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ServeIf you want to increase your organization’s performance, add value. This means first seeking to serve others.

I worked with a CEO in Datong, China, who followed this philosophy, and it showed up in his business results. He showed me an upside-down pyramid with his position at the bottom, and his customers at the top. He said it was his responsibility to serve the people who worked for him so they could ultimately serve the customers.

Everyone in the organization understood this philosophy. The managers served the people who worked for them in a way that would support how they served the customers.

The company’s customer service and financial growth was outstanding and renowned in their industry. Competitors would constantly try to hire their employees to try to find out the secret to their success. But it was just that simple.

Starting at the top (or at the bottom, using his pyramid), the entire organization focused on service. The customers loved the company, and the employees loved coming to work every day.

 

Case Study: Executive Leaders Serve Others First

Since she was new to her position, Laurie was especially motivated to improve the performance of her organization. One of her division’s challenges was to improve their customer service results — a key measure of performance in her hospitality company.

I told her about my experience with the CEO in Datong, who was also in the hospitality industry. She was curious about taking an inside-out approach to customer service, starting with management serving the employees who served their customers.

Laurie set up a strategy session with her team to discuss the concept and how they might implement it in her division. They started by mocking up a day in the life of an average customer and mapping all the touchpoints that customer would have with an employee directly or indirectly. From there, they brought together a group of managers across functions to decide what employees at each of those touchpoints would need to be, do and have to provide excellent customer service.

When they put their internal service plan into action, their customer service results were more than double their target in the first few months.

 

EXECUTIVE LEADER ACTION PLAN:

How can you serve and add value to the people who work for you?

How can you create a culture of service in your organization?

 

“Good leaders must first become good servants.”

~ Robert Greenleaf