When business excellence transformation happens

Two Disney Cruise ships docked
Writing from the second generation Disney Cruise Line Ships, The Disney Dream.

When business excellence transformation happens

Wouldn’t it be great if positive business excellence change just fell from Heaven?

But it doesn’t.

So ask yourself why you go to work each day. What’s the purpose? What do you contribute?

Is not your purpose to drive change, to make things better?

To make today a little, even if it’s imperceptible to most, better than yesterday.

To make this year better than last year?

To make your second decade better than your first?

Business excellence transformation won’t just come to you. It won’t happen on your week-long vacation to the beach.

It won’t happen when you wake up in the morning.


So why do you show up for work?

How do you find joy (and motivation) when you and your organization are stuck?

This is going to sound crazy but business excellence transformation happens when you need it to happen; the caveat is you’ve got to be willing to pay for it.

When you’ve run out of options you are close to a breakthrough. You are literally at the proverbial fork in the road.

Many fail to turn the corner because they couldn’t convincingly answer the previous questions about their purpose for showing up every day.

One direction leads to misery and frustration, the other to your first of many lucky organizational vibrancy breaks.

Looking back, you’ll wonder why you didn’t commit sooner.

Remember, business excellence growth is a long-term, never-ending process. Be thankful for all the years you and your organization struggled. Your struggle deserves the credit for bringing you to where you are now.

Any fool can dream

Disney Cruise ship
Making decisions to take continuous action makes dreams come true. Nothing else works.

Any fool can dream

Dreams are great.

But organizational vibrancy dreams without a plan and action are worthless.

Hope is a great strategy, but it’s a poor tactic.

Action is the antidote for being dissatisfied.

But there’s never enough time is there?

This is a great time to have a mantra along the lines of, burn the ships.

It’s also foolish to metaphorically put your life on the line.

Or is it?

It’s never going to feel safe

Disney's Partner's In Excellence award statue
Disney’s Partner’s In Excellence award statue.

It’s never going to feel safe

Let’s agree that risk implies an uncertain outcome – an uncertain future.

Easy, right?

The good news about organizational vibrancy risk when the future isn’t certain is that you know you are on to something special.

Listen to the sound of that again – you’re on the path to something special.

Of course, the other option is to stay on the beaten path, the tried and true.

You know what you’ll get.



Plain vanilla.




Now back to the uncertain path, the future, and the reality that your risk might not work.

This is the opposite of the tried and true formula which requires us to do today what we did yesterday and the day before that. And to repeat that tomorrow and the day after that.

Every day you embrace an uncertain future is a day of adventure.

Will you have the stamina, the courage, the creativity, the tenacity, and the desire to keep moving forward when the logical thing to do is to turn around and retreat?

Imagine answering, “Yes.”

Burn the ships, no?

Newton’s Law of Gravitational Culture

bicycle parked near Space Mountain
Writing from Disney University today. Stopping here for a quick errand.

Newton’s Law of Gravitational Culture

Gravity is a law, not a theory.

An intentional business excellence culture versus an unintentional business excellence culture is a theory.

A theory that is, for all practical business purposes, as valid as the law of gravity.

On Earth, gravity is unmistakable.

Gravity is also irrefutable.

Without gravity, Earth would be chaos compared to how we currently know it.

A science fiction movie like we’ve never seen.

Here’s why i told you that.

Culture is like that too.

An unhealthy, unfocused business excellence culture creates unlimited chaos for leaders, employees, customers, financials, business excellence, as well as creativity and innovation.

When a corporate organizational vibrancy culture is architected with the equivalent of construction blueprints, the results are extraordinary.

Another simple analogy…

What would happen to a person who has neglected the seven basic wellness tactics: cardio, strength, core, flexibility, nutrition, rest, motivation?

What would happen if all seven were managed well?

It’s the stunning difference between thriving versus surviving.

Given the choice, none of us would pick surviving.

So, back to your business excellence culture.

Why would anyone settle?

Newton’s Law of Culture In Motion

Disney Leadership Keynote Speaker Jeff Noel at DU
Remember those Beats headphones? State of the art in 2016.

Newton’s Law of Culture In Motion

A culture in motion tends to stay in motion.

We can say this with confidence, every company has a culture.

And every culture has motion.

Focused motion, a culture by design.

Unfocused motion, a culture by default.

Building a culture worth defending is the most important long-term priority for a business owner and CEO.

And if it’s not, it should be.

Here’s an easy way to see the obvious yet often invisible.

Compare the organizational benefit to building a personal wellness and personal vibrancy lifestyle.

All able-bodied adults know personal health is important. How many actually live like they believe it – as if their life depends on it?

Five percent?


Now apply this analogy back to organizational health.

How many CEO’s make cultural vibrancy their number one long-term priority?

Like physical wellness, corporate Organizational Vibrancy culture must be a daily focus.

Well, it doesn’t need to be a daily focus, just like regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and adequate rest don’t need to be a daily focus.

We reap what we sow.

As surely as gravity keeps us grounded on Earth.

