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Can “No one told you to wait” be transformed like this damaged tree was?


Slow down! Reflect on art and your service experience!


When one of the tallest trees in Wales was damaged, Simon O’Rourke climbed up and carved this beautiful 50-foot tall hand reaching to the skies! Once contracted to do so, he erected scaffolding and went to work.

– For me? After waiting 40 minutes as the only person at a walk-in clinic, I was told, I would not be seen and “No one told you to wait”.  How could this be at the start of their day?

It was like a damaged tree. These team members had been overworked with no leadership around to clarify a schedule mix-up, leaving one to drive home instead of working a full day and the other to work with no support…again. If we stop for just a minute, what can we do to fixed the damage like O’Rourke did?

Let’s talk about

  • The artist Simon O’Rourke his Wales sculpture
  • Transforming – Staff a manager, not just a portal.
  •  Transforming – Tell Stories – Talk about compassionate service all the time (teach by stories).
  • Transforming – Get to full staffing (even if that means less hours open).

The artist Simon O’Rourke – Transforming Damage to Art

The Natural Resource Wales was planning on cutting down the tallest tree in the area when it was damaged. Instead, they commissioned Simon O’Rourke to create it into a sculpture. Reflecting the message of these large trees, he chose to make a large hand reaching up to the sky. Artists make it look easy. They continuously take raw material and create things of beauty.

Can we do that too with all the moving parts of service?

Transforming – Staff a manager not just a portal

Make a manager available. I was on my way out of town and just wanted to confirm that my terrible cold was not Covid. At that particular walk-in clinic, when I was told, “No one told you to wait” my first thought was disappointment followed quickly by an understanding that these employees needed to be able to reach out to someone above them. One employee was left to drive back home instead of working a full day and the other was left to do the work of two. At that point, they needed a “live” manager. The scheduling portal could not fix this. Start there.

Transforming – Tell Stories – Talk about compassionate service all the time (teach by stories)

Is there a way to collect great stories and repeat them all the tie to your team

  • At Orange Fitness, I mentioned that I am a bit Covid shy. Without asking, the person at the desk, greets me each time and offers to pencil me in at the spot farthest away from everyone.
  • And, after just one class, the teachers know my name and greet me in and out of class. Someone has coached these team members and asked them to make it a great experience. And it is!

Transforming – Get to full staffing or cut hours

Scale back! Make service more important the hours. Understaffing is all about burning out those trying to pick up the slack. You can walk in a place and see burnout, feel burnout.

  • Realizing my cold had not gone away, I called my doctors office who couldn’t see me but referred me to a nearby clinic (clinic #2). Wow! When the doctor’s office couldn’t handle the volume, they found alternatives for me.
  • I was seen right away, AND was told they would call and check up on me in a few days (which they did). Service was what mattered.
  • Costco is packed most of the time but I go anyway. The self-checkout area is staffed! One to three people keep it moving and initial your receipt so you can exit quickly. It’s all about staffing. Team members are not running around fighting fires. They are just carefully working and providing great service!

In these examples (Orange Theory, the helpful clinic and Costco), service could not have happened in the team members were already upset and overworked.

Take a tip from Simon O’Rourke and change something damaged into something wonderful! Staff up your teams and continuously talk to them about great service, cut back your hours if need be! Mary Furrie, Furrie Consulting, helping client with critical thinking and creating better service!

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