Flip the Switch

BONUS | Diving Deep on Books and Reading Strategies w/ Justin Doherty

This week’s episode strays from our usual podcast pattern.  David is joined by Justin Doherty, Wisconsin’s Senior Associate AD for External Communications and member of EngageMint’s tribe.  Outside of his roles in brand communications, marketing, video services and facility branding, Justin has authored four books on Wisconsin history.  David and Justin have embarked on a 25-book challenge and share some of their top hits and reading strategies in this bonus episode. 

Show Notes

4:14     Diving in to Justin’s Books

6:03     Reading vs. Writing Note Taking

13:46  The 2021 25-Book Challenge

20:16  Intentional Reading Strategies

30:19  Most Recommended Books

35:31  Most Impactful Books

39:01  Building Your Own 25-Book Challenge

For more info on topics covered this episode:

Seth Godin – altMBA program
Tim Ferriss – Scientific Speed Reading

Recommended by Justin:

Greenlights by Matthew McConaughey
Untamed by Glennon Doyle
Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
Glory Days by L. Jon Wertheim

Recommended by David:

A Memory of Light, Wheel of Time (Book 14) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
The Four-Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss

Authored by Justin:

Tales from the Wisconsin Badgers Sideline: A Collection of the Greatest Badgers Stories Ever Told

The Wisconsin Football Vault
with Pat Richter and Vince Sweeney

The Dayne Game: Ron Dayne and the Greatest Day in Wisconsin Football History

What It Means to Be a Badger: Barry Alvarez and Wisconsin’s Greatest Players

Connect with Justin on Twitter

Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Delivering training digitally to better equip your staff for game day.

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Returning to Capacity and Rebuilding Your Team w/ Kevin Gober

This week, we welcome Kevin Gober, Senior Director of Arena Employee Experience and Learning & Development for the Atlanta Hawks, back to the podcast.  A recurring guest on the show, Kevin shares his takeaways from welcoming fans back to venues and gets candid on the staffing challenges that State Farm Arena has faced. 

For venues across the country preparing for a return to full capacity, this episode dives deep into the programs Kevin and State Farm Arena are putting in place to grow their staff, create an employee referral program and develop the leadership skills of their current team.  

Show Notes

4:33   Crawl, Walk, Run – Embracing Capacity Changes

11:30  One Culture, One Team, One Purpose – Build Your Team Through a Central Hiring Fair

17:38 Creating an Employee Referral Program

21:55 State Farm Arena’s New Leadership Growth Series

31:47 Measuring the Impact of Staff Development 

Today’s episode was sponsored by CheckdIn.  Know exactly who’s working in your venue.

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Leaders Make Tough Decisions

Insights from our Flip The Switch podcast:

We had a great discussion this past week with Jim Cavale, the Founder of INFLCR. If you’re unfamiliar with INFLCR and how they’ve taken the sports world by storm in the last 3-4 years, go listen to the full conversation here. 

Originally an app equipping college student-athletes with licensed photos they could post to their own social media, Jim and his team have turned INFLCR into a behemoth, helping sports organizations and their athletes to become better storytellers. 

But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about leadership, which Jim discusses at length during the podcast episode. It’s impossible to hear Jim talk and NOT think of the word leader. From how he carries himself physically, to the way he clearly phrases his words. His leadership isn’t all show, either, as he’s grown and scaled multiple companies from the ground up, INFLCR as his latest project. 

Jim specifically honed in on the topic of decision-making. In his final words of advice and calls to action, Jim told listeners, “ Leadership takes making hard decisions. Whatever market you’re in, making tough decisions is really important. That’s my call to action. Just make tough decisions. That’s what leaders do.”

We actually cut a segment from the podcast where Jim talked about a tough decision made by Greg Sankey, the Commissioner of the Southeastern Conference (SEC). While every other conference was canceling their Fall sports, Sankey made the unpopular decision to play. Without that against-the-grain decision, who knows what the sports & entertainment industry would have been like this past Fall? Just like Rudy Gobert testing positive for COVID in the NBA set off a chain reaction of cancellations, Sankey’s unpopular decision did the opposite and set live events back on track.  

I believe God gives us the message we need to hear at the right time. Jim touched on this right when there were tough decisions I needed to make as a leader, as well as some tough decisions I was advising on. In one case, there was a situation where money was being offered for a project that didn’t align with specific core values. Had the project been accepted, there would have been an immediate influx of revenue, but a small tear in the fabric of company culture would have occurred. In another case, it took going to bat for an employee when it could have had negative financial implications. In both situations, tough decisions had to be made. That’s what leadership is. 

In one of my favorite books I read during quarantine, “The Hard Things about Hard Things” by Ben Horowitz, Ben hits on this topic of unpopular decision making. He wrote, “People always ask me, ‘what’s the secret to being a successful CEO?’ Sadly, there is no secret, but if there is one skill that stands out, it’s the ability to focus and make the best move when there are no good moves.”    

Too often when it comes to making decisions, as Jim discusses, we lie to ourselves. We tell ourselves, “that’s out of our control,” or “that’s not my job,” without acknowledging the influence we can have on that outcome.

Too often, we leave tough decisions up to someone else. Another leader, perhaps, or another department. We may throw our hands up and wait until the league office gives us guidance, or in Jim’s case with Name, Image, and Likeness, the NCAA has passively chosen to let Congress decide what to do. 

Our daily lives are fraught with leaders who take the easy way out and let someone else make the tough, unpopular opinion. But at the end of the day, the leaders who stand for something and make tough decisions will be the ones who win out. They may end up with less quantity of followers due to those unpopular decisions, but the followers who remain will be more fervent and willing to go the distance.    

