• Kenneth E. Fields

Business Change and Mickey Mouse


Spending just a few days at Walt Disney World and it's hard not to notice some of the change management tools Disney uses to create “the happiest place on earth.”

Disney Change Management Lesson #1: A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

The folks at Disney are experts at making the line to the front of an attraction both winding and interesting. As you make your way back and forth in the well engineered lines, they want you to focus less on the wait and more on the great artwork, interactive screens, and celebrity videos.

The lesson? If you can’t make the journey shorter, at least make it exciting! As you lead changes, look for interesting ways to communicate about the process of changing and the final result. One great example I’ve seen was the creation of a superhero and corresponding comic strip to explain a new IT system. Comics were released regularly to explain the current progress of the project. It wasn’t the finest artwork but it definitely got my attention.

Disney Change Management Lesson #2: I Just Can’t Wait to Be King

Don’t want to wait in line? Has Disney got a deal for you! Just place your ticket in the FastPass terminal and get a pass to the front of the line. There’s only one catch, your FastPass is only good for a specific hour later in the day. In effect, you give up the right to hold a FastPass for any other ride for the benefit of spending less time in line for the ride you really want to ride (and presumably, ride less popular rides).

The lesson? Give people as many choices as possible. You may find people who want to change faster than you have planned. Let them take the change ‘FastPass’ and become ambassadors!

Disney Change Management Lesson #3: Be Our Guest

Disney hospitality is legendary. They want to make sure that you know exactly where to go and what to do while you’re with them. In fact, they do such a great job that it can be jarring when you don’t get the directions you’re expecting from them.

The lesson? If you’re changing something, keep the 'roadmap' of the process available for all to see. The better people understand the end results, the more support they will give you.

Even if your company isn't trying to convince customers to stand in the central Florida heat in the middle of summer, you can learn a lot from a mouse! Try out one of the ideas above and help your project take off faster than Space Mountain!


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