Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence Coming to Valpo

Countdown 51 days.  Looking forward to spending the day with some friends at the Disney Institute here in Valpo.

Click here for more details in the NWI Times.

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  Just finished reading “Poke the Box” by Seth Godin.  Good stuff, will be passing the book around.


Is five day delivery in the future for the post office?


Do you think customer service is a high priority at the post office?

I think we all will agree that the post office does a phenomenal job of delivering mail.  Put a letter in the mail one day, and it ends up in the hands of the recipient the next, sometimes even with the wrong or insufficient address.  Think about that.  Millions of pieces of mail moved all across the country every day with precise accuracy.

I think we also know they are in a financial crisis.

They are proposing 5 day delivery, already removed many corner blue mail boxes, and are consolidating or closing many post offices while simultaneously telling us customer service is important to them.

Customer service is not measured by what you say but by what you do.

Why not try upsetting the apple cart?

Can you imagine this television commercial by the post office professing their commitment to customer service?

“We are going to institute 7 day delivery, with all post offices being open 9 – 5,  7 days a week and if there is ever a line longer than 5 people, we will open another window.  We promise you will be greeted with a smile and we will find a solution to your mail needs.”

Radical?  Yes.

Impossible?  Maybe.

“If your goal isn’t impossible, you’re not reaching high enough”… jeff noel.

What do you think the post office could do to improve their customer service?

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  The post office is essentially my business partner.  I live with their decisions.

A good leader gives clear instructions

Real sign in Thailand hotel.

A good leader will give clear instructions.

Have a wonder-filled day

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I was never much of a rebel.

Photo courtesy of Katie and Thomas Gollbach

Employee Values – Pay It Forward

A story worth telling….
Monica decided she would only buy Starbucks if she had the money on hand.  No more putting it on her debit card. Wise choice.
While waiting at a doctor appointment, she realized she had the exact amount to  buy 2 cups of Starbucks. One for her and one for her sister and made a mental note to stop by on the way back to the office.
Her wait to see the doctor was unusually long and she was beginning to get annoyed.  She was thinking about all the things she needed to do and wondered “why am I waiting so long, WHY ME”?
Still waiting,  she noticed an older gentleman checking out and he was asked for his co-pay amount and he didn’t have enough money.  How much did he need?  Exactly what she had for her Starbucks coffee.
She gave him her money because she believes that was the reasons for the long wait.  She was meant to be there for this man.
It was fate.  Do you believe in fate?
Monica posted her experience on facebook and one of her friends is sending her a Starbucks gift card.  Pay It Forward.
Oh ya by the way, Monica is my daughter !!
Proud Mama,
Donna Flanagin

Random me:  I have never had a Starbucks, not even a sip.

Disney Institute – Proud as a Peacock

Proud as a Peacock

A two-part “Great Service Fanatic” card is one way Disney recognizes employees for a job well done.  Filled out with accolades by leaders and fellow employees, one copy is dropped into a Great Service Fanatic box and one copy goes directly to the deserving employee.   “Plussing it up” , once a month a random card is pulled and that lucky employee receives a special gift.

Wanting to institute something similar in our business,  we created a card called our Proud as a “Peacock Card”.  Used regularly to thank, recognize or just plain high-5.

Then the most amazing thing happened…..

My 8-year-old granddaughter saw the cards on my desk, helped herself to one, filled it out and left it where I was sure to find it.  It now hangs framed in my office for all to see.

I can’t stop smiling, here is what it says….

I'm the Proudest of All

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random Me: As a kid, I wanted to be a flight attendant.

The magic and enthusiasm of the Disney Institute workshop is over, now what? This blog is about exactly that,  for a small bulk mail business in Indiana.

Disney Institute – Everything Speaks

This sign is on display in our business as a daily reminder to our employees.  What does it mean?  What do you think it means?

Everything you say, everything our customer sees, speaks volumes about our company. Every point of contact matters.

While browsing a garden center, you notice too many plants are dead or dying, what is your impression?  Before eating at a  restaurant,  you notice the silverware is dirty, what are your first thoughts?

The Disney Institute challenge… look through the eyes of your customer.  Walk through your own front door, what do your customers see?  Ask a friend to call into your company phone system, how were they treated?  Did your phone system put them into the endless loop to nowhere?

It might be eye-opening.

Take the challenge and leave a comment about what is revealed about your company.

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me: I’m a morning person.

The magic and enthusiasm of the Disney Institute workshop is over, now what? This blog is about exactly that,  for a small bulk mail business in Indiana.

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.

Disney Institute – Leadership

This post is about how the Disney Institute influenced a small business in Indiana.

Leadership excellence > leads to employee excellence > which leads to customer satisfaction > which leads to repeat business and financial gain.  Seems simple enough, right?  If it works for Disney, why doesn’t it work for every business?  The truth is, it can.  The key is leadership.

How does leadership translate to employee excellence in a small business?  One way is by building a relationship with your employees.  Get to know them.  How do you do that?  Simple,  just ask.

Have you ever asked an employee what would make their job more enjoyable?   How about what their favorite dessert is or their favorite restaurant?

After completing the Disney Institute course, I did exactly that and the answers were surprising.  I never knew that strawberry rhubarb was Judy’s favorite pie, that roses were Erica’s favorite flower, that Monica particularly likes surprises and that Debbie loves homemade bread.

Monday is Judy’s birthday, guess what will be waiting for her?

Have a wonder-filled day,

Donna Flanagin

Random me:  My favorite flower is a carnation.

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