Monday, December 20, 2010


“Turning Customers into Champions: Marketing as a Team Sport” featured not one, but two, enthusiastic supporters of the WOMM concept. For the uninitiated, that’s Word of Mouth Marketing. The idea is to encourage your staff and patrons to spread the library message by talking to others. Word of mouth is the most effective (and cheapest) way to pass your message along. One study found that WOMM is 10 times more effective than TV ads.

Key points made by the presenters:
The old way of traditional advertising is not as powerful as it used to be.
Getting people to talk about your business favorably is the best way to market
The average person is exposed to 3,000 messages per day and finds it hard to focus on anyone’s message
Word of mouth marketing is spontaneous and intentional (how you surprised and delighted your customer)
Most libraries have strategic plans but not marketing plans
Social Media is word of mouth on steroids
It’s a good idea to develop customer advisory boards (seniors or business people)
Have a good product, but have great customer relations
It’s good to have a plan, and a clear, memorable message

Friday, December 17, 2010

Disney Institute- December 7, 2010

Disney’s Approach to Leadership Excellence and People Management

When I heard that Baltimore City Community College was sponsoring the Disney Institute at the Baltimore Convention Center, I was excited. The day was full of ideas and perspective that helped me to think about things going on in our organization in different ways.

Disney is known for excellent customer service and innovation, so it was interesting to learn some of their secrets. Anyone who has ever visited a Disney Park knows how courteous and professional their staff is, from those working food areas, to those at the hotels, to those in key management positions. Disney has thought about quality and how to maintain it over the decades. I wanted to hear some tips. After all, libraries are a service organization, all about treating our customers well, helping them find what they need, whether informational or entertainment.

Specifically there were these ideas that I came away with:

• A leader is anyone who influences change, no matter what their position in the organization. (Sounds like Leading From Any Position).

• If you want to be a leader, forget about things, and think about people. A story was told about how Walt visited the park on third shift, where his custodial staff were cleaning late into the night after the park was closed. Walt shows up and treats the men to an orange juice, and chats with them. He would always ask his staff, “how are things going?” He said, “you never know where my next idea will come from”, so he respected the opinions and input he received and sought it out. People must have a personal connection with their leader.

• Seventy percent (70%) of Disney’s customers are return customers. This is a main focal area for them. Repeat customers have the intent to return and the intent to refer, or share their experiences with friends and family. Disney knows that it is critical that the experiences customers have are quality, so that they will return and refer others to them. What is our percent of return business in libraries?

• We judge ourselves by our intentions. Others judge us by our behaviors. Be cognizant that your team is always watching you. Do I exhibit passion and interest for the work we do? One story told to illustrate passion in leadership was about Walt Disney “selling” his animation staff on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. Back in the 1930s, no full length animated film had ever been made. Disney gave his animation staff money for dinner, and asked them to return that evening for a meeting. When they returned and gathered, Disney proceeded to act out the story, complete with character impersonations, for 2.5 hours. His staff could see his passion for the project, and came away inspired, so much so that, decades later, one of the animators, then elderly, remembered the experience vividly. The project to make the film took 3 years, and it is believed that it happened because the team believed in it. After all, if they were captivated by Walt Disney for 2.5 hours, they felt they could captivate an audience with the story. (Although the animator said that what ended up on screen wasn’t half as good as what Walt acted out)

• Change and commitment: Change happens for three reasons: A. because you’re desperate, B. to keep up with the Jones’ or C. to stay at the forefront of excellence. The third is Proactive Change, where the organization is re-energized, improves to meet customer needs, and to position it for new growth.

• Have a dream, not a strategic plan

• Do I do the right things? Do I do things right?

• Connect with your team and make sure they connect with each other. “We expect Cast Members to treat each other the way we treat our Guests”

• Disney constantly scopes out what is a hassle for their customers. Taking a look at whether our processes are effective was of great interest to me. I have also recently read an article about “Counting NOs to Get to YES” in Public Libraries magazine (Sept/Oct 2010, pg. 16). The idea there is to keep track with a log of how many times we tell people NO about things. I like this as a possible way to assess our processes. The presenters mentioned that the Disney Fast Pass system was a direct result of examining a process that was not working for their customers—waiting in long lines. So they devised the Fast Pass system as a way for customers to set up a specific window of time where they would get on the ride when they show up for their time.

• There was a lot of talk about culture—values, beliefs that an organization holds that drives our actions and behaviors and influence relationships. Disney says that the organization needs to define/design the culture, else it will be defined for you at the water cooler.

• Disney treats job applicants like guests. After all, they are future employees possibly, but they are potential customers.

• Hire for attitude vs. aptitude

• State non-negotiables up front. i.e. Disney lets people know in an orientation video about their expectations for Culture, Appearance, Schedule, and Transportation. The rules of conduct are presented in a non-threatening way, giving the applicant time to opt out before they even get to the interview process.

• Disney knows exactly how much money they use to train a “cast member”. (They did not divulge this) The presenter said “how much does it cost not to train someone? It is worth the investment to get the right fit. They take their time, and the trainee is identified as such with a button that says “earning my ears”.

• Disney trains for everything: they even have a mock restroom set up where they train custodial staff how to properly clean to their satisfaction. Maybe we should have a formal system of training custodial staff?

• Priorities for Disney Cast Members are: Safety, Courtesy, Show, Efficiency. Safety is their number one priority.

• With all of the stories used during the presentations for the day, I realize I should use more stories to communicate.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

McCormick: Building a Performance Improvement Questionnaire

Staff Name: Julie Zamostny
Training Title: Building a Performance Improvement Questionnaire
Date: December 7, 2010
**Note, click on the photos to view a larger version.