Monday, March 2, 2015

I recently had an opportunity to attend a presentation by the Disney Institute. I learned that in 60 years of operation, the same three survey questions have returned the same three responses from Disneyland guests. Surveyors ask: 1) Why do you come? 2) Why do you come back? And 3) Why do you tell your friends and family to come? Guests respond: 1) Cleanliness, 2) Friendliness, and 3) Safety. Amazingly, despite all the magical bells and whistles of "The Happiest Place on Earth," people visit the park for very basic reasons. Our speaker shared that the Disney philosophy is to "over-manage" the details that are often overlooked such as the distance between trash cans (26 paces in their case), the consistency of lighting (all light-bulbs are changed out at 85% of the manufacturer's recommended duration), the appearance of their lawns (replaced every 42 days), and the genuine friendly spirit of their "cast members," aka staff. "Perfection is something you can feel," said our speaker, "not necessarily see." I took this information to my leadership team and we talked about how Disney's priorities mirror some of our own. We want Chico to shine, to feel enduringly safe, and to be seen as a smiling, happy community. We want visitors, potential residents and business owners, and residents to sense these things about Chico intuitively. What is the role of the Chamber in ensuring that we are clean, friendly, and safe? Our priorities, set by our members, help us address concerns that threaten the health and vitality of our businesses which, in turn, fund the public services that allow us to enjoy such a high quality of life in Chico. We are all responsible for making sure that our guests, whether they are here for four hours or for a lifetime, have a sense of perfection about this place. Chico is special and we all know it. I hope that our work continues to demonstrate how invested we are in keeping it so.