Not until it’s something everyone wants to defend

Two men by Cinderella Castle
It ain’t the Magic that makes it work, it’s the work that makes it Magic, says my Disney Institute colleague Mary Flynn.

Not until it’s something everyone wants to defend

If you’re the business owner or co-owner, you’re either  the CEO, on the Cabinet, a silent partner.

Your stakes are as high as they get.


You own the business.

You’ll defend it with every fiber in your mind, body, and spirit.


Now imagine you’re not the owner.

How invested are you in the issues, the challenges, the opportunities, and, the problems?

Not very.

Why should you be?

Do the math, what if 99.9% of your employees (at all levels) would be willing to walk away if times got too tough?

Do the math a second time. What if 99.9% of your employees (at all levels) would NOT be willing to walk away if times got too tough?

A striking difference to be sure.

Why wouldn’t they abandon ship?

Because they believe in what you do in such an unexplainable (and wonderful) way that they can’t imagine doing anything but protecting your Organizational Vibrancy culture, your Organizational Vibrancy brand.


Because your Organizational Vibrancy brand is a huge part of their personal vibrancy brand.

It’s in their DNA to be on the (your) mission that makes the world a better place.

It’s an organizational vibrancy trap

WordCamp Orlando signage
WordPress’s WordCamp Orlando. Delivered opening keynote speech on Creativity and Innovation.

It’s an organizational vibrancy trap

The waiting.

The doing nothing.

It’s an organizational vibrancy trap.

We’re caught in this profound, literally hopeless dilemma.

So we entertain, distract, and medicate ourselves to make it through another day.


Step back from your daily routine and elevate yourself high enough to look down and see the whole show – to see what you never see.

You’re too close to see it.

But if you were an experienced business advisor and executive coach, you’d see it easily and clearly.

Here’s the good news, the fear you feel from a brutally honest assessment is the catalyst you need – a glorious gift – to rethink your situation.

It’s important to level set the premise here: You have to find your own motivation to invest the time and effort to .think differently and begin to .do .differently

Otherwise, the next sentence will go in one ear and out the other.

From deep and personal rethinking, you will evaluate your priorities. Odds are good you have the right priorities, however, odds are high your priorities need some reshuffling. This reprioritization is the key to unlocking an intentional future.

Try that on for size: Intentional future.

Imagine how easy it is to recommit to your future with the recalibrated set of business excellence priorities.

Confused by abundance and easy access?

Screenshot of five word press blog hatters
Maybe a decade ago.

Confused by abundance and easy access?

We can access all the business excellence information in the world.

At anytime, from anywhere.

The cost?


So why are we stuck?

Why are we still battling the whack-a-mole reality?

Sound familiar: Your day is filled with one pressing operational issue after another. Most of it is stuff that wasn’t on your calendar.

Here’s why.

We are desperately in over our heads and unwilling to publicly admit our lives (professionally and personally) are taking a toll on our business excellence effectiveness (and, by the way, on our health).

The antidote?

A better set of business excellence blueprints to build a better, healthier corporate culture.

Your next step is to identify several world-class organizational culture architects and hire the best fit.

Wait, i get it, you’re in charge and you don’t need to do anything you don’t want to, especially when the price is high.

Waiting and doing nothing are the twin siblings of organizational (and personal) decline.

Let that sink in.

Okay, the ball is in your court.

Radically ask for better business excellence blueprints

Disney author Jeff Noel writing on a plane
Writing on a plane today.

Radically ask for better business excellence blueprints

What you know about business excellence comes from what you’ve done, read, experienced, taught, written, thought, and dreamt about.

Even with all that going for you, odds are high you’re still yearning for better, simpler, more profound and actionable information.

Have you considered asking for more, and for better?

Have you considered being radical in your asking?

Some say, “Ask and you shall receive.”

i say .think .differently about organizational vibrancy.

Keep your questions ridiculously simple and be radical in asking for better blueprints.

No one builds a cathedral without blueprints.

Why would your organizational vibrancy legacy be any different?

Why would your company’s business excellence culture be any different?


How’s that for a radically simple question?

Looking Back, Now Will Have Been A Bargain

Disney author Jeff Noel writing at Disney University
Writing today from Disney University.

Looking Back, Now Will Have Been A Bargain

The cost for adding business excellence enhancements always seems expensive at the time.

The price you pay for all those years living without the enhancements is literally impossible to recoup.

This so-called price you pay takes the form of lost growth and revenue, unrealized organizational vibrancy, turnover costs, unintentional transfer of intellectual property to your competitors, and the slow and steady erosion of an already unstable foundation.

What would it take for you to see – and act on this reality – that it’s such a bargain to begin transforming now.


As in there’s no time to wait.

One small step forward.

Right now.

Awareness is the first step to recovery.

Simply admit, right now and unequivocally, your business excellence culture is unhealthy and needs a doctor.

The cost for an architect to draw a new set of blueprints is exponentially less costly now than what it will cost you in the future.

You cannot build from a plan you can’t see on paper.