Every single person on the planet is rewarded for one thing and one thing only and that is serving other people. When you enjoy what you do, you will work hard to become excellent at it. When you are excellent at what you do, you will serve others better by doing it well. The more you serve others well, the higher your reward. In our business, you are rewarded for serving our guest. Serving others well is the best known way to LEAD!
You’ve probably heard the term Servant Leadership. That phrase was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay he first published in 1970. In the essay, Greenleaf says: “The servant-leader is servant first….It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That person is sharply different from one who is leader first, perhaps because of the need to assuage an unusual power drive…..the difference manifests itself in the care taken by the leader to make sure that other peoples’ needs are the priority needs being served.
The best example of a servant leader was a man named Jesus. “Here is a man who was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman. He worked in a carpenter shop until He was thirty. Then for three years He was an itinerant preacher.
He never owned a home. He never wrote a book. He never held an office. He never had a family. He never went to college. He never traveled two hundred miles from the place He was born. He never did one of the things that usually accompany greatness. He had no credentials but Himself…
Nineteen long centuries have come and gone, and today He is a centerpiece of the human race and leader of the column of progress. I am far within the mark when I say that all the armies that ever marched, all the navies that were ever built; all the parliaments that ever sat and all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man upon this earth as powerfully as has that one solitary life. He was a servant leader” – James Allan Francis
All too often our approach towards our work life is self serving. We verbalize things like: “I deserve a raise”, “I want a different title”, “I am under-appreciated”, “I have worked here X amount of time and they owe me a promotion”, “I know more and work harder than…..”, “I, I, I”. Really? Do you hear yourself? Do you understand that it is not about you? The true leader, the best employee, the honorable person always makes it about others. When something isn’t provided to the H5H office in a timely manner or our restaurant teams fail to meet the expectation of a particular department (accounting, human resources, marketing), we should be reaching out to the managers to see what we can do to help make them successful, not bashing them in front of others. Conversely, when the H5H office needs something provided so that they can conduct business in a timely manner, we should provide it quickly rather than grumble about how busy we are. Each employee, each manager and every office person is an expense to our organization. The guest is revenue. The sooner we come to grips with those facts and begin to serve, the sooner results change and others around you begin to excel.
“The more you help others, the faster you will get results.” — Catherine Gordon
Do you serve others well? Are you setting the next person up for success? Do you role model the behaviors, attitudes and speech that you expect from others? What are you willing to do that the average manager is not willing to do?
Then there is Guest Service. Guest Service is a topic that is beaten to death worldwide on a daily basis and yet nothing seems to work. The guest service that you and I get, observe and hear about is still poor. Let’s make this clear: Great Guest service is not that hard. In fact, it is so simple that it’s embarrassing that we need to talk about it.
This is all it takes: Do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it and the way you said you were going to do it. That’s it…oh yeah, and be nice about it. Now that’s it! If you make a promise, keep it. If you give your word, don’t go back on it. If you say you are going to be there, be there – and be there when you said you were going to be there. If you mess up, admit it and accept the consequences. And if someone is giving you money for a product or service, at least be a little grateful and friendly to them. For example, last week, we had a guest comment about Darrell Willingham, a server from our BWW Bear location. They said, “He was Chick-Fil-A nice”.
It is critical, if we intend to be the best, to embrace the concept of serving others well. It will set our organization apart from the mediocrity that we see around us. Be the first. Don’t wait until tomorrow. Start today. It’s simply what we need to do to LEAD THE WAY!
H5H ACTION STEPS: (think outward)
- Nobody can prevent you from being exceptional – At the end of the day, the only question that matters is, What kind of difference did you make in someone’s life today?
- Do the right thing for the right reason – If you expect praise and recognition, it will seldom come. I really don’t know why, but life has demonstrated repeatedly that if your motive for doing something is to receive thanks or praise, you’ll often be disappointed. Do it to serve others.
- Practice random acts of kindness – Hold the door for someone, pick up loose garbage. Pay for the stranger’s coffee behind you in line. You will feel better about yourself.
- Reinvent yourself regularly – No matter what happened yesterday, today is a new day. Let yesterday go. Learn from yesterday, prepare for tomorrow, serve others today
- Understand the ripple effect – Is it possible that you are making significant impressions on others and you don’t even know it? We need to be conscious not only of the primary effects of the things we do but the secondary consequences, which are the ripple effect that touches far more people than those in our immediate presence. You just never know who’s watching and listening.