Dinoland in Disney’s Animal Kingdom has a distinct feel that differs from other themed portions of the massive resort.  Known the world over for excellence, the Walt Disney Company provides unparalleled experiences to their guests, obsessing over the tiniest of details.  Imagine my surprise upon entering this section of the park that looks and feels like a local street carnival.  What catches your eye first?

Dinoland

How different does this scene look from your local parking lots?  Does anything stand out?  For me, the crack filled blacktop with faded striping was absolute theming perfection.  This effect carries through into the queue lines where most would never even consider looking.  It was so well done, I wasn’t convinced that this area wasn’t simply repurposed.  I’ve been assured by some longtime cast member ‘experts’, it wasn’t.

Attention to detail- so perfect that I am sure it goes virtually unnoticed.  There is a team out there who planned details such as these, and it is likely they wondered if the extra effort would be noticed, or appreciated.

The Pew Research Center reports that trust in public government is near historic lows.  The news isn’t all bad as a 2014 Gallop Survey reveals local government retains a much higher degree of public confidence (72% approval).  We each have a role to play in reversing these trends.

When have you ever known someone to complain about excellence?  As in life, negatives are more noticeable and provide fodder for citizen discussion.  Excellence often goes completely unnoticed, much like the parking lot in Dinoland.  Residents will notice a smooth ride to work only briefly following the repair of a much needed, and perhaps long neglected road damaged by seasonal changes or untold numbers of underground utility repairs.

I have adopted the motto ‘Striving for Excellence’ and placed it on each of the responding fire and EMS apparatus within my organization.  Intended to serve as a subtle reminder, each firefighter and paramedic has a role to play in our organizational commitment.  Likewise, the community should expect that we uphold this promise to them.  Find ways to build confidence by maintaining community trust.  Faithful provision of governmental services that are both consistent and compassionate will result in citizen confidence.  Citizen satisfaction should be just as important as consumer loyalty is to Disney executives.

There is a balance, and your citizens must be involved in assisting government leaders in striking it.  The opposing side of the scale is, of course, available fiscal resources.  The fulcrum must be adjusted as you incrementally raise the bar and the community increases the investment placed in the various divisions and departments benefiting the citizens.  Involve formal and informal organizational leadership in concert with community organizations and representatives.  Solve organizational problems by focusing on obvious pain points.  Find the ‘easy’ wins and build upon them.

Excellence is universally recognized.  Only those keenly focused will notice the subtle details.  Certainly the measures vary and the expectations differ, but good governance deserves just as much attention to detail, as Disney has invested in recreating a community festival- and all of the pleasant values of community that this theme park relies upon recreating.

WSJ Children of Opioid CrisisRead WSJ: The Children of the Opioid Crisis

The school year had just begun, it was early in the morning.  I vividly recall responding to the home of this particular overdose victim.  She was unconscious in the bathtub, the shower raining down as if that would help save her life.  Her father, frantically directing us toward the bathroom.  Her son had forgotten about his now soggy breakfast cereal on the living room coffee table as cartoons played on the television.  The boy was terrified.  I couldn’t help but wonder what was going through his young mind as we walked by with all of our equipment.

The naloxone did its job… this time.

Six weeks later, give or take a few days.  It was early in the morning.  The address we were responding to seemed familiar.  As the EMS crews entered the still well-kept home, we knew exactly how to find the bathroom.  We knew our patient would be soaking wet.  There was one significant difference.  The boy was visibly angry.  We were in his way.  My medics were inadvertently blocking his view of the early morning cartoons.  While jockeying for an unobstructed view, he slammed his spoon down in frustration causing milk to splatter.  I notice another another difference.  This young boys face had become callous.

I can’t imagine what had transpired in such a short period of time.

The naloxone did its job… again.