At Disney, training is highly structured, designed by an expert Human Resources team, and delivered by carefully chosen hourly Cast Members called “Disney Trainers”.
A Disney Trainer is not a full-time role.
You perform your normal Host/Hostess role and when you are needed, you are scheduled to be a trainer and get a small hourly pay increase for the hours you are officially designated as a trainer.
Training Manuals filled with Standard Operating Guidelines for each individual role are followed and administered without deviation.
There are additional layers to training and i am skipping those intentionally to jump to development.
Development at Disney, and any great organization, is the opposite of training.
Development is highly unstructured.
There are no manuals.
There are no trainers.
Development is initiated by great leaders.
Good leaders may rarely initiate development.
There is also very little accountability to insist that development is robust.
Great Disney leaders have unlimited and creative ways to develop others (usually their direct reports, but not limited to that).
For example, during a bi-monthly one-on-one meeting with my leader in 2007 (seven years before i retired), Wayne said, “Not everyone on the Executive Team likes you. When you’re in meetings, just zip it.”
Those two sentences changed the trajectory of the second half of my 15-year Disney Institute career.
In fact, in all of my 30-plus years at Disney, this was the simplest, quickest, and most impactful development any leader bestowed on me.
Contrast that with a seven-month full-time special assignment as a Guest Satisfaction Measurement (GSM), the second most impactful “development” in a long career.
Just to be crystal clear:
Train for compliance with the highest industry standards.
Develop for commitment so strong, you earn the reputation as being a great place to work, because your mission (and the way you connect your team to it) is so powerful.
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