You will often hear me talk about how to create a culture worth fighting for and why it is so important. 

Culture will help you attract and retain top talent while getting the most out of everyone. 

This can be tricky to sustain. 

Yes, your culture is built on trust, but you need to take it one step further. 

Find a way to get everyone to self-select in by getting them emotionally attached to their role.

Sounds easy, but I can guarantee you it is a lot more challenging and complicated than it appears on the surface.

You are constantly dealing with egos, expectations, external and internal influences of your players’ discretionary thinking, and a set of circumstances beyond your control. 

Getting your team to create a magical run

When I talk about culture it brings me back to a family vacation at Disney. Yes,  every moment in life can have a valuable lesson wrapped in it if you pay enough attention and set your mind to it. 

As we walked to Splash Water Mountain (for the third time) I stopped and watch a street sweeper and was amazed by his commitment to getting every cup, piece of paper, and trash up off the street. The street was clean enough to eat off which my little man would do later in the day when he dropped his popcorn!

Then it dawned on me that one of the keys to building an amazing culture that will get people to self-select in is to identify the real value in each team member’s role and to provide consistent reinforcement.  

That street sweeper is called a cast member. 

At Disney:

  • Cast members audition for a job they do not interview
  • When they are walking around the park they are on stage
  • People visiting are guests, not customers
  • Jobs liked street sweeping are performances and uniforms are costumes

In their book ‘Made to Stick,’ Chip and Dan Heath point out that the street sweepers are some of the most highly trained cast members since their visible public presence- coupled with the fact that they are Disney employees- makes them an obvious target for customers’ questions about rides, parades, and restroom locations. Having them think about their role as performance rather than maintenance, is a key part of the park’s success. 


The Power of People Self-Selecting In

Speaking of self-selecting in and Disney… Did you know…?

  • Companies with happy employees outperform their competition by 20%. 
  • Happy salespeople sell 37% more.
  • Engaged teams generate 21% more profit than disengaged ones. 

Happy people = $$$. 

But, it’s tricky to build a happy team unless they self-select into your company. 

Take Disneyland as an example: A guy in a Goofy suit dances 2 miles each hour in 100-degree heat for starvation wages, but he is excited to be at work. 


Because his dream was to work at Disney. He wanted to be Goofy and he fought for the job.

 Finding people who want to work for you is like finding a needle in a haystack…unless they seek you out first. 

It’s up to leaders to establish a culture that people want to be a part of, and then allow people to self-select in. Spend time and energy encouraging behavior that reinforces key aspects of the culture you want, and you’ll attract the right people. Your efforts pay off when your team is self-motivated and exceeds your expectations.


This was originally published as a weekly newsletter from Ed Molitor, with The Molitor Group. If you’d like to receive the weekly newsletter, follow this link to subscribe.