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INTRODUCTION

A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.

 —JACKIE ROBINSON

 

In business, leaders often compartmentalize the groups that they serve. They use a wide range of labels to distinguish among those groups, such as employees, customers, prospects, leads, board members, and stockholders. On occasion, there are natural tensions that emerge between these constituencies. For example, the pursuit of return on the shareholders' investment can lead to compromises in the customers' experience. While competing interests do surface, great leaders understand that business success can often be reduced to "profiting people through people." UCLA's commitment to profiting a wide cross section of people is reflected in the first two words of its service vision: "Healing humankind." While some businesses create different levels of care for employees and customers and even provide varying levels of care based on a customer's ability to pay, UCLA is seeking to care uniformly so that it can heal all of humankind. Thus, the vision statement does not begin: "Healing our highest-paying customer segment." By casting the net of service to the entirety of humankind, UCLA's leaders have pushed the traditional boundaries and achieved pervasive impact within their community, throughout the United States, and even globally.

Dr. Feinberg puts it powerfully, "For us, it's about serving people, not about diseases, payer classes, employment status, or even your country of origin. If we care well for people—all people—great things happen, and there is no limit to what is possible at UCLA." This chapter gives you the opportunity to reconsider the distinctions that you may be making concerning service, and, by extension, it previews the benefits that you may receive if you widen your service perspective. The chapter should challenge you to think about the boundaries that confine your concept of service and whether those boundaries are disadvantageous, worthy of reconsideration, or completely consistent with sound economic and social decision making. As suggested by Dr. Feinberg, this chapter should cause you to consider what business you are in, which "people" you are serving, and the ideal local, regional, or even international scope of your service area.

SERVICE SERVES STAFF MEMBERS TODAY AND INTO THE FUTURE

TODAY

Some business leaders make distinctions between internal (employee) and external (customer) service; however, UCLA views service for employees and patients identically. In practice, patients and staff members are often one and the same. Alison Grimes, head of the Audiology Clinic and clinical professor of Head and Neck Surgery, sent a letter to the leader of her organization, CEO Dr. David Feinberg. That letter had nothing do to with her employment, but instead reflected on the service that her family had received at UCLA. In that letter, Alison noted, "My mother died at UCLA on Friday…. I am writing to let you know that, in ...

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