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How badly is the


customer bleeding?


triage [Fr. trier, sort out]. The classification of wounded or injured persons in order to insure the efficient use of medical and nursing manpower, equipment, and facilities.

Classification is concerned with the casualties who would live without therapy of any kind, those who would die no matter what treatment is provided, and those who would survive if given adequate care. (Taber’s Cyclopedic Medical Dictionary)


Well, all the doctor stuff in last night’s post got me started. (And many thanks, by the way, for the email responses from doctors, all expressing total agreement!) I started thinking about how often we in business cross the line to borrow ideas and approaches from medicine.

Every day of the week, we take a prospect/customer/employee/job applicant/vendor/supplier history or profile, do a diagnostic work-up, set a treatment plan in motion and issue a prognosis. Sound like the skeleton of a “Business Plan”?

When was the last time you took some Triage Action in your business? In your personal life? (Why should that question startle you? If you own and/or run a business, that IS your life…and to you, business is personal.)

Don’t leading retailers, like Wal-Mart and Lowe’s, initiate a triage-type action right at the front door with their meet-and-greet staffs?

And how about office receptionists?


Okay, so those are customer-service-oriented triage activities, and admittedly have little bearing on the medical emergency variety cited in the lead-off definition above.

Then answer this: when were you last presented with the need to make a quick choice of options that required a rapid sorting-out process to determine most immediate to deal with, second most immediate, etc.?

My best guess answer for many business owners would be that the odds are it was this week, perhaps today. But you probably just did it without thinking much about it, and it’s not likely you considered it in “Triage” terms.

If such an incident was time-consuming and/or stressful for you, you might want to consider the alternative that the following observations represent. 

Was there a defined plan in place for that or did you just wing it? Most small businesses of the hundreds I’ve worked with, wing it.

If you are confronted with these dynamics with any regularity in your business, you may want to entertain the idea of developing a Triage Plan or at least have a designated Triage Person, trained in your decision-making mode, to do your trouble-shooter function.

This should be someone who is a generalist by nature, and who is familiar enough with your organization — capabilities, people, logistics, locations, operations, policies and procedures — to effectively channel problems and challenges into opportunity directions.

It needs to be someone who is a good listener and who has the sense to recognize those situations where the issue involved would, like the medical definition, “die no matter what treatment is provided.”


Many high-tech businesses have the equivalent of triage teams that they dispatch to problem-plagued customer locations. Some attempt (awkwardly, at best) to accommodate these kinds of situations by phone from some broken-English “experts” squirreled away in some mysterious remote mountain range that makes you wonder how they could even have telephone service.

Who in your organization is ready and best-suited to take on a triage approach that will save you time and aggrevation? 



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302.933.0116 or Hal@BusinessWorks.US  

Thanks for visiting. Go for your goals! God Bless You.
 “The price of freedom is eternal vigilance!” [Thomas Jefferson] 

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