Disney Magic and Micromanagement

by Sage Dillon on November 18, 2011

Mickey Mouse's Gloved Hands Holding the Light at the Disneyland Hotel

Photo courtesy of Flickr user HarshLight

I brought my husband, mother-in-law and two kids along to Anaheim this past weekend so that they could do Disneyland while I did the National Association of REALTORS® annual convention. Because I was bringing the kiddos, I chose to stay at the Disneyland Hotel rather than a Hilton or Marriott.

It was my first time staying at a Disney property. I’ve been to the Magic Kingdom plenty of times, but growing up, my family generally stayed at a motel down the road to save money. Why pay more when all you’re going to do is sleep in the room, right?

During the convention’s general session, I was fortunate to hear former Disney CEO Michael Eisner speak. He had two main messages: practice creativity in a (financially responsible) box and don’t be afraid to micromanage.

Eisner was promoting micromanagement? Yep, that’s correct. But what he calls “micromanagement,” others might call “attention to detail.” He talked about how nothing was too small to escape Walt Disney’s notice. He would pick up litter as he wandered the park—the guy in charge setting a priority on cleanliness that is still evident at Disneyland today.

When I checked in to the Disneyland Hotel, the kids had not yet arrived. As I unpacked my bag and tidied up, I kept finding Mickey Mouse everywhere. He was subtly in the tiles of the bathtub. His familiar white-gloved hands held the lights by the mirror. His distinctive ears swirled in the carpets. A Mickey treasure hunt for my four-year-old son, I thought with delight!

As I passed the nightstand, I noticed that the lamp had two switches. A tiny Tinkerbell pointed to one of them. Intrigued, I hit the switch. The wooden headboard, carved with the familiar Disney castle, suddenly lit up with stars and fireworks as “A Dream Is a Wish Your Heart Makes” started to play in a music box tone. Magic!

I couldn’t wait for my kids to arrive. The four-year old found all the Mickeys, with a little help from Grandma, but I saved the best for last. When I lit up the headboard, my nine-month-old cooed and reached out for the stars. And my son’s look of wonder was so heartfelt and intense that it nearly made his mama cry.

That headboard was our night light, and the wonder of turning it on and hearing the music play lasted throughout our stay. The motel down the street is a cheaper place to rest your head, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But this past weekend, I discovered the value of Disney’s fanatical attention to detail. That kind of magic is hard to resist.

What do you do in your business to enchant your customers? What is your signature service? It may be time to let Disney work his spell on you and inspire you to find your own magic.

(Want to see the headboard in action? It’s on YouTube, of course.)

 

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My #NARAnnual
November 22, 2011 at 11:03 am

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Phil Sexton November 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

Sage, I like your take on Eisner’s meaning of micromanagement. Attention to detail is a much better way of putting it.

Sage Dillon November 21, 2011 at 10:59 am

@Phil, Eisner is probably guilty of the other kind of micromanagement too. ;)

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