If Disney Ran Your Hospital by Fred Lee

Reviewed by David Patterson

Not the usual genre of book to review on e-learning centre, but well worth dipping into from a learning perspective.
Fred Lee looks at Disney’s approach to motivation and learning, and sees four levels:
“Doing what someone makes me do” – the weakest form of motivation
“Doing what I believe I should do…even if I don’t like doing it” – requires a good level of motivation and self discipline engendering a degree of cynicism (especially if it is not practised at the top of the organisation)
“Doing what I need to do because I feel like doing it ” – a high level of motivation. I have changed my feelings toward a task or behaviour pattern, and no longer need the sanction of compliance of the action of will power.
“Doing what comes naturally” – the most powerful form of motivation. I didn’t think, as our lifelong pursuit of competence and character is an effort to replace bad habits with good ones.
Habit, argues Lee, is another word for talent. Develop and motivate people so they will have habits for success in their role; find the perfect match for role and talent by a continuous cycle of improvement.
So how is this done in the world of Disney? Well it helps if you are on the Disney bus, and buy in to the values of the organisation, but the values and approach are a little surprising:
Create a culture of dissatisfaction with the “as is”.  In the world of Disney this is undertaken by continuous customer satisfaction surveys, where the belief is that the organisation can always do better, and only a perfect score is acceptable!
Now for those of us running a business, who have been judged on this metric, relax.  Disney, so Lee tells us, does not take sanctions against poor customer satisfaction surveys, (providing you are on the bus, no doubt), but instead suggests:
‘Build a dream’ of how it could be better. This is more than some abstract vision or corporate mission statement, as it is about providing the knowledge to overcome the gap between “how it is” and “how it should be” in order to fulfil the dream. This is the learning and development gap, and dissatisfaction is the engine to overcome organisational inertia and complacency. This, in turn, leads to the ‘drive for competency’ based on the belief that it is the primary source of pleasure to the individual.
Why this is interesting to us from an e-learning perspective is that all too often it is organisational inertia that is the barrier to the adoption of e-learning and learning technologies.