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Creating a Company Culture – The Disney Way

Reinforcing Behaviors that Shape Your Organization’s Culture

Shep Hyken interviews Dan CockerellWalt Disney Company VP for 26 years and owner of Cockerell Consulting Group with his wife, Valerie. He is the author of How’s the Culture in Your Kingdom?: Lessons from a Disney Leadership JourneyHe shares how a sustainable culture inspires loyalty from employees and customers.

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Top Takeaways:

  • Culture can be defined as “How things are done around here.” It is based on your values, it defines what your best practices are, and how you hire people who are going to believe in that culture.
  • Any organization can decide what its culture is and then start to go after it with intentionality. It is not a matter of cost; you can’t buy culture. It is a matter of will.
  • Dan Cockerell shares how organizations can create the right culture that makes a long-term impact on employees and customers:
  1. Hire the right people. Look at the people in your companies who are superstars and figure out what makes them great. Then, find people who have the same fire and great attitude.
  2. Train them right. Set clear expectations from the beginning, starting from the interview and onboarding process. Your employees should understand why what they do is important in the overall customer experience.
  3. Treat them right. Treat employees with respect. Listen to them, equip them with the right tools, and help them when they need it. Recognize them when they do a great job so you can reinforce the good behaviors that bring a stronger culture.


“Culture is shaped by the behaviors that you reinforce.”

“Great companies have leaders who lift those around them up.”

“For organizations to be successful, there needs to be an emotional connection. People need to believe in what they do.”

“Money is not a long-term differentiator to keeping your employees happy. It is important because it helps you do things in life, but when it comes to human nature, people don’t perform for money. What they do every day gives them the purpose that will make them stay in your organization.”


Dan Cockerell is a retired 26-year Walt Disney Company VP who now owns Cockerell Consulting Group with his wife Valerie. He is the author of How’s the Culture in Your Kingdom?: Lessons from a Disney Leadership Journey.

Shep Hyken is a customer service and experience expert, New York Times bestselling author, award-winning keynote speaker, and your host of Amazing Business Radio.

This episode of Amazing Business Radio with Shep Hyken answers the following questions … and more:

  1. How do you define company culture?
  2. What shapes your company’s culture?
  3. How do you create and maintain company culture?
  4. What motivates employees to stay at a company?
  5. How do you improve employee loyalty?

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