Five ways people create the culture we feel

Last week, dear readers, my daughter had an operation. According to the surgeon it was an easy procedure and I’m happy to report that Lulu sailed with flying colors. Before the nurse could bring the tea and toast to her bedside in the recovery room, Lulu was on her phone Snapchatting with friends.

Although we have been living in Ireland for over seven years now, this was my first visit to a hospital. And for today I’m going to share a little bit of the experience, because in history there are lessons for every business professional.

Make a first impression

i won’t lie Our first impression of The Coombe Women and Infants University Hospital in Dublin was not good.

The parking lot and the front of the hospital evoked a sense of bewildering clutter. Several incongruous buildings are scattered with a jumble of signposts in different fonts, colors, and styles. The main entrance doors to the hospital were difficult to find; oddly flanked by a series of temporary parking and security module buildings.

Once inside, not a soul was about. Although it was 7:00 am, a hospital is a 24-hour facility and I expected to find a reception area with someone standing by to guide, advise and comfort insecure patients. This was not the case. The signage, the lighting, the seating area. Everything felt dated, cold, and institutional.

Luckily, I arrived with my healthy teenage daughter who was in a non-life threatening situation that only required “simple surgery”. Imagine how you would feel if you were a first time mom in need as you face the uncertainty that was the reception of this hospital.

Executives, if your company greets people personally, how welcoming is your company’s reception area? When you meet someone virtually, how inviting is your “Zoom Room”? Serious. Examine and recalibrate.

The meaning of the greeting

When we finally managed to find a woman behind plexiglass two rooms past those main front doors, she directed us to the fourth floor to actually check in.

The first thing that caught my eye was a printed paper sign apologizing for the way the hospital looked when it was being remodeled. Apology accepted.

But read on dears, this story gets better. The woman behind this next piece of Plexiglas was named Sam. She had kindly called the night before to confirm Lulu’s surgery. And this morning she was incredibly hospitable again. Her behavior was not superficial. It was caring and kind. A good second impression can make up for a first.

Focus on the person’s name

From Sam’s check-in to every other member of the hospital team that we met during our visit, each person greeted us warmly and by name. Yes, I understand that it is imperative for a medical facility to ensure patients’ names are correct for identification and tracking purposes, but the same level of attention should be given in the corporate world. If learning someone’s name is important to you, it shows that you value that whole person.

Evaluate your target audience

Speaking of value, I have to emphasize the personal kindness and professional attention we received from Josie, our floor sister. She escorted Lulu to her bed in the waiting room, dressed her in a glamorous blue paper hospital gown and matching paper knickers — all with compassion and warmth.

By the time our consultant, Niamh Murphy, arrived to speak with Lulu prior to the surgery, she was already comfortably resting. I noticed that dr. Niamh, as we called her, specifically asked Lulu about a holiday-related topic they had discussed when we last met a few weeks ago. This was a great device to help Lulu (and I) relax.

Paying attention to personal crumbs dropped in business conversations can create stronger connecting cables between you and another party.

Next, Niall, the lead anesthetist, came over to speak to Lulu. I was amazed at how he focused his full attention on her. He didn’t just call me Mama. He showed great value to her as a patient.

When you’re dating two prospects, do you pay more attention to the person you assume is “older”? Be careful. An unequal approach can backfire in the professional world, much like it can in the medical world.

The porters who brought Lulu to the operating room also showed great value. Sensing my concern, they offered me one of those beautiful paper gowns and walked me into the OR to watch as my daughter was surrounded by half a dozen team members and then given general anesthesia to get her ready in the OR to send sleep -like condition.

Don’t forget to follow up

Before the surgery started, I went back to the recovery room. Soon Lulu was wheeled in, laid on the recovery bed, and received another series of caring visits from Dr. Niamh, Josie and other members of the medical team performed.

When the tea and toast arrived I joked that our experience culminated with hotel room service. “Five stars,” Lulu announced. Then she grabbed a bite of toast and went back to Snapchat.

Although the building wasn’t great, an organization’s culture is its people. We found a friendly and considerate culture at The Coombe. Five ways people create the culture we feel

Fry Electronics Team

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