If Disney Ran Your Hospital

If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 and a Half Things You Would Do Differently
Book Author

This book has been recommended reading in the Healthcare industry since 2004. The leadership lessons on changing your culture here are immediately adaptable to those in other industries though, which is why we’re making this Book of the Month.

Here’s the important things we pulled from the book, If Disney Ran Your Hospital: 9 and a Half Things You Would Do Differently

5 Tips from Disney for Changing Your Company Culture


1. Don’t use Competitive Monetary Rewards to Motivate

Encourage synergy, longevity, and cross-functional learning instead of competition.

In an orchestra or jazz group, or with actors in a play, they work every bit as hard as any sports team to achieve excellence, but there is no competition, no prize other than the praise of the audience. These groups are so different from sports teams, we call them something else – ensembles.

To succeed, an ensemble doesn’t even need a leader as long as they all know the script or musical score. They may improvise and take turns starring in solo moments, but they never stray from the intentions. When the audience applauds, they have their reward.

2. Decentralize the Authority to say ‘Yes’

Dismantle your silos.

Free your employees who are stuck saying ‘No’, or at best, ‘Please wait for me to get permission’.

A Disney statement is:

“You are always right when satisfying a guest.”

Any discrepancies by employees are forgiven as long as it improved the guest experience. And it is empowering and fulfilling for employees, too.

3. Create a Climate of Dissatisfaction

If necessity is the mother of invention, dissatisfaction must be the father of improvement. Necessity may invent the mousetrap, but dissatisfaction builds a better one (see: Growth Mindset).

The formula for a culture of continuous improvement and excellence:

Dissatisfaction with ‘as is’ + Dream of ‘could be’ + Knowledge of ‘how to’ > ORGANIZATIONAL INERTIA

4. Regard ‘Customer Satisfaction’ as Fools-Gold

Measure ‘loyalty’, not ‘satisfaction’.

On a scale of one to five, a customer who marks a four is six times more likely to defect than a customer who marks a five.

Disney does not display ‘guest-satisfaction’ scores to its cast members; it shows them only the percentage of respondents giving fives to the questions. They are measuring customer loyalty.

Loyalty is gained from being engaged with the patient in a way that shows compassion.

5. Close the Gap Between ‘Knowing’ and ‘Doing’

Avoid these Traps that stop companies closing this gap.

Trap #1: Not giving the change authority. Unless your managers buy-in, role-model it and require it, you will not affect behavioral change.

Trap #2: Thinking more knowledge will close the gap. The best knowledge comes from learning by doing.

Trap #3: Letting assessment substitute for action.

Trap #4: Permitting managers to stall indefinitely with ‘How?’ questions. Asking How? is a favorite defence against taking action. How long will it take? How much does it cost? How do we measure it? Knowledge isn't a bad thing, but you have to be wary when How? is being used to stifle change for the sake of an easier job.

Extracts copyright Fred Lee. Available on Amazon and all good bookstores.

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