Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to meet with Lee Cockerell, author of Creating Magic. Mr. Cockerell retired as executive vice-president from Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando in 2006. Before his tenure at Walt Disney World, he spent over 25 years working in major hotel chains around the world.
I must admit:I was nervous. Never before had I had the undivided attention of someone so experienced. I made sure to jot a few questions in my trusty Moleskine the night before so that I could enter the conversation prepared.
We sat for nearly an hour. I only had the opportunity to ask 4 or 5 of the questions I had prepared. Mr Cockerell was a wealth of wisdom and practical advice.
I could focus on many points that he made to me during our time together. From time management to leading teams, I scribbled out more than 4 pages of notes.
Out of all the things he told me, a few points in particular really resonated with me. Perhaps the biggest was his care for people. He mentioned multiple times the importance of making connections and building relationships.
Here’s a guy who retired as one of the top leaders in one of the largest and most well-known companies in the world. He has met thousand of high-profile people from around the globe. He has over 2,000 contacts in his cell phone.
Despite all that he has accomplished, he is still very intentional about making and maintaining connections with people. For every contact in his phone, he has their company and city listed. Why? Take his recent trip to Canada as an example. He searched for “Canada” among his contacts and saw everyone who lived in Canada. He sent emails to those individuals, and got responses from several. While on a business trip, he managed to spend time with several of the previous connections he made.
Why does this matter? Because people matter. Life is all about relationships. There is nothing that can be done alone. Every job, every role requires multiple people to achieve success.
In our desire to live “fulfilled” lives, we too often have over-filled our lives. We are so busy and so unorganized that we are unable to live with intentionality. Relationships still require intentional and deliberate action.
No matter your age, no matter your job, no matter you title, you still have to work at building relationships. That work will never be finished this side of eternity. So today, take a least one intentional step to connect with someone new or reconnect with someone you’ve known for a while. Do this every day, and you may be surprised what happens.
What are some ways you try now to connect and stay connected with people? What are some new ideas you may try?