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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Common sense leadership, 16 Sept. 2009
By 
This review is from: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney (Paperback)
This is both the story of author Lee Cockerell's career, particularly the Disney phase and the leadership strategies he and others developed for the Disney Institute, a learning and development centre for current and future leaders (initially for Disney employees, but now also for public students).

The first two chapters are real page-turners. I couldn't wait to read the next episode in Cockerell's personal development as a manager and leader. His writing is personal, humble and most importantly, illuminating. The stories of the mistakes he made as a manager and how he developed strategies to avoid them in the future, would be particularly useful for any new or even experienced manager.

The following three quotes in the early part of the book stood out for me. They perhaps best illustrate Cockerell's thoughts on leadership and provide a flavour of Cockerell's philosophy:

"No one ever explained to me the difference between managing and leading. I wish someone had; it would have spared me a lot of anguish."

"Despite the amazing variety of human beings out there, all everyone wants is to feel special, to be treated with respect, and to be seen as an individual."

" . . . managerial skills are absolutely essential for getting results, but they are not enough to drive excellence. Excellence requires common sense leadership."

The remainder of the book goes on to outline the 10 leadership strategies on which the Disney Institute learning is based and which presumably, Disney managers apply.

So, the book is in two parts - personal story-telling and advocating the best way to lead.

I found the second part much slower than the first. Each chapter starts with an explanation of one of the 10 strategies and proceeds through a list of practical suggestions for implementing the strategy. For the most part, there are plenty of examples to illustrate. However, as with any book that has "7 habits ...", "10 steps to ...", "101 ways to ..." one has to be in the appropriate state of readiness to appreciate and/or apply these. I can see why the book is used extensively as a resource and study text at the Disney Institute.

Overall, I liked this book for two reasons. Firstly, it is practical with plenty of real life examples to illustrate the "how to" (or "how not to"). Secondly, it is written by someone who has spent his entire work life managing, not by a so called management guru. It was a shame therefore that for me, this credibility was tarnished just a little by the blatant ad for the Disney Institute in the last couple of pages - I was already sold!

I'd recommend this book for new and not so new managers to use as both a personal motivator and a "how to" develop essential leadership skills. Should you buy the book as a learning tool, my suggestion would be to read the first couple of chapters straight away, then focus on one of the 10 leadership strategies, each spread over an extended period.

Bob Selden, author What To Do When You Become The Boss: How New Managers Become Successful Managers
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5.0 out of 5 stars Creating Magic Review - very inspirational and a great read!, 17 Jan. 2011
This review is from: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney (Paperback)
Being a huge Disney fan, I have admired Disney for years and their exceptionally high, world class customer service, standards, and attention to detail. I was initially brought this book by my parents, but was so impressed, that I brought another copy for a colleague at work who was taking on their first management role.

The book is easy to read, compared to several similar books that I have read in the past that I have found difficult to keep my interest. It tells Lee Cockerill's career story, both pre-Disney and whilst working for Disney. He tells some excellent stories about his career and doesn't shy away from the difficult times, what these have taught him and how they have ultimately helped him along his career path. Whilst telling his story, Lee uses this to teach and illustrate ten leadership principles that can be applied to any business by managers or leaders.

I have found Lee Cockerill extremely inspirational throughout this book, and would now very much like to attend one of the Disney Institute training sessions that he has been involved in. It has really motivated me and I have since tried out some of his strategies at work to great success. This book is excellent and well worth a read!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a gem!, 24 Aug. 2013
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This review is from: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney (Paperback)
Fantastic. Every manager and aspiring manager should read this and then read it again! How can so many managers get it wrong? This should be compulsory reading for all newly appointed leaders.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Leadership through empowerment of your people, 14 Jun. 2010
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Jan Gorremans (Belgium) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney (Paperback)
Very easy and fun read.
Lee uses live time experiences and explains it very simple, good leadership starts with empowerment of your people. Everything from hiring, training, coaching, empowering, firing, ... he tackles it all in a well written and acceptable way. At the end of each section a summary is given seen as a chapter recap. It is much more user-friendly, pragmatic and down-to -earth then most books on leadership and managment I've read so far.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, 18 April 2014
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This review is from: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney (Paperback)
Loved this book. It has great examples of his strategies being used and how he devised such strategies. He writes it in a way which is very easy to read and makes you want to read more. I definitely felt inspired all the way through. I think all managers and future managers should read this.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, 8 Dec. 2014
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I learned a lot reading this book, just need to put everything I have learned into practice. Would recommend this book to anyone looking for the leadership path.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Insight, 22 Mar. 2015
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Great insight into Disney's business practices. This has undoubtedly had an effect on my leadership style and how I will move forward in my career.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sure Fire Thing, 6 Jun. 2014
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This review is from: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney (Paperback)
A book I always buy by manager employees when they have a desire to understand how to self improve. Often paired with 7 Habits, Stephen Covey.
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5.0 out of 5 stars CREATING MAGIC BY LEE COCKERELL, 3 April 2011
This review is from: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney (Paperback)
GREAT MODERN APPROACH TO LEADERSHIP - A MUST READ FOR ALL LEADERS OF THE PRESENT AND THOSE OF THE FUTURE.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magic, 13 Dec. 2010
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This review is from: Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney (Paperback)
Occasionally I have a problem with the words "common sense". It seems to me that past a certain age (say, about 15), no-one teaches you common sense, you are just expected to know. However, common sense, like anything else, needs to be taught. It is, after all, common sense to look both ways before crossing a road. Most of us know this because someone took the time to teach us at an early age. In leadership it is much the same. No-one really takes the time to teach you common sense. This book does, and as a result, at times it can sound rather patronising. Te book does exactly waht it says on the tin. His strategies ARE common sense, and most of the time, my reaction was one of "well of course....." but then I reflected on leaders I had worked for, and things I had done in a leadership capacity and realised that if they were so obvious, how come most people don't do them! I work in the education sector, and have started to use some of the ideas in my role. If you are a leader, or considering a move in that direction, this is an excellent choice of manual, and one that can be dipped into from time to time to refresh or remotivate you.
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