In the words of Denise Morrison, President and CEO of Campbell Soup, “The leader is the person who brings a little magic to the moment.” This certainly is the case for Preston Madill, Director of Food and Beverage for the Greenville Drive, whom we had the opportunity to speak with as part of our Noonovate innovation series. We met Preston during our December annual company meeting at Greenville Drive’s Fluor Field. His enthusiasm for inspiring and engaging his team resonated with us—and we were excited to hear more about how he brings his ideas to life.
Reflecting on his previous position as a Guest Experience Manager at Walt Disney World, Preston offered valuable insight as to how he incorporates that Disney magic into his career. Our discussion revolved around the topic of being a good leader and how it impacts employee engagement, and, ultimately, customer experience and satisfaction. As these are some of our favorite topics, we were thrilled to hear Preston’s perspective.
UNDERSTAND THE STORY
“Seek to understand before you seek to be understood.” When discussing core values, this was at the top of Preston’s list. He mentioned that innovation, change, and improvement can’t happen without first understanding where you have been before and how you got there. In his own words, “You can’t break down the wall before you understand why it’s there.” When it comes to his employees, Preston stressed the importance of understanding that each is a unique individual with their own goals and motivations, and the key to understanding what drives your team members lies in first understanding their story.
Just as meeting customers’ expectations is a crucial part of the job, ensuring employees know the “why” and have the resources to meet those expectations is equally important. Preston’s approach to this revolves around building strategy and using open and honest communication with his team. Asking, “Why?”, as short, sweet, and oddly intimidating as it may be, urges people to think deeper; get to the root of things. More importantly, when a leader asks questions like this as common practice, it creates an environment that encourages employees to do the same and seek opportunities for growth. However, for Preston, the conversation does not end at “why?”. Instead, it evolves into looking ahead and asking, “What’s next?” to identify the steps that need to be taken in order to grow.
NO FOUL BALLS
When it comes to employee turnover and motivating employees to stay, Preston mentioned the importance of making sure they feel valued. From the beginning, he instills confidence in new hires by having them go through the appropriate training, immediately immersing them in a positive and valuable learning environment. In Preston’s words, “We’re going to make sure you know exactly what you’re doing.” Preston believes training is a worthwhile investment that pays off, and as a company whose passion lies in training and human performance improvement, we could not agree more. With his “focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses” mindset, Preston’s employees are paved a clear path for opportunities and success. This is how Preston ensures his employees are well-trained and equipped to care for each customer’s needs, while also seeing the value in their work. It’s the service-with-a-smile (plus some magic) attitude that hits it out of the park every time.
A HOME RUN
Throughout our discussion, it became clear that Preston’s empathetic intelligence translates directly into his style of leadership. As an inspirational leader, he leads by example in a way that inspires and enables his employees to achieve their goals. In Preston’s words, “when you put all these things together, you become a stronger team; a stronger unit.” In return, this enables them to provide customers the best possible experience, and that’s a home run in our book.
Thank you, Preston, for taking the time to share your inspiring leadership philosophy with us. As baseball season quickly approaches, we look forward to seeing some of that Disney magic in action both on and off the field.