Positive Reinforcement Leadership From Disney to Oz
This week I received some great feedback from a friend in Australia who is spreading the “Green Beans & Ice Cream” message to the leadership in his company. Stephen works as a business improvement adviser for a company in Australia and shared a wonderful story with me of what happened to him while he was waiting for a shipment of “Green Beans & Ice Cream” books to arrive at his office:
“When I collected the package of books, I happened to be at our main reception desk where one of the admin staff struck up a conversation. She started telling me how she never gets told when she is doing a good or great job but that as soon as anything goes wrong, her supervisor comes down on her straight away. By the end of the conversation, she was almost in tears about how she no longer looks forward to coming to work, how she feels unappreciated for any of her efforts, and how frustrated she gets when she is in on time every day and watches as everyone else walks in late past her desk with nothing ever said.
The conversation was a heck of a coincidence considering what I had in the package. At the end of the conversation I opened the package in front of her and gave her the first copy of “Green Beans and Ice Cream” in appreciation of the assistance she has provided me in her role. I mentioned how reading the stories inside will help her understand why her supervisor behaves the way she does and that I would get her supervisor to read a copy as well. She was very grateful for the gift and I am very grateful for the time you have taken with me over the past few months. I will be sure to pass on any other stories I have as I help take our company on the positive reinforcement leadership journey.”
What a great story, Stephen. You are hereby appointed the Green Beans & Ice Cream Ambassador to Oz!
Stephen’s story reminded me of something similar that happened to me recently. Two weeks ago, I spoke for ASSE.org in Orlando and while there, I had breakfast with two Disney executives who had bought over 200 copies of my book on leadership.
I started by giving my ice cream pen to the waitress in our hotel, who then brightened up and asked what I did for a living.
I explained that I go around speaking on leadership and helping companies teach leaders why they need to appreciate employees more for what they do right, instead of harping on them for what they do wrong.
At the end of breakfast, I asked for our check and the waitress smiled and said, “Breakfast is on me Bill, because I believe in what you do.”
The Disney executives then took one of my leadership books they carried with them and gave it to her on the spot.
I think we all got ice cream that morning.