Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Lead a Life of Service
There is a relationship in life to service. By living a life of service, you are in fact following a path that provides for others. It is a selfless life. Not selfless in the manner of giving everything away (unless you want to). In business, service is how we take care of our customers or clients, how we take care of each other -co-workers, colleagues, peers, leaders, support teams.
Service can be described in the following ways:
• A way to make others happy
• A transaction in exchange for payment, either for a product or experience
• The opportunity to care for others
By taking the description of service and applying it to our companies and our teams, you can begin to form a structure or even parameters to develop a service-oriented value base. By developing a service culture or atmosphere, you will then start relating how the organization operates to the benefit the customer will derive. The golden rule -treat others how you wish to be treated, or treat others how they would like to be treated, certainly lend themselves to a service environment. Understanding that service is for both internal and external customers, the rules still apply.
Should the type of customer influence our level of service? Absolutely not! The goal of a service-driven organization is to build confidence in the company- both internally and externally, and to empower good decision making based on a service philosophy. Internally, team members will make decisions in the best interest of then external customer. Externally, customers will make the decision to purchase your product or service on a regular basis.
Service requires skill. Service requires the ability to communicate, including verbal and written skills, listening skills, ability to empathize, get buy in, commitment to achieve and execute as well as admit mistakes, correct them and move forward.
Service requires patience and the ability to resolve conflicts, the ability to introduce and implement change, the ability to create a vision and build a plan to reach that vision. Service sounds a lot like leadership. In fact, leaders are in the service business.
Service provides confidence, builds relationships and creates opportunities where people can be empowered, develop and grow. Teams understand how to build relationships because of the service model they embody everyday and have a mechanism for making decisions because of the value set that service provides.
Whether you have chosen a life of service or fallen into it, you can begin to see that life and the experiences life brings lends itself well to service of others. Leaders frequently call upon stories, past experiences to teach others lessons that they have learned along the way. Sharing is service. Being available is service. Lending a hand is service. Providing feedback and open, honest communication is service. Service comes from the most authentic part of us. Service does not single out anyone but instead creates an equal footing for all. Do you lead a life of service?