High Alert Institute



Epidemic Enthusiasm and Pandemic Pride

by | Jun 11, 2007

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.  Experts have employees imagining everything from mailboxes to Caribbean beaches all in the hope of improving customer service.  


Walt Disney World Resorts creates raving fans because they provide a vacation beyond your 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.  Walt Disney World Resorts creates 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 employees feel that they are truly appreciated as your everyday hero and that by coming to work they leave invigorated and their life is enhanced rather than leaving tired and their life diminished then your employees become infected with enthusiasm for their work.  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 mediumsized company in South Central Florida.  Every morning when Robert arrives at 9:40 a.m. he walks through the entire building greeting every employee from janitor through the managers with a genuine eyeglinting smile and a hardy good morning.  If an employee appeared down, upset, or distracted he would take a moment to ask them if they were all right, if there was anything that he could personally do to make their day just a little bit brighter and if there was he would do it.  It was not unusual to see Bob, as he encouraged his employees to call him, carrying coffee or water or hot tea to somebody’s desk just to make them feel a little better.  Bob regularly said thank you for being here even though nothing special had been done yet.  The day had just begun.  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.  Loving and being loved, including loving yourself; enjoying the everyday joys of life and ensuring that you have the opportunity for boundless joy and genuine happiness fill your canteen with the sweet emotions that counterbalance the bitterness of adversity.  On the other hand, if you have filled your emotional canteen with despair; selfloathing; 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, spouses and significant others; children and grandchildren; parents; relatives; friends; coworkers 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.  


Pam was the president of a small public relations firm and had an intimate understanding of the need to maintain full canteens of resilience.  She had begun her professional career selling sports club memberships to highend clients and quickly learned that it was through demonstrating the benefits of health that she made the most sales.  When she started her own company she maintained a treadmill in her office setting a visual example to employees and clients alike of the importance of personal health.  She took a tremendous interest in her diet and her health care maintaining both at their peak potential.  


She filled her life with positive affirmations and chose to allow negative emotional events and negative feelings to flow past her like water past a riverbank.  


Her life was rich with friendships both personal and professional and if Will Rogers never met a man he didn’t like, then Pam never met a person that she did not have a smile for.  Always learning Pam invested time in both personal and professional readings as well as audiostudy programs and an everexpanding range of intellectual interests and selfstudy.  Her full intellectual canteen paled in comparison to her canteen of relationships which was always full to overflowing as she would make new friends even during the mundane activities of going to the store or traveling on an airplane.  She encouraged her employees to do the same reserving a part of one day a week to play games, brainstorm, and just enjoy each other’s company in the office.  


Pam also maintained her skills in all aspects of her business.  Professional speaking and oneonone sales were part of the “personal touch” that allowed Pam to maintain some of the most soughtafter clients in the public relations world.  Pam paid for her managers to travel with her to several key events each year so that they could maintain their skills in all aspects of the business as well as maintaining relationships with outoftown clients.  


Pam’s spiritual canteen was filled by her belief that there was a higher power in the universe, a greater consciousness which was both benevolent and allpowerful.  Never one to impose her beliefs on others, she maintained space within the company for the free personal expression of belief within the confines of each employee’s personal space.  


By both leading by example and providing the template for success Pam imbued in her employees pride which became pandemic not just among those who worked for her but her people infected her clients, each of them as proud to say that her company represented them as she was to say that she represented each client.


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.


Griffin Works offers Pawsitive Interactions with Service Dogs During Response Operations©, an audience-customized training that breaks down barriers by offering hands-on handling training and demonstrations with working service dogs for fire departments, EMS agencies, and public safety organizations.

Part of the National Domestic Preparedness Consortium and home to the National Emergency Response and Recovery Training Center, TEEX has been leading homeland security training since 1998. The major TEEX programs include fire and rescue, infrastructure and safety, law enforcement, economic and workforce development, and homeland security. As a member of The Texas A&M University System, TEEX is unique in its ability to access a broad range of emerging research and technical expertise. Beginning with course design and development all the way through hands-on instruction and national certification testing, TEEX delivers comprehensive training through both classroom and hands-on instruction and as online courses.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network (NCTSN) was created by Congress in 2000 as part of the Children’s Health Act to raise the standard of care and increase access to services for children and families who experience or witness traumatic events. This unique network of child-serving professionals, caregivers and young adults, researchers, and national partners is committed to changing the course of children’s lives by improving their care and moving scientific gains quickly into practice across the U.S. The NCTSN is administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and coordinated by the UCLA-Duke University National Center for Child Traumatic Stress (NCCTS). 

The Emergency Management Institute (EMI) is part of the Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The EMI provides national leadership in developing and delivering training to ensure that individuals and groups having key emergency management responsibilities possess the requisite skills to effectively perform their jobs.

The High Alert Institute maintains a list of reviewed courses provided by governments, universities and professional organizations. This list is geared towards the non-emergency management person who participates in disaster planning, preparedness, response, recovery or mitigation as part of their job responsibilities.

The High Alert Institute has partnered with Shutterstock to distribute stock images from the nature images donated by our supporters. For eligible stock images, Shutterstock will donate a portion of the royalty to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to Shutterstock customers.

For eligible purchases through AmazonSmile, the AmazonSmile Foundation will donate 0.5% of the purchase price to the High Alert Institute. There is no cost to charitable organizations or to AmazonSmile customers. All you need to do is push the SMILE NOW button and select to support THE HIGH ALERT INSTITUTE on AmazonSmile.

