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Power of Business Observation

The story is told of a distinguished professor of medicine who was teaching young eager medical students at Oxford University.

Sitting on the desk of Sir William Osler was a urine sample

He began his lecture to the students by emphasizing the importance of observing the patient to determine what physical abnormalities might be present with their examination of the patient.

He then picked up the specimen bottle and stated that it is often possible to taste the patient's urine to find out what the medical diagnosis of the patient might be.

Upon making this astonishing statement, he then dipped a finger into the sample and then into his mouth. Adding to the lesson of the day he then said, "Now ladies and gentlemen I'm going to pass around this specimen bottle and you are to do the same as I have done."

Slowly, the bottle passed from medical student to medical student who in each case reluctantly placed a finger into the specimen bottle and then tasted the sample. Predictably, each student followed this tasting process with a scowl, a gagging sensation or a frown.

Ultimately, the specimen made its way back to Sir Osler who followed up the diagnosis process of the urine sample with these words.  He stated, "Ladies and gentlemen now you will understand what I mean about the importance of observation. If you had followed closely you would have noticed that I had placed my index finger into the sample and my middle finger into my mouth."

Albeit, a disgusting story, what a powerful lesson the eminent doctor provided to the class of future doctors.

With this priceless lesson he transported training from the classroom to an effective and caring teaching of future physicians into medical offices and hospital rooms by underscoring the importance of observation.

Today, it is important for leaders to be in the boardroom.  Leaders need to learn the business, to strategize, track income and expenses, etc. 

However, it is also important for leaders to implement their leadership skills in the workplace.  This is not only done through instruction, but allowing for their leadership skills to be observed and by observing the skills of the team.  This is accomplished when the leader steps out of the boardroom into the showroom, the stockroom, the lunchroom, etc. This is not micromanaging, but observing the body language, the attitudes, the voice inflections, etc. of the team.

We at With Purpose stand ready to "pass around the specimen bottle" to further engage your leaders and team in order to make your business even more dynamic and engaging.

Reach out to us today so that together we can refine our observation skills.


Chris AirdComment