Episode 29 – Jeffrey Barnes: Leadership Lessons from the Happiest Place on Earth

In this podcast, I am interviewing Dr. Jeffrey Barnes. Dr. Barnes is a professor at Cal Baptist University, and the author of the top selling book: The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons From The Happiest Place on Earth.

Living in Southern California, I knew that the mention of Walt meant Walt Disney. But what leadership lessons can we learn from Walt. All that comes to my mind is that song about the mouse with big ears...M-I-C K-E-Y MOUSE.

Dr. Barnes explains so much more in his book and in this podcast. As a matter of fact, his book has been the #1 best seller in 3 different categories on Amazon, and just recently, the audio book became available.

One of the first Disneyland lessons I learned was Start Early
— Jeffrey Barnes

Dr. Barnes explains how Walt did not just snap his fingers and make Disneyland appear. Walt Disney had a difficult childhood. His dream was to bring happiness to children because his own childhood was not very happy.

Walt Disney had to fight for success. Before moving to California, Mr. Disney went bankrupt in Kansas City.

Every great story requires conflict.
— Jeffrey Barnes

Dr. Barnes also explains how Walt Disney had strong corporate morals and a culture he followed to build Disneyland. Walt felt that every single person who entered the theme park was the hero of a story. He never forgot about all the people who helped him build the Disney extravaganza. The windows on Main Street are used to credit those who helped make Disneyland a reality.

Dr. Barnes says that when we have dreams, there will be those who tell us we can't, or it won't work. One of the lessons taught in the book Jeffrey wrote is that Walt had many people telling him he couldn't do it and Disneyland won't work.

Walt set out to prove the naysayers wrong. This was a huge inspiration in making Disneyland work
— Jeffrey Barnes

Dr. Barnes knew that a business leadership class using Walt Disney as the basis would be a huge hit. He made plans and approached the proper people to start the class at Cal Baptist, but on a visit to his Doctor, Dr. Barnes was told he had a brain tumor. The Doctor told him he should have surgery immediately. Realizing that surgery would halt his dream of starting this leadership class, Dr. Barnes made the risky decision to wait on brain surgery. After all, this was all about Walt Disney and living out our dreams.

This class was a passion that I was willing to put my life on the line for.
— Jeffrey Barnes

Have a listen to this podcast with Dr. Jeffrey Barnes. I know you will be enlightened. I also recommend you get his book. You will find the links to it below.

Now enjoy this podcast with Dr. Jeff Barnes, author of The Wisdom of Walt: Leadership Lessons From The Happiest Place on Earth.

Links to People and Things Mentioned in the Show


Opening Music: "The Red One" by John Scofield and Pat Metheny off their album I Can See Your House From Here

Closing Music: "Magic Beans"  by Peter Mayer off the album Million Year Mind