What Spilled Coffee Taught Us About Teamwork

Krystal is one of the newest members of our nursing team. She loves coffee. I mean, she really loves coffee. It makes her smile, jump, and just be happy.

A few weeks ago, she was walking into the clinic holding her Venti Mocha with whipped cream. She had decided to not even take a sip until she sat down at her desk. From the drive-through of Starbucks all the way into the clinic, she smelled the aroma, but was holding on to drink it until she got to work.

Excited, she opened the door of the clinic, and somehow dropped her prized drink to the floor. In that moment, I too was walking into the clinic, unaware of what was going on. I saw Sarah, our billing specialist, helping Krystal mop up the mess.


I said, ?Good morning,? and inquired quickly as to what had happened. I told Krystal, ?I am sorry you dropped your coffee,? and rushed on in. It was a normal day at the office.?I did not think twice about what had happened that morning with the spilled coffee.

The next day, Krystal came into my office and said, ?Dr. W, can I tell you something?? I replied, ?Sure.? She said, ?Yesterday, after I spilled my coffee, Sarah asked me what kind of coffee it was. So I told her, thinking she was just inquiring because she was curious.? But guess what? She actually went to Starbucks without me knowing, and walked back in with a Venti Mocha, and said, ?Here?s your drink!??

At that point, Krystal had only been on our team for two weeks. And though she and Sarah were not close, Sarah obviously knew that Krystal really loved coffee. As Krystal told me this story, she was almost teary-eyed. She said, ?Who would do that? This is amazing.? I agreed. What was also amazing, was that even as a new person with us, Krystal acknowledged it, made sure that I knew about it, and praised Sarah in front of everyone during our weekly meeting.

So, this is not only public recognition for our team member, it is a reminder to all of us, that to build a great team, each person must be intentional to build the relationships with others on the team. Twitter_logo_blue

And as much as I hate seeing the stain on the carpet when I come into the clinic, it reminds me what Sarah did, and how Krystal responded. It?s a daily reminder to me as well, to be intentional to take care of my people. I am so proud to work with both of them.

Actionable step: Share this story with your team. Ask them to be intentional in big and small ways to build relationships with each other on the team.

Your Friend,
Wes Saade MD Signature

About me??A while back, I invited a local librarian over to organize a few hundred books in my home library according to the Dewey Classification System. It has been so helpful to have my books sorted this way, so I can find them, and make sure they are not misplaced.


For Further Reading:

Don’t Blame the Person, Blame the Process
Help Your People Succeed In Life


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