podcasts. While there, we would welcome a friendly rating and a kind word.

Also, don’t forget to send us the answer to our Disney Quiz Question: Since 1971, Walt Disney World has had an ongoing magazine style newsletter that keeps them informed about the company. What is the name of that publication? From the correct answers we will randomly select one individual to receive a copy of my book, The Wonderful World of Customer Service at Disney.

Thanks for joining us, and don’t hesitate to reach out to us if you have suggestions and ideas!

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