Epidemic Enthusiasm and Pandemic Pride

By Dr. Maurice A. Ramirez

Every businessman knows that the key to turning customers into raving fans is to give exceptional customer service, to provide not only for the customer's needs but for their every want and desire even before they know that they have a want or desire. What eludes many business owners is how to provide that level of customer service. Literally hundreds of books have been written and seminars sold on how to improve customer service.

Disney Resorts create raving fans because they provide a vacation beyond the imagination. They accomplish this not through the miracles of animatronics or the amusement park atmosphere, these things can be found at hundreds of vacation destinations worldwide. Disney Resorts create raving fans by infecting their employees (known as cast members) with epidemic enthusiasm and pandemic pride.

So how do you start an epidemic in your business? The key to creating an epidemic of enthusiasm is to turn your customer service inward. To create for your employees a career experience beyond their wildest imagination. Epidemic enthusiasm comes from an experience of the relationship between your employees and you. When they see their careers, their employer in comparison to those of their peers elsewhere they cannot help but catching pandemic pride because their employer treats them so well.

There are two simple steps to enriching your employees' lives to the point where they know that they are valued and the infection of epidemic enthusiasm takes hold. Appreciation is the first of these two steps.

Robert is the CEO of a medium‑sized company. Every morning when Robert arrives he walks through the entire building greeting every employee from janitor through the managers with a genuine eye‑glinting smile and a hardy good morning. Bob regularly said thank you for being here even though nothing special had been done yet. His genuine enthusiasm and appreciation was warm, enveloping, and infectious. And it cost him nothing but a brief 20 minutes before his day began.

Robert is a living example of the first step to infecting your organization with epidemic enthusiasm and pandemic pride. The second step is to encourage resilience. There are six basic areas of human function: 

  • Physical

  • Emotional

  • Intellectual

  • Social

  • Behavioral

  • Spiritual

Resilience has been described as mastery against adversity and by fostering the ability of your employees to show this mastery in the face of adversity either in the workplace or in their family or personal lives. You create an experience in their career that enriches their entire life. You make them masters not just of adversity but of their own destiny. Resilience is built by filling six "canteens of resilience":

  • Physical resilience

  • Emotional resilience

  • Intellectual resilience

  • Relationship resilience

  • Functional resilience

  • Spiritual resilience

Physical resilience is exactly as the name would imply. It is the physical capacity to continue working in light of physical and even emotional stress. Physical resilience is enhanced through the maintenance of good health and a healthy lifestyle. Eating a balanced diet both at home and at work; regular exercise; and adequate rest, even during the disaster, are essential to "filling" your canteen of physical resilience and maintaining that resilience.

Emotional resilience deals directly with what we feel and how we respond to it. The old saying "attitude counts" was never more true than when filling your canteen of emotional resilience. On the other hand, if you have filled your emotional canteen with despair; self‑loathing; angst and animus then you will have nothing but bitter drags from which to drink when in the midst of a challenge.

Intellectual resilience is bolstered by the very act of learning and practicing the skills which you have learned. It is as we gain experience and knowledge we slowly imprint new patterns which we may later use to compare and ultimately recognize as familiar situations and events that unfold during an event. The more of these patterns that we have in our intellectual canteen the more quickly we can recognize and adapt to the ever changing business environment. When we can recognize these patterns quickly we can respond quickly thus bolstering our intellectual resilience.

Relationship resilience bolsters our social functioning. It is through our relationships with those that we hold dear that we fill our canteen of relationship resilience with memories and comforting mental images that carry us through our times of separation. It is also these relationships that safeguard our lives and our emotions. It is through these relationships that we not only fill our canteens but keep them full and keep watch on each other.

Functional resilience bolsters our behavioral function. The skills that we have practiced in our day-to-day lives as we have moved through our careers are that with which we fill our canteen of functional resilience. Like the patterns in our canteen of intellectual resilience the skills of our functional resilience are no different at times of adversity than they are at times between challenges. We need only be able to access those skills more quickly and perform them more calmly.

Spiritual resilience is somewhat different because the canteen of spiritual resilience is not filled by what we believe, but rather by the fact that we believe. Research in the area of resilience has shown that the very act of believing enforces an even intelligence beyond ourselves, a higher purpose for higher power, bolsters our resilience, and improves our function and our likelihood to master adversity. By assisting your team in developing resilience and maintaining that resilience they are not only better able to perform at work but in every other aspect of their lives.

Thus we see that epidemic enthusiasm and pandemic pride are infections created by those who own, operate, and lead the most successful businesses. It is this leadership and this attitude of employee service equal to customer service that creates employees that go on to turn loyal customers into raving fans that then spread the reputation and the name of your company.

Read other articles and learn more about Dr. Maurice Ramirez.

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