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Who Is Your MVP?

If I asked you who is your organization’s MVP, who comes to mind? Perhaps it’s your CEO/Founder. Many of you probably think of someone in sales or production. For some it may be a star in product development or business development.

The question requires a judgment as to what your organization values. Most organizations value traditional business measurements such as Sales, Production, Product Development, or New Business Development. Certainly a new administrative employee, not particularly high on the pay scale, and usually looking for a promotion to another job, would not be your Most Valuable Person. Well let me introduce my MVP who sits in the heart of business in my area.

Odetta Stutts is the Director of First Impressions at the Mobile Chamber of Commerce. At your firm, you may call her the “receptionist.” When someone needs help and they call the Chamber, who do they rely upon to provide a positive first impression of the Chamber? When out of town or important business people come into the Chamber for help or an appointment, who does the Chamber rely on to give that first impression? You got it.

Bob Chappelle, EVP and her boss, gets it. Anyone who has met or spoken with Odetta understands the title she has earned. He says he didn’t originate the title, but he was smart enough to borrow a great idea.

So why would I call her the MVP when the Chamber has so many other important performers? Perhaps a single word addition in her title will answer this. Assume she earned the new title of “Director of Bad First Impression.” How much additional work must be done as a result of that title? How much business could be lost? Having been there, experienced that, I know the price of mediocrity.

Yet, here’s the irony. Most receptionist positions are entry level, relatively modest paying positions. Most good or excellent receptionists aspire to move to another position. Only in a few organizations does the position result from a promotion. Yet companies spend great resources and pay relatively more for employees charged with customer relations. How about recognition? Check your employee of the month for past few years and see how many receptionists are on the plaque.

In the sports world, think of the football center. Before any play can be made by the quarterback or kicker, the center has to do his job. Not as many centers as quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame either. But I bet you can remember a game where a bad snap cost your team the game.

We all give credence to first impression theory. I hope you apply it with your Odetta Stutts as well as Bob Chappelle does. Thanks for making my day, Odetta, and yes, I did join after meeting you.

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