It was a normal day that happened to include a visit to my eye doctor. The visit was routine except that the doctor wanted to give me an injection of food dye in order to have a better view of my eye. I was reluctant, but he insisted saying it was no big deal. Can you say famous last words?
Shortly after I left his office, my knuckles began to turn red. Then itching in my hands and feet began building to a horrible, unmanageable level. My whole body began to weaken and I thought, I’ll stop by the Doc in the Box on the way to my house, just to be sure. But when I turned a corner I realized I wasn’t going to make it. I pulled into a truck rental parking lot. The place looked closed. I called my daughter who is a nurse practitioner. When I told her my tongue and lips were swollen, she said, “Hang up the phone and dial 911. Hang up the phone and dial 911.” I did. Of course even without me telling her my lips and tongue were swollen, she could hear me slurring my words. Further, she knows that it’s really rare for me to go to for a doctor’s visit and wind up in a non-functioning, drunken state. OK, seriously never. I managed to dial 911 and began speaking to the DeKalb police. I was having difficulty making the emergency dispatcher understand me. However, the woman working at the truck rental happened to drive up just at this time and this is where the first team began performing in synchronicity. The woman realized something was wrong and took the phone to tell the police our location. She kept the police informed of my condition and relayed information I provided. She asked if I wanted her to call anyone. I asked her to call my husband. I dialed the phone and she spoke to him. We heard the ambulance approach.
Our teamwork was completed. This wonderful Good Samaritan handed me over to the next team, a male and female team of paramedics. They had me park my car in a parking space, walked me over to the ambulance and began giving me fluids and Benadryl. They were kind, patient and took great care of me. They drove me to the Emory Hospital Emergency Room. You know, it’s strange riding in the back of an ambulance and driving right past your own house. These two got me triaged into the hospital and stayed with me taking care of my every need until the next team came to take me to a room.
The third and final team that worked with me that day was the Emory hospital team. They were cheerful, helpful and showed genuine concern. So we spent the next 6 hours together to get me stable and out the door to go home. What’s the point?
The point is that every day, your organization moves forward with the help of seemingly unrelated teams. Examples of teams that work in synchronicity might be your vendors, your customers and your employees. Yes, your vendors and customers are, or should be, a vital part of your team. Another example, might be the community where your business is located, the government and various team members from your organization. Community members might inform your customer service or executive team if your drivers are operating company vehicles in an unsafe manner. The government might enact laws to protect the community preserving your place in it. Having this type of information is vital to protecting your company’s good name or brand. These types of seemingly unrelated teams can provide valuable feedback on services, products and processes.
In my “snatched from the jaws of death scenario” no one team demonstrated animosity toward the other. No team felt their work was more important than the others. No team attempted to take more credit to the successful conclusion of the scenario than another. Except for Mr. Death trying to tap me on the shoulder, it was a seamless, flawless event. The teams cited above can and often do work in the same manner. It is a wise move to protect these teams, stay connected with them and rely on them as a valuable resource. Who knows, they may someday snatch the reputation of your business from the jaws of the worst kind of death – failure.
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