Each and every one of you is a leader in some type of way. Not because of your title, but because you influence change. Whether you’re the leader of a pro sports team or athletics department, the leader of a small team, the leader of your household, the leader of a group of fans, or just the leader of yourself. You’re going to be faced with a difficult decision at some point today or later this week. Avoid convenience, make the tough decision. 

And go listen to the full conversation with Jim.  

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Flip the Switch

Leadership Lessons from a Disney Legend

Our guest today is with Disney Parks & Resorts legend, Lee Cockerell. In this episode, we focus on leadership, customer service, and time management,

Lee Cockerell retired as the Executive Vice President of Operations for the WALT DISNEY WORLD® Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, a position he held for ten years. His responsibilities encompassed a diverse mix of operations, which included 20 resort hotels with over 24,000 Guest rooms, 4 theme parks, 2 water parks, 5 golf courses, a shopping village & nighttime entertainment complex (Downtown Disney, now Disney Springs), the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and the ancillary operations support functions. 

Leadership Lessons from Disney Legend Lee Cockerell

1:02 The legendary Main Street windows and the story behind Lee’s window 

5:35 The Main Street Diary – Lee’s consistent communication strategy with all Walt Disney World® cast members

9:13 The 8-minute podcast 

12:15 Disney’s Chain of Excellence & how you get results

17:39 Talent is the name of the game 

22:39 The behaviors and characteristics of successful leaders at Disney

24:05 The leadership test and building complementary teams

28:14 Lee’s Legacy – Disney Great Leader Strategies & Creating Magic 

30:50 From what to how – implementing Disney Great Leader Strategies

35:39 Leading through external pressures on the organization

40:33 Lee’s top three leadership strategies 

43:00 Balancing and managing your time

45:50 Deciding what to delegate

48:29 Rapid fire round



Lee’s Book Recommendations

The Effective Executive by Peter Drucker

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

Good to Great by Jim Collins

Having Difficult Conversations by Douglas Stone, Bruce Patton and Sheila Heen

Learn from Lee


Morning Time Magic time management planner

Cockerell Academy

Creating Disney Magic podcast

Lee’s Books – Creating Magic, The Customer Rules, Time Management Magic and Career Magic

Connect with Lee




Other References


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Flip the Switch

Finding Your SPARK w/ Simon T. Bailey

Join David and KG as they chat with guest Simon T. Bailey,  a motivational speaker, author, and life coach. Simon’s content revolves around purpose, leadership, and inspiration. David and KG get into Simon’s experiences through these lenses and how it ties into customer service.

Show Notes:

(5:26)  Making Organizations Sizzle: The Power of Leadership, Culture, and Consistency

(6:52)  Culture is not the Mission and Vision statement on the website; it’s what lives in the head and hearts of those doing the work 

(8:35)  How leaders can instill culture and care into an organization

(9:45)  Marrying top leaders’ goals with the goals of customer-facing employees

(12:21) From performance reviews to career investment discussions – Demonstrating genuine care for teams

(15:31) Eliminate the employee survey; Create pulse surveys instead

(19:31) Be the SPARK in your organization

(24:37) Infusing the SPARK in your organization – Identify a champion and chase consistency

(25:14) It’s not Kool-Aid, it’s Culture – Lessons learned from the Ritz-Carlton

(33:17) Say Yes, Now What’s the Question? Simon’s Journey from Days Inn to the Ritz-Carlton

(36:15) Adapting SPARK principles vs. adopting SPARK principles – build your own purpose

(41:21) Facts Tell, Stories Sell 

(44:38) Leading in the remote era – embrace gratitude and the at-home life

(47:31) Corporations don’t have ideas, people do.  Tap into the brilliance in your organization.

Additional Notes:

Connect with Simon T. Bailey and invite him to speak at your organization




Simon’s Books:

Success is an Inside Job

Release Your Brilliance

Shift Your Brilliance

Releasing Leadership Brilliance

Brilliant Living: 31 Insights to Creating an Awesome Life

Find Your Spark

Pulse Surveys:



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Flip the Switch

34: From Patient Experience to Fan Experience w/ Quint Studer

We’re joined today by the legendary Quint Studer. Quint is a philanthropist, an entrepreneur, and an expert in delivering quality experiences, for customers and employees. He’s the co-owner of the double-A baseball team, the Pensacola Blue Wahoos, and the founder of the healthcare consulting group, the Studer Group.

In Quint’s approach to patient experience and fan experience, it all starts with the employee experience. We’ll spend the episode discussing what you can do to better engage your employees so that they can better engage your customers. 

Time Stamps

0:20 – Intro
8:45 – 
Why does Quint live in Pensacola?
11:00 – 
Quint’s philosophy on driving great customer experience
17:45 – 
The most important people on your team to train
20:00 – 
Internal systems and processes that help drive CX
24:00 – 
Leadership is an inside job
27:00 – 
Leading metrics vs Lagging metrics
32:00 – 
Impact of retaining employees
36:30 – 
Strategies to engage your frontline employees
42:40 – 
Emotional bank accounts
44:30 –
 Re-purposing employees roles during the pandemic
47:20 – 
How the Blue Wahoo’s larger purpose drives real action

If you enjoy the episode and want to learn more from Quint, here are some great resources Quint has available

Books & Blog
Quint’s Leadership Blog
The Busy Leader’s Handbook
Hardwiring Excellence: Purpose, Worthwhile Work, Making a Difference
Results that Last
More books by Quint

Referenced in the Episode
HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems)
The Busy Leaders Handbook
The Kid is Hot Tonite by Loverboy
Baptist Healthcare
Pensacola Vibrant Community Blueprint
Mark Clement – hospital CEO
Press Ganey
E-Myth Revisited
SOG’s & SOP’s
Cleveland Clinic
Switch by Chip & Dan Heath
Net Promoter Score
Steven Covey

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