Lessons from the ER

If you could run your business like an emergency room, certainly you’d be a leader with patience, grace and empathy, right? Based on my own recent experiences at the ER, nearly everything that happens there can serve as a lesson for leaders. Here are five ER lessons that can benefit your business.

Lesson #1 Follow Up

You spend countless hours landing a new client or project. But do you check in with them not just after the project is completed but throughout? Setting up weekly or biweekly calls to check in helps your clients feel heard. It’s a simple step that can mean the difference between a new client being a one-time customer or a lifelong partner.

Last month, I was released from the hospital just hours after having surgery. The nurse deemed me fit enough to go home, but my doctor never came in to check in on me post-surgery and the nurse didn’t relay my concerns. That led to two ER visits within a week and a second surgery 10 days after the first. That second surgery might not have been avoidable, but certainly the nine hours I spent waiting in the ER both times could have been. Both of these negatively impacted my patient experience. And when I shared the news with friends and family, they wanted to know which hospital I was in and who my surgeon was. Your clients’ network will ask the same questions, so be sure you’re meeting—or exceeding—your customers’ expectations so that when they talk with others in their network, they portray you in the best possible light. Great client experiences lead to referrals and new clients.

Lesson #2 Follow Through

Making promises is a great way to get prospects to sign on the dotted line. If you don’t follow through, though, you’re creating a lasting impression—and not the good kind. One ER doctor told me he’d be back in 20 minutes, but it ended up taking him two and a half hours. I understand, of course, that emergencies are the name of the game in the ER.

The takeaway for businesses here is that when you make a promise to a client, prospect, colleague or partner, be sure it’s one you can keep. Sometimes emergencies can’t be avoided, and in those times clear communication is critical. Managing your client’ expectations builds trust, which leads to loyalty.

Lesson #3 Identify Advocates

Your LinkedIn company page is the best way for LinkedIn users to learn more about your brand without leaving the platform, but the best way to connect with your followers is through personal connections. That’s where your company’s executives come in. In business, advocates speak up for companies and serve as the face of the brand. They are the human connection that adds authenticity and engenders emotion.

For brands, executive advocacy works the same way and offers many benefits, from boosting your credibility, to inspiring consumers to make purchases, to helping you hire and retain employees. Executives who engage regularly on LinkedIn are seen as more reachable and more likable, and that translates to a positive brand perception.

Lesson #4 Choose Your Mindset

Lying on that stretcher in the ER, I kept reminding myself that what I was experiencing was temporary—that it wasn’t going to last and I just needed to hold on a bit longer. Most things were out of my control, but the one thing I did have control of was how I responded to the delay and dealt with the circumstances. In a few days, it would all just be a distant, if bad, memory.

Business has its ups and downs, clients move on, and as we now know all too well, global pandemics happen. Riding those waves can get tricky, but don’t let it ruin your spirit or your drive. As the saying goes, it’s not so much what happens to you as how you react to it. Focus on what you can control, and you might find that you make it through even the toughest circumstances faster and stronger.

In fact, Covid-19 resulted in a huge surge in applications for new businesses, and history tells us that the companies willing to take the biggest risks are often the ones that win.

Lesson #5 Know Your Team’s Worth

While I waited to be admitted to the hospital, we were told that the holdup was with housekeeping. Cleaning hospital rooms helps prevent disease and control infections. This is a critical component of a strong healthcare system. Yet housekeeping is one of the lowest-paid positions at hospitals. The low salary likely makes it difficult to hire and retain top workers. If these employees were valued as much as their work is, they might earn a higher salary. That would probably make it easier for hospitals to maintain the staffing levels needed while also boosting employees’ productivity.

Bottom line? When you show your employees the value they bring, you raise their self-worth along with their financial worth. And that’s worth considering.

Learning these lessons was valuable, but perhaps not worth two nine-hour trips to the ER. Take my word for it: When you follow up, follow through, identify advocates, choose your mindset and know your employees’ worth, your career will benefit and so will your business.


This article was originally published on Forbes.

Related Blogs

LinkedIn Rockstar
woman social media expert walking in front of building looking at her phone