Walt Disney knew how important it was to not take shortcuts…he saw the importance of doing things correctly, doing things well, and striving for quality. He was never satisfied with the way things were…instead he wanted to “plus” it just a little bit.
After Disneyland was built, guests would flock to the attractions in the theme park.
Many of those early attractions have become classics and are remembered fondly even today. Some of the attractions have stood the test of time and all of these years later still exist. New generations of fans discover them each year.
One such attraction is The Jungle Cruise. At Disneyland, after The Jungle Cruise was established as one of the most loved attractions, a young man by the name of Dick Nunis, who would have a long and legendary career as a leader of the company, was in charge of the attraction.
Early one morning, shortly after Disneyland had opened for the day, Walt Disney dropped by the attraction for a surprise inspection or “look-see.” He boarded the boat with the other guests and the Nunis anxiously watched as the boat sailed off into adventure. As you might imagine, being charge of the attraction and having the boss take a ride to see how you were doing was nothing short of nerve shattering. The boat made the voyage and Walt returned to the dock with the rest of the passengers.
To say he was not happy was an understatement.
In the account retold by Pat Williams, Walt asked, “How long is that trip supposed to take, Dick?”
“Seven minutes,” Nunis replied.
“It lasted just over four minutes by my watch,” Walt said. “We shot through there so fast, I couldn’t tell the hippos from the elephants!”
Then he said in all seriousness, “Do something about it.”
The boss had spoken and Nunis got to work. He personally worked with the boat skippers and ran over and over what they were supposed to be doing. By the time he was done it was said the skippers could do what he had asked in their sleep. It probably was a good thing for them to know it so well, because as you might expect. Walt came back for another inspection.
Now, Dick Nunis was smart, and he wanted to make a good impression this time. So he lined up his best cruise boat operators in the first couple of boats. He figured Walt would take the ride once or twice, see they had made improvements and slowed down the ride, and would be satisfied. Much to his surprise it did not work that way.
Walt Disney rode every single boat and listen to the tour given by every single skipper.
And, it is important to note, each one gave Walt a full seven minute ride. He could tell the hippos from the elephants, he heard the jokes, and Disney exited the attraction believing that his guests were getting the best experience they could possibly offer.
That was Walt, he believed in paying attention to details and doing things a certain way…doing them with quality. He knew his name was on the park and wanted it to represent his values and his commitment to excellence. He knew that each guest would remember the ride on the boat and he wanted it to be a good memory.
He also knew that the attraction was loaded with details that would bring enjoyment to his guests and he wanted them to see them. He wanted an attraction that was not just good but that was great. So, he took the time to make sure it was great.
Walt knew – If you deliver more than people expect, you no longer have clients, you have fans!
In a world where most people move through life trying to do just enough to get by and with a standard of excellence that is best described as “that’s good enough…” this desire to give your best, your all, and give people more than they expect and ask for stands in stark contrast to the way others live life.
If you think about it, the possibilities are endless…let me challenge you…don’t settle for less than the best in yourself. When you attach your name to something don’t stop at “that’s good enough” but instead give it our best. Never hesitate to take the extra time to prepare, practice, and perfect what you are doing. Take pride in making the lives of others better with you than they would be without you. And when it is done…you will have impacted and changed the lives of people forever.