We entered the clinic pleased to see we were the only
patients in the waiting area. Behind the counter sat a middle-
receptionist on a raised stool. As our eyes met a smile
came over her face as she welcomed us to the hospital’s
testing facility.

I started to give her the script for my son’s blood work but
quickly she withdrew her hand.

“You need to sign in first,” she said, pointing out a clipboard
holding a slightly curled piece of lined paper.  On the paper
about a half dozen signatures of earlier patients had been
crossed of with a thick black marker obliterating any chance
of reading their names.

She gestured to an ink pen attached to the clipboard by a
long string as she picked up her thick black marker. As I
picked up the pen she removed the cap of her marker. As I
began to write my son’s name she pointed the marker at my
writing, holding it just inches away.

Then, as soon I had completed writing his name, not even
providing enough time for me to lay the pen down she
proceeded to black-out his name with her marker.

She immediately looked at me with her textbook smile and
said, “How can I help you?”

Obviously nobody could read it with her cross-out but she
followed the policy.

How much time and resources do you or your employees
spend following procedures that do not add value every time
they are followed? These blindly followed procedures cost
money, productivity, and harm relationships.

Max recommends a different scenario: A man walks into a
clinic’s laboratory testing area. The receptionist, pleased to
see she was no longer alone in the large room, welcomed
him and his son. He offers a script for blood work to her and
she takes it with a smile. She then says, “Follow me and we’
ll get this blood drawn.”

Wow! That would have been service that would have left an

Related resources:
The receptionist's
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timeless fables we remember words best when we
become engaged in a story. Max has compiled an
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