Disney is not perfect. Far from it. But I want to explore 5 things the church could learn from Disney. Here's the first:
1. Every staff member knows their real job
At The Magic Kingdom, we had managed to get ourselves lost. There was a particular exhibit that we wanted to explore, and we had no idea of how to find it. I interrupted a cleaner who was busy picking up litter, and asked him for directions. He stopped what he was doing, and with a broad grin on his face, he gave me clear directions. He then handed me a map from his satchel, and showed us the best way to get there. He glanced at his watch and added “If you go straight to the centre auditorium, you’ll be in time for the main show. Don’t miss it! It is well worth seeing!”
You see, he knew his job. His badge might have said “Cleaner”, but he knew that his real job was to help make every visitor’s experience of the park the best possible. This was true of every staff member we encountered. They might happen to be a ride operator, a cast member, a cloak room attendant or one of the maintenance staff - but they known that their real job is a ‘people’ job. They own the vision - they reflect the vision - they enjoy the vision.
If you’ve every encountered a Disney staff member, every single one is an expert on everything in the park. You can approach a cleaner, a restroom attendant, a waitress, a security guard - and a number of things become evident:
- They have a comprehensive knowledge of everything in the park
- They own the whole vision
- They never say “I’m sorry - that’s not my department”
- Their sole focus in to enhance the experience of the guest
That’s why Disney puts some of their best ‘people’ staff on their cleaning team. In the early days, I understand that Walt hired outside contractors to take care of things like car parking, security and other ‘sundry’ roles in his park. But he quickly changed that when he realised that he wanted everyone to own the central vision. Walt once said, “I tell the security police that they are never to consider themselves cops. They are there to help people. The visitors are our guests. Once you get the policy going, it grows.”
So, how’s it going at your church?
- Is every member of your staff and volunteer team committed to the overall vision of your church. Do they own it? Do they reflect it? Do they enjoy it?
- Or are they only focussed on their particular narrow role?
- Does your staff and volunteer training give them the information and empowerment they need to genuinely serve your members and visitors?
- If a newcomer came to your church, and encountered some of your volunteers on their journey, would they have an experience such as I had at Disney?
- Do your staff and volunteers know their real job? That in everything they do, they are in the people business - to bring people to Christ, grow them in his community, and equip them to go and minister in his name?
Who owns their vision more? The Disney team - or your church ministry team?
Quicklinks to the five commitments:
1. Embrace your guests: Every staff member knows their real job
2. Embrace Excellence
3. Embrace the unexpected
4. Embrace the future
5. Embrace possibility thinking