The Milky Way and some trees in mountains

Disney and The Seventh Level

How engagement drives belief and belief makes the impossible, possible.

Abbie Eatherly

Have you ever wondered what it feels like to be at the seventh level with an employer? It’s usually one of those “when you know you know” kind of moments, but I happened upon something a couple weeks ago that I think does a pretty good job of expressing the power and emotion that comes at this level.

The release of Disney Plus might be old news to some by now. If it is for you, you’ve probably already seen your fair share of Baby Yoda memes. And if you’re anything like me, you bypassed the level 5 free trial incentive, happily became a loyal subscriber, and have made your way through the classics while reliving your childhood through the multitude of Disney channel favorites. 

Well, if you haven’t started exploring the documentaries in the originals section I am about to make your day! 

A quick background on me, I am the Director of Operations here at CatalystCreativ, a mom of three, and an employee engagement advocate. I have always enjoyed Disney movies, watched the TV shows with my kids, and we love visiting the parks once or twice a year, but I never really thought about it being any different than other movies or vacations. 

Then I watched The Imagineering Story. Life changed. I am now aware and proud that I am fully on The Seventh Level with The Walt Disney Company! When watching this series, you’ll understand why I was moved to write about the culture of this company. 

Basically, each 50 minute episode tells a story about how the audacious goal of the Disney parks came to fruition, the struggles the company encountered in developing them, and the dedicated people that make it all possible. 

You can design and create... but it takes people to make a dream a reality.” -Walt Disney. 

The first episode sets the scene for who Walt was and the passion that drove his creativity. It also introduces the world to some of the individuals who stood by his side and worked tirelessly to bring life to his ideas. 

The episodes continue with a walk through the impact Walt’s passing had on the company and the difficulty of replacing someone truly irreplaceable. With great change in any company comes doubt and insecurity. Thankfully for Disney their leader had built a foundation of safety and belonging in the workplace. The Disney employees believed in what the company stood for and were committed to the success of the organization.

In every episode you get to hear from the viewpoint of cast members working in a variety of roles, including stories of multiple generations of family members all proud to be Disney employees. A good way to tell that your employees are at level 6 or higher is when they advise their friends and family to come work with them! Walt and his successors have made a commitment to making each employee feel like a part of the company. Listening to ideas, learning about their many talents, and getting to know people in all departments, not just the boardroom. 

By the time you make your way through episode five, I am certain you’ll understand why I am writing this. The authentic connection these employees have with the company they choose to work for is unmatched. This ultimate level of employee engagement is what all companies should strive for. The internal allegiance carries over to the day to day customer experiences they provide and creates a feeling so magical millions of people travel to experience it each year. 

I know my next visit to the parks will be filled with a new sense of appreciation for all that Disney is. And I will continue to be grateful that I also get to be a part of a team that not only values employee engagement but works to help other companies transform their less than perfect work cultures. My hope is that everyone reading this feels valued, appreciated, and proud of the impact they are making within their workplace and are driven to create the same feeling for those around them. 

Elevating employee engagement starts with a deeper understanding of what your organization stands for. We can help with that, via our Engagement Success Roadmap package!

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