Never, Ever Say, "That's Not My Job" - Don't Even Think It

This is the seventh in a series of ten blog posts that provide a brief synopsis of the chapters in my upcoming book, Lessons From the Mouse - A Guide for Applying Disney World's Secrets of Success to Your Organization, Your Career, and Your Life. You can view previous posts from the book by clicking on the Lessons From the Mouse category on the left column of this page.

Lesson #7: Never Ever Say "That's Not My Job" - Don't Even Think It

From the day a Disney cast member joins the organization, it's clear that saying anything remotely close to, "That's not my job," is about the worst thing he or she can do. Cast members are expected to pick up that stray cup on the ground, find the answer to a guest's question if they don't happen to know, pitch in to get the job done - no matter one's job description. In other words, cast members are expected to take ownership for creating Disney magic. And yes, they accomplish this even though Disney World is a union environment.

Imagine how you feel when you ask a server in a restaurant for water and hear, "This isn't my table," or when told by a nurse in a hospital, "I don't work this floor," or when a post office employee, after you've been waiting in line for an hour, tells you, "I need to close this window because it's time for my break."

On the other hand, there is a special energy in a company where employees feel a sense of ownership. You can see the pride in their faces, and you can feel the care in their actions. Customers reward that attitude with loyalty.

This principle doesn't mean that everyone has to know how to do everyone's job. Expecting a hospital housekeeper to adjust a patient's IV tube, for example, is impractical and unsafe. A housekeeper who takes ownership of the patient experience, however, will tell a nurse that a patient is complaining about the discomfort of the IV. It isn't always about doing the job; it's about taking ownership to make sure the job gets done.

Questions to consider about Lesson #7:

  1. What are some examples of the "it's not my job syndrome" you've experienced in your organization?
  2. What causes that attitude?
  3. What are some examples of behaviors that would communicate a sense of ownership to your customers?

 Lessons From the Mouse

To be released this summer