Living Your Values — What Farm Managers Can Glean from Disney Success

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For many of this year’s Farmtech delegates, few stories will stick out more than that of the “Lost Princess,” presented by Doug Lipp, keynote speaker, author and consultant.

One day, in a Disneyland Resort Princess Lunch, a young girl with autism fled a packed ballroom after the stimulus became overwhelming. She grabbed the rails of an outdoor patio, staring into the distance. Not much time had passed before Snow White joined the girl and her family, saying “I understand we have a lost princess.” She knelt down in the same position as the girl, staring into the distance without saying a word, and within minutes, they were both up, dancing on the patio.

It’s moments like that that say something truly special about the Disney culture.

Lipp started with Disney in 1978, and over the course of his career with the company, was heavily involved in the development of Tokyo Disneyland, and the first international version of Disney University. In 1983, Lipp took a leadership role in corporate training initiatives. Today, Lipp is a renowned speaker and consultant. He is also the author of the book Disney U: How Disney University develops the world’s most engaged, loyal, and customer-centric employees.

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Doug Lipp, in conversation with RealAgriculture’s Shaun Haney, at Farmetch ’16.

“What I see challenging every organization in the world that I work with — whether they are family-run businesses of 2 to 3 people, or they are mid-sized organizations (public, or private) — is people try to emulate a famous organization,” Lipp told Shaun Haney, in RealAgriculture’s interview following his keynote. “Yet what underlies the success that we see in operations or financial success is always, always, always what goes on backstage.”

Lipp says its important to not only define company values, but also ensure they are clear among all owners, leaders and employees. You should ask yourself what’s acceptable? What isn’t? And what are the consequences?

Of course, training is also incredibly important. Snow White knew how to improvise in that unique circumstance not for lack of preparation.

“Training happens every day, every shift, every hour — it’s not limited to the classroom,” Lipp told us, adding that “what’s trained in the classroom is alive and well on the front lines.”

In other words, what is taught with books is not contradicted, but proven and explored on the ground.

On how to successfully ensure core values make it through succession, Lipp said it’s not just about writing values down, but also  living them.

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