On a recent family vacation to Disney World, my mind couldn’t help but wander back to the office as I walked around the various theme parks.

I have met Disney’s risk manager, Stephen Wilder, in the past and have seen him speak on risk management at Disney. I have also noticed various aspects of it here on previous trips, but this time, something occurred to me that hadn’t before.

I feel safe here!

Now, I have been in the risk business in one form or another for 22 years, so I am very risk conscious. Not risk adverse, which is a very different thing, but risk conscious. I also notice what companies do right and what they do wrong. Not once in three trips to Disney can I say I have ever thought “gee, they could do that better!”

I tell my kids if you get separated from us, don’t worry, just find any cast member and we will be reunited in a few minutes. I can’t think of any other place on earth where I would feel that confident when it comes to the safety of my children.

They have perfected crowd control, efficiency, cleanliness, customer experience, and safety. Given the incredibly high volume of people that they move through their various theme parks around the world annually, and the high risk activities related to fast rides, and children, it is absolutely astonishing that there aren’t more publicized incidents. Undoubtedly they have them, it is impossible to be incident free, but they obviously minimize them in terms of frequency and severity, which is what every company is striving for.

There are thousands of things they do to accomplish this like excellent policies and procedures and cast member training, but I think that above all it comes down to a culture of risk management and safety. If you believe in risk management and safety and make it core to your company’s beliefs and practices, then your staff will live it and breathe it too.

Looks to me like Disney’s mission statement “to make people happy” could just as easily be “to make people feel safe."

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