Koi need forever homes, too! For pond enthusiasts, freshwater exotic and ornamental fish may not be available through pet stores or rescues in their area. The High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program will be happy to assist you in stocking your new pond or adding a new finned friend to your school. Coming soon – when you adopt a Koi from the High Alert Institute Aquatic Pet Shelter Rehoming Program, we can arrange for delivery to your door anywhere in the continental United States.

Have you always wanted a Koi pond but don’t have the space one? Sponsor a Koi in our community shelter pond and we send you photos of your sponsored animal. Coming soon are live Koi Cameras above and below the water to enjoy your sponsored Koi anytime.

Dumping of freshwater non-native species and exotic aquatic pets into wild habitats is a man-made disaster that is truly preventable. The Institute’s Aquatic Pet Welfare Partnership works to raise awareness and reduce the impact on healthy ecosystems through education, as well as rescue and rehoming. Joined by champions of animal welfare and environmental stewardship, this  association of aquatic pet rescue operations and aquatic pet shelters across the United States aims to save our finned friends and preserve our waterways together.

Want to share our cause with family, friends, and colleagues? Looking for a non-traditional way to celebrate a birthday or honor someone special? Support the Institute by starting your own Peer-to-Peer fundraising challenge! Let your contacts know why our mission is important to you and what they can do to support your cause. START YOUR OWN FUNDRAISER for the High Alert Institute.

From the staffing pool to the shelter ponds, from the boardroom to the classroom, and from reading the science to writing the analyses, High Alert Institute programs and services benefit from the experience, expertise, and generosity of our volunteers. Put your talents to use for good and to good use – VOLUNTEER TODAY.

Make your donation twice as nice by rehoming aquatic pets and providing a rehabilitation companion pet to a deserving person, family, or facility. Sponsor part or all of a Joy of Koi Program pond installation – complete with rehomed koi – and give the gifts of love and recovery.

Professional photographers, amateurs, and legal copywrite holders are all welcome to participate in the High Alert Institute Nature Photo Donation Program. Sales of the images benefit the Institute and donors are eligible for tax deductions equivalent to the fair market value of their photos. Landscapes, seascapes, animals, flowers – all may be accepted – whether new or vintage  images. People may be included in the photo but only if unidentifiable (i.e., blurred figures at a distance).

Did you know that unused patents and copyrights can be donated to charity? Intellectual Property (IP) just sitting on a shelf will lose value as it becomes obsolete. The High Alert Institute IP Donation Program seeks to rescue stranded, technology-related IP with the potential for development into marketable products. Once accepted by the program, the owner/inventor is eligible for a tax deduction equivalent to the fair market value of the IP. The Institute receives the patent licensing fees or revenue from the sale of the IP to businesses, helping us to fund our mission. In turn, businesses are able to advance their markets and create jobs for less money than starting a project from scratch.

Disasters are defined as situations in which needs exceed or overwhelm available resources. Some disasters affect an entire community, while other disasters impact individuals and families. Crises of physical or psychological health can be very personal disasters.
The therapeutic value of pets during illness, trauma, and recovery is well established. And Koi fish may be well suited for people who are not able to provide verbal pet commands or physically care for pets like dogs and cats. Koi ponds are also a source of beauty and peace, providing an ideal setting for quiet reflection or meditation.
We are working to partner with pond installers and aquatic pet rescues/shelters to offer free or reduced-cost ponds with rehomed Koi fish to people seeking this type of pet therapy.

Disasters disrupt life and impact our sense of personal, family, and community safety. Survivors and responders alike often are not aware of the emotional, psychological or spiritual challenges that they may face from disaster onset through recovery. With two decades of experience training responders and communities to prepare for the behavioral health aspects of disasters, we will continue to provide education and a curated list of resources to groups or individuals.

Non-medical factors that impact overall health are termed Social Determinants of Health or SDoH. Noise pollution, poor air quality, and poor water quality are three environmental factors known to have a strong link to overall health. And the same environmental factors that impact humans impact their pets and other animals in their care. We continue to assist in advocacy, education, and technology development to mitigate the impact of SDoH on humans and animals alike.

Our efforts in shelter and rescue are the main focus of our environmental stewardship, reducing the environmental impact of non-native aquatic animals being dumped into public waterways. The High Alert Institute also assists innovators with the design, development, and evaluation of green and renewable energy technologies. Reducing the carbon footprint associated with disaster preparedness, response, and recovery furthers our continued mission to mitigate risk and improve resilience.

We partner with public and private organizations, sharing resources and fostering partnerships to improve disaster preparedness, response, and recovery, and mitigation.

The High Alert Institute team has over a century of combined research experience in medical, nursing, behavioral health, and disaster sciences. Our team provides support to researchers and technology developers through comprehensive literature searches and reviews, as well as failure mode database searches and adjudicated reviews.

When disaster strikes, most aquatic pet owners have limited options to secure the safety of their pets. Sheltering in place may not be possible if there is no power to provide aeration and “pet-friendly” shelters do not include ponds or aquariums. Our goal is to provide an option for aquatic pet owners in need of rescue and shelter for their finned friends.

Our goal is to share our two decades of disaster readiness experience with animal welfare organizations, shelters, caretakers, and pet owners, as they implement contingency  plans for natural and manmade disasters.

Join the Institute
Stay informed and get updates.

*We do NOT share your information with any other sites or organizations.

High Alert Institute

4800 Ben Hill Trail
Lake Wales, FL 33898
Office: 863.696.8090
FAX: 407.434.0804


Privacy Policy

Cookie Policy

Terms of Use


Get Your Data

Shipping Policy

Message Us



Do Not Sell Info

Return Policy