Everyone Plays a Part

All throughout northern California, the big story over the past couple weeks has been the damage to the Oroville dam spillways, which led to the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people over potential flooding concerns. In a short period of time, evacuation centers began popping up around Chico, Paradise, and other towns near the evacuated areas, and the community came together in a very inspiring way to help people in need. On the second day after the evacuation, our office decided to close an hour early so that we could volunteer at one of the shelters and help in any way that we were needed. I had visions in my head of serving meals with a smile on my face and high-fiving kids as they pass by.

Then, a couple hours before our volunteer shift is to begin, we hear the announcement that the evacuation order has been lifted, and the displaced residents are allowed to return home. I am ashamed to admit that my immediate reaction when I heard the announcement was of disappointment that I wasn’t going to have the chance to interact with an evacuee in-person and help to brighten their day. After a few brief moments of self-pity, I kicked myself and remembered that I should be overjoyed that these people were able to return to their homes. There was still plenty of work to be done at the evacuation shelter when we arrived; we spent the majority of our time cleaning up and disinfecting every surface imaginable. Not as “glamorous” as what I originally envisioned but a very necessary duty.

The more I reflect on this experience and the range of emotions that I went through, the more I see parallels to the workplace and business in general. If the evacuation shelters were full of greeters and meal servers but had nobody to clean up and take out the trash, things aren’t going to go very well. Similarly, a CEO or CFO can’t have the reliable accounting data they need to make informed decisions without reliable accounting clerks. Further, customers aren’t likely to keep coming back if you don’t have reliable shipping and warehouse employees fulfilling orders on schedule.

Some jobs may seem thankless, but that doesn’t mean that they are dispensable. Take a minute to think about your employees and/or co-workers. Can you think of any who don’t get much recognition but you shudder to think of what would happen to your business if they left? If so, find a way to let them know that they are appreciated.

+Tim Peters is a consultant with Morrison, providing business valuations, business planning (including budgeting, cash flow forecasting, and strategic planning), feasibility studies, interim controller services, recruitment, competitive grant writing and special projects that don't fit into any conventional category. You can contact Tim directly at tpeters@morrisonco.net or via telephone at 530-893-4764 ext. 208.

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