The Point: The front-line customer facing members of your team are just that… Your front-line! The leadership challenge you face is as follows: How often are these team members put into positions of utmost importance, only to be the least trained, least communicated, and least paid members of your organization? If you answered yes to all (or any) you and your business future may be in jeopardy… Enjoy?
The recent case of a man in Texas returning to the United States with the Ebola Virus should cause you as a leader to sit back and take notice. While the case continues to unfold in front of us, here is what is being reported today (Here’s a video from the Wall Street Journal: http://youtu.be/TGV5oCwXV4E):
- Instead of the 6,400 reported cases of ebola in Africa, the number is now estimated to be north of 1.4 Million.
- The man returning from Liberia was showing no signs of ebola prior to his departure. However, reports that he cared for a dying neighbor suffering from the disease.
- The man upon experiencing sickness went to a Dallas area hospital. The hospital dismissed him with a prescription for antibiotics after he informed them that he had recently returned from Africa.
- The man came into contact with no less than six students of elementary school age.
- The man returned to the same Dallas area hospital, this time in an ambulance to receive treatment. He remains in the hospital under care and is quarantined.
So what went wrong at the hospital? Many things, and the press conference yesterday (Here’s a recap of the event from USA Today: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/10/01/hospital-ebola-patient/16527143/) left little doubt that the hospital administration had a reasonable process for dealing with ebola (as well as any/all disease control). Unfortunately, the best laid plans in this instance went unfulfilled due to what can only be surmised as a front-line employee not following the process, leadership not inspecting the process, and no one being held accountable.
Here’s what I imagine taking place:
- A man walks into the Emergency Room of the hospital complaining of flu-like symptoms (Fever, upset stomach, etc.)
- The Emergency Room check-in clerk takes his information (The all too important insurance, personal, etc.)
- The man enters into the facility and is given a quick (2-minute or less) assessment/diagnosis.
- The man receives a prescription for an antibiotic.
- The man goes home and the rest is history… Or as yet to be determined.
The bottom line here is that the organization had a process in place, and the Emergency Room technicians (many of whom aren’t doctors, get treated poorly by said doctors, and receive compensation under $20 per hour) didn’t follow it. The result is almost cataclysmic… Stock markets plunge, panic sets in as we grip for the unknown (Anyone remember the Center for Disease Control reporting that the Ebola Antivirus was all but used up after Case #2 was reported/brought back to the United States?), and all because one of the least trained, least communicated to, and least paid members of an organization couldn’t be held accountable to do their job. So the leadership challenge of this whole ebola virus mess can cost you your business in the forseeable end!
If you’re a leader that’s tired of laying the best-designed plans and not having your stakeholders implement/execute accordingly, or experiencing difficulties holding others accountable please use the Contact Us section of this website to inquire about our Leadership Development, Executive Coaching, and Communication Skills Training for Leader programs.