First, before I explain the coffee-cup theme, I need to clarify something about my blog. As my friend Velva aptly pointed out, this blog is about a lot more than running. Even when the week's post is anchored by a running event, somehow it always meanders off into parenting, finding your dreams, or other topics.
I will definitely keep everyone apprized of my progress as I claw my way out of the "Last Banana Club." Today I checked off one milestone on my slow-as-paint-drying progress toward running a 5K in less than 30 minutes. I ran one in less than 40 minutes!! The Red Cross Hurricane Run 5K at Southwood held the magic for me; the cool weather and my need to run after three days of no exercise didn't hurt.
There were several potential topics to choose from this week: the many things I learned at the QATC (Quality Assurance Training Connection) conference in Nashville last week; Stacy Mitchhart, who played guitar with his tongue at BB King's (also in Nashville); and the range of emotions our family experienced as we came together to bury Wayne's brother Chuck's ashes in Riverview to name a few.
I guess some concepts take time to bubble up in your brain. When I bought coffee at Starbucks this morning, and the cup said, "We don't just want to make your drink. We want to make your day," my burning takeaway question from the QATC congress crystallized. Being that I am responsible for the Customer Service function for Florida KidCare enrollees and applicants (at least a large portion of them), but the people providing most of the customer service are with a contracted entity, what can I as one person do to shape the experience of our callers (and emailers and webchatters and letter writers)?
I recently read a quote about how rapidly our minds and spirits can become uncentered; a transition that occurs before we are conscious of it. I have been in this job for 15 years, and it has become way too easy to say how the individuals who speak to our enrollees day in and day out "should" do it while I veered close to "settling" for getting the job done, not "Getting the job done!"
There were SO many ideas at my conference last week. It was really invigorating to participate in the session with the trainer from Coca Cola, who loves her product -- I think all of her reps do too. As I am writing this, the old Coke ad campaign, "Coke is It!" comes to mind.
Helping applicants and enrollees wade through the intricate web of their children's health coverage options and the attendant administrative details isn't as exciting as encouraging people to consume a soda they probably already love.
How, how, how do I make any positive change in a group of approximately 60 employees who have many different imperatives? Pressure to handle calls quickly, various levels of supervisory input (if the training people and the quality people tell me two different things, who do I listen to, and why is this mom on the phone crying?)
Clearly the change begins with me. Am I just "making your drink"? Am I even doing that? How do I (with my immediate staff and a whole group of people in a subcontractual relationship) get from "making your drink" to "making your day"?
It might be about as challenging as playing the guitar with my tongue.
Hopefully once I am there, though, people's experiences will be the equivalent of the rest of the text on this cup. Where Starbucks says, "It's not just coffee. It's STARBUCKS," hopefully our callers will say, "It's not just health care. It's KIDCARE."
I'll "run" into everyone next week!