Do you work in a happy business?
I was referred to an oral surgeon a couple of years ago to address some issues beyond the scope of my regular dentist. As many people, going to doctors and dentists is not one of my favorite things to do. As a business coach, I often observe business attitudes and practices as a part of my practical education. I learn so much just by watching what others do.
As I went through my experience at this office, I noticed that everyone, the receptionist, the dental nurses and assistants, and the surgeon himself were happy, friendly, and personable. I would characterize it as a happy business. Even the other patients seemed unusually upbeat and friendly. While conversing with one of the assistants, I couldn’t hold back my curiosity any longer.
“I’m a business coach, and I help business owners and their teams improve their businesses. I’ve been really impressed with everyone’s attitude, and really, how happy everyone is. I have to ask, is there a reason everyone is so happy around here, or are you just a happy bunch of people?”
She didn’t hesitate with her reply. “That’s easy to answer. The doctor has a rule that requires us to be happy.”
“You’re kidding me, right?” I retorted. “You can’t really have a rule that requires you to be happy, can you? What happens if you are having a bad day or just don’t feel like smiling?”
She smiled and said, “If I am not happy for any reason, the rule is that I must leave the office. I don’t lose my job, but I don’t get paid for the time I’m gone. In other words, I get time off without pay if I am not happy.”
I was really intrigued. “You must have a lot of employee turnover. I can’t believe that grown people would put up with such a crazy rule”
She smiled and responded immediately. “On the contrary, Dave, we love the rule. This is the greatest place I have ever worked. Everyone that works here has been here over 15 years. We don’t have turnover.”
“So what if the doctor has a sour day.” I thought I had her stumped. She just said, “You can ask him to confirm this if you like, but just last week we came in a bit grumpy, and we sent him out of the office. He left, and returned in about 30 minutes and was as happy as ever:”
I chuckled and asked one last question. “How about me, do I have to be happy?” She laughed and responded, “For sure! We ask each patient if every time they come if they were happy with our service. If there are three incidents where a patient is dissatisfied with our service, we ask them to find another surgeon. All of our patients are happy as well!”
Do you have a happy business? Do you have a happy life? Who controls your happiness?