Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Preparing for the Unexpected

April 12, 2012 by Stacey DiNuzzo, Public Relations Manager, Disney Institute

Hurricane season was in full swing and while no one likes to think about natural disasters, it’s still something for which businesses should prepare. In the summer of 2004, Walt Disney World Resort was hit with three large-scale hurricanes in one month. Hurricane Charley swept through Orlando with wind gusts of 105 mph forcing the parks to close, which we had only done twice before. To prepare, thousands of cast members spent the stormy nights on property to assist our 75,000 guests any way possible. Because of our dedicated cast members and strong culture of a common goal to create happiness, the theme parks opened the day after the storm hit, as cast members worked through the night cleaning debris and getting supplies where needed.

It takes an entire team to prepare for the unexpected. Besides building a culture of dedicated employees to help repair damage after an event, there are practical things any business can utilize to prepare employees before a natural disaster hits. At Disney, we do our best to inform cast members on ways to stay safe and prepare for natural disasters, such as information on hurricane preparedness in internal communication and emails detailing operational procedures in the event of a storm.

It can be easy to ignore emergency preparedness or assume that your employees would know what to do in a disaster situation and the aftermath. However, it’s important to communicate as a team so that your organization will be prepared before and shorten the recovery time after an unexpected disaster.

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Posted in Business Excellence | Tagged Leadership Skills, Leadership Models, Corporate Culture, Cross-Functional Collaboration, Customer Experience Improvement

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