Throughout my 40 year involvement in healthcare I’ve spent much of my time with front line employees. Recently I’ve spent more time than usual with receptionists when running training workshops on various topics. Spending time with them is a great reminder to me just how important these people are in the patient experience.
It also reminds me how important the tasks we might call ‘trivial’ are in the grand scheme of things in any walk of life.
Basic tasks are not trivial at all - they are fundamental to an overall purpose.
Any house built on weak foundations is not a safe house. This ‘trivial’ work has to be done and it is often not glamorous. It nevertheless makes the final product what it is.
When I work with a group of receptionists I always say to them:
“Promise me one thing. If you take NOTHING else from this training session please tell me you will never say ‘I’m JUST a receptionist.’ You are a customer service professional. That is the reality.”
In every aspect of my life I see these basic but crucial building blocks in just the same way. We rightly celebrate watching something that gives us a real buzz, due to its sheer beauty; or because it touches some emotional buttons within us. But I believe the final ‘product’ or ‘performance’ we witness is usually the accumulation of lots of little pieces that seen in isolation are minor. This usually requires the input of many people quietly doing effective if unglamorous work.
Interestingly, the best leaders I’ve known; worked for; or interviewed have a humility you can ‘feel’ in their presence. They all say they truly value people at the front line doing the less glamorous stuff and they mean it. The least effective leaders prefer to talk about themselves first.
So it’s another opportunity for me to say thank you and to congratulate all those millions of people who do daily, that work which may be considered by some to be ‘menial.’ I say with the utmost confidence the world is a richer place thanks to the millions of foot-soldiers doing basic work quietly and seeking no spotlight.