Disney Institute – The Front Line

Disney calls them the “front line”, we call them the “heart beat” of our company;  the employees that are in the trenches, dealing with the public and just plain indispensable.

The front line is full of valuable information that can help with leadership decision-making.  Who knows more about your customers’ needs, complaints or struggles?

On the first day of the Disney Institute workshop, we participated in a leadership exercise called the Duckburg Activity.  It was a delightfully funny, eye-opening experiment in communication.   It focused on the difficulties of being a front line employee without proper communication from the leaders.

I was able to reproduce this activity for my employees.   It was great fun watching them try to figure out what was going on, the quiet confusion and the eventual success.

As a result, we started early morning meeting for better communication.  We started to look for ways to make the front line job easier or more efficient.  Through that process we discovered that too much time is wasted restocking supplies.  We were able to devise a system to hold larger quantities of our mailing product.  A task that was once done daily is now only done once a week.

Somewhat insignificant, right?  Not to our front line.

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random Me: I’m a cat lover.


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15 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Wow. To hear, and see, the seemingly insignificant impact DI made on your small business is inspiring.

    • The reason I am blogging is because there were so many things. Some little, some big but ALL fun. Nothing negative (can that be true)?

      • Yes 🙂

  2. Thank you for another blog of inspiration and wisdom.

    • Thank you, hope you start blogging soon and let me read them 🙂

  3. Oh no…cats… 🙂

    It’s so cool to see efficiency at work.
    I can only imagine what a 5-day DI workshop is like! (I think I’ve said that before) 🙂

  4. […] Disney Institute – The Front Line July 2010 7 comments 4 […]

  5. Hi Donna! I just went through a DI Leadership Training where we also participated in the Duckburg exercise. I would love to share this exercise with my company, but can’t remember all of the instructions. Would you mind sending me the information you used with your staff? I’d appreciate it! Thanks!

    • Sorry Becky, I lost the data file with my notes.

  6. I would love to try your version of “Duckburg” with teens in a leadership class. Would you be willing to share?

    • Sorry Sarah, I don’t have it anymore.

  7. Hi Donna, I’m impressed by your blog above on the DI Institute. Are you able to share the exercise that you recreated? I’d like to try that where I’m at.

    Thank you for Sharing.

  8. Hi, I saw your post about the Duckburg Inc activity. I loved that activity when I went through the Disney institute training but wasn’t able to take very good notes. If possible, I would love to get any information you have on it so I can recreate it for my staff and managers. You can email me Thank you

    • Mike, I wish I could send you what I have but I have been asked not to share it. There have been so many people wanting to re-create it and by nature I love to help people, but I am going to have to decline. I totally understand about the note taking, once you review it you realize you don’t have enough information to re-create it. So sorry that I cannot help.

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