Keys to the Kingdom

Can’t get to Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

Can’t get to Disneyland or Walt Disney World?

The Magic Kingdom is coming to Red Deer.

Only, instead of entertaining children, the folks at Disney will be educating business operators.

The Disney Institute will present The Disney Keys to Excellence at Red Deer College on May 21. Sponsored by Red Deer Regional Economic Development (RDRED) and Alberta Employment and Immigration, the full-day workshop will cover some of the strategies and best practices that Disney has used to achieve its international success.

The program will consist of four sessions focusing on leadership, management, service and loyalty. Although the training should help improve a business’s operations in a variety of areas, the reason the program is being brought to Red Deer is to assist with labour issues, said Elin Ingolfsson, economic development specialist with RDRED.

“We decided it would be good to help local employers develop practices that encourage employee retention and development,” she said.

The current economic slowdown may have reduced the labour challenges facing Central Alberta employers, Ingolfsson acknowledged. But she said now is a good time to prepare for future manpower shortages.

Plus, she added, businesses that encourage their staff to excel will benefit immediately.

A news release issued by the Disney Institute described how the entertainment company uses the same techniques it teaches to promote employee satisfaction and foster an environment that inspires employee pride and ownership.

“Participants from the Red Deer area will discover Disney practices that they can incorporate into their own businesses,” said George Aguel, senior vice-president for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, and who also leads the Disney Institute.

“What makes the Disney learning experience so different and meaningful is that we don’t simply teach theory. We give participants an ‘insider’s look’ at business philosophies that have helped Disney to consistently rank as one of the world’s most admired companies and brands.”

Ingolfsson agreed that Disney is renowned for its practices, and said previous Disney Institute workshops in Alberta have been very well-received.

She added that the training should benefit managers as well as rank-and-file employees.

“It applies to everyone.”

Cost for the program is $400 a person, but until April 30 two people can register for the price of one.

Ingolfsson said on Tuesday that 40 people had already registered, with these coming from businesses of various sizes, as well as from private and public sector organizations.

For more information or to register, go to the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce website at or call the Chamber at 403-347-4491.

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