Byron's Babbles

Every Little Detail Matters

Walt Disney World EPCOT World Showcase Lagoon

In a planning meeting for a future gathering yesterday I was reminded of two very important words: “everything speaks”. Two simple words, but huge implications. It’s all about impact and we need to remember that everything speaks, always! I’m pretty sure Walt Disney gets credit for the “everything speaks” philosophy. And, you don’t have to spend very much time at a Walt Disney World theme park to figure it out. Just like trash cans every so many steps and the fact that Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Hall of Presidents wears polio braces under his trousers. The details matter! My wife and I experienced a Disney Resort and the Disney Theme Parks for the first time past fall and we both commented on the fact that it was not just the big “wows”, but all the little things that added up. For example, I was amazed at how any time there was a question, someone just happened to be there to answer it.

I have friends who are Disney fanatics and I understand that for Disney the return trip is key. Therefore, they have truly empower their team to make decisions and be servant leaders to enhance the guest experience to the fullest. If you noticed that the word “truly” was in bold, that was no accident. I experienced organization where empowerment is talked about a lot, but never really practiced. Your empowered to do what your told. Have you noticed, places like that don’t retain their employees either? What’s interesting is that if we’re doing the right things we don’t need to talk about it, why? Because everything speaks! Most people don’t even notice all the little things at Disney, but we would if they were not there – so, we don’t need to be told they are there because those little things are speaking. Those we serve only notice what we do when we don’t do it.

Every detail of the experience with you or your organization is saying something about you and your organization. Those you are serving may not consciously know or understand every detail, but subconsciously clues to our culture and the community we have formed are being communicated. One of the key points from my planning meeting that I leave you with is that for the work we do in developing and serving others we need to have an experience mindset, not a task mindset. It is important that we actualize everything so none of the little things get missed. Remember, everything speaks.

Always In A State Of Becoming

My vantage point for EPCOT’s new nightly fireworks display: Harmonious

This week I had the opportunity to go to Disney’s EPCOT. I’ve always been inspired by the creative and imaginative of Walt Disney. I was here for ExcelinEd’s 2021 National Summit On Education. As you can imagine, because of the inspiration of the location, there were lots of quotes and references from Walt Disney. One from EPCOT, which stands for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, was that Walt Disney wanted to build a community of tomorrow that “would never be completed.” His vision was to have a place for demonstrating and introduce new ideas and systems. What was really jumping out at me was this idea of “always in a state of becoming.” Just like Disney’s vision of EPCOT never being completed, we personally are always in a state of becoming as well as everything around us. This includes education. As the world, society, and what we know from science about how children develop and we learn, our work is never completed. Thus with every day comes the opportunity for becoming – becoming even more incredible than yesterday!

I love this idea of “becoming.” It is so much more liberating than “improving” or “changing.” Those two things signal there being a deficiency. “Becoming” signals growth, adaptation, and evolution. Think about it: every moment we are becoming something– something else. Our intellect is constantly evolving and changing because of the different impressions, and different visual/audio/spatial stimuli that we have each and every day.

While philosopher Parmenides spoke of “being” and Heraclitus’ philosophy was about “becoming,” we are not sure if Parmenides was responding to Heraclitus, or Heraclitus to Parmenides. This rivalry had a profound influence on Plato. As Heraclitus said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.” There is always a state of flux.

We’re never the same person. Every moment our molecules, atoms, and cells change in our body. Who we were yesterday isn’t the same person are today. Therefore we need to embrace that we and everything around us is always “becoming.”