Launching an inspirational professional development initiative, Superintendent Bob Morrison led a districtwide book study throughout 2015-16. All employees were given two weeks to read and discuss the Wall Street Journal bestseller, Inside the Magic Kingdom. Focusing on seven keys to Disney’s success, the insightful book delivered strategies to help build an environment of serving students, parents, colleagues and the community.
“This was a valuable experience,” said Webb Middle School Principal Kenneth Washington. “It gave everyone in the district an opportunity to be on the same page when it comes to certain standards and situations. I think for GISD to do this across the board is amazing because this helps shape the culture of the district—and that is exactly what we all need.”
Written to help boost sales and customer retention, the book follows fictional characters attending a Disney business seminar that highlights the company’s seven statutes. Readers are able to analyze and learn Disney’s strategy through each character’s thoughts and experiences. Although the book is aimed at helping the corporate world, Morrison thinks its seven messages can impact educators.
“Take the first key in the book: ‘competition is anyone the customer compares you with.’ This makes you realize that students, parents, potential employees and the community compare GISD with any other service organization. We must work together to make sure our ‘customers’ are completely satisfied with their GISD experience,” he said. “I want us to be the best we can be and strive to beat the competition.”
In addition to the first key, paying attention to detail, walking the talk, listening to customers, relaying positive reinforcement, and working together are also behind Disney’s success. Washington believes these ideas are transformational and should be implemented at the classroom, campus and district level.
“I believe Inside the Magic Kingdom brought things into prospective for a lot of individuals at my campus,” he explained. “The book was all about an organization working together for a common cause. It highlighted that when dealing with customers, it is everyone’s responsibility to ensure they receive the highest level of service available. At Webb, we take pride in ensuring that everyone who walks through our doors or calls our school is treated with the utmost level of respect and understanding.”