A Culture of Service Excellence

Members of our faculty and administrative staff are men and women devoted to embedding a culture of service excellence at our school. We use the Patricia Ann O’Rourke Award to make vivid their devotion and to salute the one faculty member or staff person who shows an especially strong desire and ability to serve others and our school.

Gregory Richards, MBA program director, is this year’s recipient of the award. He talks about how he – and the Telfer School – embed a culture of service excellence by modelling a team and family-based culture

Gregory Richards

Gregory richards

Service culture means operating like a family

There’s a perception that service is something that happens at the front lines between the client and the service provider. The truth is, a service culture to me means that everybody inside the organization also provides services to everybody else. So to the degree that you can, help others get things done, anticipate what is needed, and provide a sense of innovation in doing things well. In a service culture, we always think about what’s the best outcome, not only for the client, but for everyone in the chain delivering service to the client.

From an organization’s viewpoint, having a service mindset is simply realizing that most people are doing the best they can. If you can do a very small thing to make somebody’s day a little brighter, and somebody else will do something for somebody else – before long, you have that ripple effect going.

The people I work with here bend over backwards to get things done. I just try to help. If somebody has a problem, I never say to them – ‘There’s nothing I can do about this, sorry you have to go to see someone else.’  In a lot of organizations, common sense gets washed away by structures and roles and who is supposed to do what. We try to operate like a small family. What happens in a family is if your brother or your sister or somebody comes to you with an issue – you may know absolutely nothing about it, but you’ll sit and listen and try to help them.

MBA programs are very competitive now. What’s innovative about what we do is to build a family atmosphere. For the year or two years they are there, they are our people, and we do everything we can to help them.

It’s especially important because we have two different linguistic identities. We pull together because we recognize the strength that comes out of the diversity in the program.

I think this approach does exemplify the values that Pat lives by and certainly demonstrated while she worked here with us.  The award was a surprise but it’s a great honour given Pat’s devotion to the Telfer School.