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Disney Institute coming to Idaho

Brad Carlson

Brad Carlson

A friend often returns from annual trips to Disney World with a story about introducing his child to Pluto or a pro athlete, or with a report on how his Boise State University gear was received by fellow travelers awaiting connecting flights. I tell him about several of my trips to Disneyland during my school years in Orange County, Calif., including one trip highlighted by a glimpse of the late, great drummer and bandleader Buddy Rich.

The word “Disney” conjures strong images in the minds of many people. Some think of the ABC and ESPN broadcast networks, but many think of watching an animated Disney film or taking a long-awaited trip to a Disney theme park.

Some management folks think of the famous Disney Institute, which is coming to southwest Idaho in March.

Participants in a Disney Institute program called Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence – for which the College of Western Idaho Center for Workforce Development is a selected sponsor – learn Disney’s proven approach to cultural management. CWI plans to bring the Disney Institute to Boise all day March 11 at the DoubleTree Riverside Hotel. The Idaho Business Review is acting as the college’s marketing partner for the event.

The March 11 event will be followed with a March 12 event for College of Western Idaho staff.

Disney’s Approach to Business Excellence covers leadership excellence, people management, quality service, brand loyalty and how to inspire creativity. Ideally, program graduates will be equipped to better communicate a compelling vision, select and hire the right employees, develop a service philosophy, create a collaborative culture, and retain customers for life, according to an event flyer.

For example, Disney knows the value of its own brand. In its Approach to Business Excellence, the company emphasizes building and sustaining loyalty. The program covers building loyalty through long-lasting relationships, maintaining repeat business, and delivering on the promise of the brand, according to information from the company.

Quality service is another emphasis – delivering on the service theme, after developing a service philosophy and learning tools to support a service culture, also appear prominently in the curriculum.

Marilyn Martin, director of the College of Western Idaho Center for Workforce Development, is a big believer in the Disney Institute and its Approach to Business Excellence. She attended a program few years ago in Missouri. “It was full of energy and actionable ideas that every participant could take away and start applying directly, she said.

“The unique storytelling approach to explain important business concepts paired with Disney video clips captured my attention from the minute it started,” she said.

Martin worked with the Institute in Missouri and maintained that relationship after moving to Idaho.

Reaction to the March event has been favorable since publicity began, she said. Disney’s high-caliber reputation is a component of that, as is the program itself.

“The business practices they go over are applicable to any industry – from government to health care to nonprofit and manufacturing,” Martin said. There are some very good concepts … presented in a way that individuals can take away and adapt to their organization.”

“The Disney Institute is really one of the premier organizations in providing training for businesses,” she said. The CWI Center for Workforce Development will gain feedback from the event to determine what other Disney Institute programs could be scheduled in southwest Idaho later, she said.

Separately, Martin is looking at starting a distinguished-speaker series, she said.

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