BY ANGELINA MARTIN

Disney is responsible for creating some of the most recognizable media, products and theme parks in the world, and the success of the company is clear by its notoriety alone. On Nov. 1, local businesses had the opportunity to hear firsthand how Disney has established itself through leadership values, customer loyalty and organizational culture at the Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence event – a one-day seminar which showed what principles the company has valued on its way to the top.

“This is a game changer for businesses,” said John Villines, Director of Membership and Operational Services for the Modesto Chamber of Commerce. “How often do you get a world class organization like Disney to come to the Modesto area?”

The Modesto Chamber was inspired to host the event at Stanislaus State after representatives from Prime Shine Car Wash shared how a past seminar had helped the company completely shift their internal operations, from how they engage with customers to how they help employees be more creative while working.

“We’re hoping our members can learn things that help them to grow their business, and things that just help the economy overall,” said Villines. “Hopefully there’s something for everybody. If some of these companies come away with ideas on how to better engage customers, which is Disney’s hallmark, hopefully Modesto will become a place where people want to come work.”

Local governments, school districts and nonprofits were in attendance at the event in addition to the numerous businesses, all eager to learn how their organizations could improve and deliver long-term results successfully. While most were local, such as Turlock Unified School District, the City of Modesto and Community Hospice Foundation, others traveled from as far as Tulare County to attend the seminar.

Disney Institute facilitator and veteran Disney employee Bryan Tabler explained that Disney’s consistent business results are driven by, surprisingly, overmanaging certain things that most companies usually undermanage or ignore altogether, like branding, leadership, innovation, service and culture. These five core areas combine to create Disney’s “Circle of Excellence,” but can be different based on each individual company’s needs.

Attendee Anthony David questioned Tabler on just what exactly overmanaging means, comparing the term to micromanaging, which often has a negative connotation.

“We are not talking about (micromanaging), we are talking about the complete opposite of that,” said Tabler. “Overmanaging is a word we made up – we love to make up words, like supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Overmanaging is about empowering an entire workforce through a great strategy, through a great leadership and through the right people.”

“What makes a great leader?” and discovering what components contribute to business excellence within their own business models.

Villines pointed out that today’s workforce is looking for a place where they will love to work, and that begins with employee engagement, which Disney does extremely well.

“I think in today’s culture, for younger employees especially, the culture of a company matters sometimes more than pay,” he said.