June 2020 - 26

MANAGEMENT
Lead Like the Mouse
By Russell Clayton
Learn about some of " the Disney
difference " techniques that independent
garden centers can apply to their stores.
F
rom an early age on through my teenage years, I have
fond memories of making the drive with my family from
our central Alabama home to the vacation capital of
the world. I always looked forward to our annual family trip
to Walt Disney World in Florida because there was always
something new to see and old favorites to revisit.
From an early age, I realized that Disney did things
differently - a good kind of different. Throughout my
childhood, we would go to other amusement parks
and vacation spots, but I could always tell " the Disney
difference " during our Disney vacations.
These childhood trips made such a positive impression
on me that I now take my own family to Disney parks on a
regular basis. Our visits these days are filled with princess
meet and greets, attractions like It's a Small World and
the Frozen Sing-Along Celebration, and crowd favorite Dole
Whip ice cream - all favorites of my two daughters.
I still notice the Disney difference during each of our
visits, but now I tend to see it with my " college professor "
and " workshop facilitator " hats on, noticing practices
Disney uses (many of which are common sense yet often
overlooked in business) to create quality service and
engaged employees.
Doing so allows me to share some of what makes Disney
so great with the attendees at workshops I facilitate. I've
shared these Disney best practices with groups ranging from
an international steel company to a university in Canada, and
now I am scheduled to share this information at Cultivate'20
26 | LAWN & GARDEN RETAILER | JUNE 2020
this July during my session " Lead Like the Mouse: Using
Disney Best Practices to Impact Your Organization. "
The Disney Secret
So what is it that Disney does so well? One of the things
is Disney's amazing attention to detail. Walt Disney himself
referred to this as " plussing, " an attraction in his first theme
park, Disneyland. To Walt, plussing something meant
attention to detail with an eye on quality.
One of the most often used examples of him plussing
something is related to the early years of Disneyland's
existence. Not only did Walt want to hold a Christmas
parade, but he wanted to hold a $350,000 parade! (That's
over $3 million in today's money!) Of course, his financial
advisors tried to convince him not to spend this amount of
money on a parade, noting that " no one is expecting it " to
happen. Walt's response was that Disneyland should do the
expensive parade precisely because no one is expecting it.
Does this mean we need to spend tons of money
" plussing " our business? Not necessarily. There are many,
many examples of attention to detail that Disney parks and
resorts " guests " see on a daily basis that are not nearly as
extravagant as a million-dollar parade.
Two small, but impactful, examples of Disney's attention
to detail are on the floors of the Magic Kingdom. The first
is the presence of bear claw marks on the wooden floors to
the entry of the Country Bear Jamboree show. The backstory

June 2020

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