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The Leadership Podcast

The Leadership Podcast

Why do we do this?

We interview great leaders, review the books they read, and speak with highly influential authors who study them.

How we do this?

#1 We interview great leaders.
#2 We review the books great leaders read and write.
#3 We have fun!

Nov 13, 2019

Dan Cockerell is a former Disney Executive, and spent 22 magical years at Walt Disney World in a wide variety of management roles - rising to Vice President of the Magic Kingdom. He shares critical leadership lessons he learned at Disney, and why it was important to always be accessible and available to his team. He also shares how to keep your staff accountable while also supporting the company’s mission, vision and values.


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The Leadership Podcast is proud to announce a new initiative with thoughtLEADERS to provide very short podcasts called “chalk talks.” They’re “bitesize” hacks on common (but challenging) leadership issues.


Interested in learning more?  You can only access the Chalk Talks by subscribing to our mailing list at The Leadership Podcast.


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Key Takeaways 

[1:35] After graduating with a degree in political science, Dan took on a job at Disney parking cars and slowly worked his way up into management roles. Throughout his 22 years at Disney, he had 19 jobs.

[7:35] Leaders know instinctively what they have to do, but just like why we eat junk food or do not work out regularly, it’s not always the easiest path to take.

[9:50] Leaders are extremely busy people. Dan offers some advice on how you can manage your time better and stop focusing solely on the urgent tasks but also on the important ones too.

[16:45] How do you hold someone accountable while living out your company’s mission? You recognize and reward good work from your team and use their actions as examples to inspire and educate everybody else.

[24:05] Remember to give your team permission to give you pushback or to disagree with you. Diversity of thought is critical to an organization’s success.

[27:05] Dan shares his gap theory and how you can utilize knowledge and determination to bridge the gap you have on all of your goals.

[32:15] Embrace change and be adaptable. Change is accelerating at an exponential pace. Get your team on board with the process as quickly as you can so that the change is not going to be a big shock to them.

[38:25] Dan shares some fun and memorable moments about working at Disney and why it was such a magical and special place.

Strategic Partner


Beyond the Uniform offers over 300 free episodes to help military Veterans succeed in their civilian career. This includes overviews of potential career paths, deep dives on necessary skills to succeed, and reviews of other free services that support the military Veteran community. You can find more info at


Quotable Quotes

  • “Don’t mistake simple for easy.”
  • “Culture is built by behaviors.”
  • You have to give people permission to push back on the boss, or bring up an idea, or disagree.”
  • “You always have a blindspot.”
  • “It’s not the strongest or fastest who survive, it’s those who can adapt most quickly.”


The Eisenhower Matrix

Junior Achievement

Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations,
by Thomas Friedman


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