A few years ago, a friend of mine called and asked if I’d like to join him and a small group of friends for dinner with his friend, Al Weiss–a previously sitting president of the Walt Disney Company. He was responsible for billions of dollars in sales and he oversaw 11 theme parks, multiple resorts and hotels, a few cruise ships and a vacation club added in as a side hustle. He is a busy guy and held one of the top leadership jobs on the planet. Plus, there was free food. I agreed to come as my mother didn’t raise me stupid, and I’m not likely to turn down a free meal quickly. We had a nice dinner, and at one point, one of us asked Al about his career path, and how he ended up in such a high-level job. His answer was fascinating (number 7 will shock you). He started as a teenager working as a cast member at Disney and was promoted 20 times in 22 years. Clearly, he showed some potential. But, he said that he had always used the same strategy to excel. As soon as he had a role that involved team leadership, he would meet with each member of his team, get to know them and ask how he could help them reach their career goals. Then, he worked to help them achieve them. “That’s it,” he said. Some of his executive teams had 60,000 people reporting to them he said, so he had to trust and support them. Eventually, there were enough people in the organization that he had helped that supported him, and he was offered the top job.
Who doesn’t want your career advocate as your boss?
So you look around at your team and wonder, “How could this possibly apply to me? I don’t work with the top executives in the world.”
Neither did he when he started. Here is your assignment this week:
- Show your team leadership and select your two top team members. Meet with them and ask them what their career goals are, and how you can help them achieve them
- Develop a plan to help them do so