This one singular word has been haunting me for weeks. I've literally stopped in the middle of a workday and presented an entire dissertation to my peers and subordinates on the subject. Service is the lifeblood for everyone in every industry, and it touches on 3 prime topics:
1) personal brand
The espresso was good...
but the service made the trip worth it.
In a world of ever more realized transparency and at the progressive rate that we, as a species, are producing and consuming social media content your personal brand is becoming more and more valuable. There used to be a time when an individual could go to work, shlub out a solid 7 1/2 hours with a half hour lunch break, and be considered a model employee. On the other side of that same token, this individual could go home and be entirely reckless in ways that could destroy their public persona and perception while remaining entirely private. This scenario is becoming less and less viable with the ever increasing amount of interaction and content we put into the digital world. This perception as well as how you present yourself become your personal brand.
That being said, your personal brand is the conglomerated presentation of your work ethic and ultimately your value to the, "tribe." This indirectly compensated perception of value is just as important and valuable as "cash in hand," and is directly tied to how you serve others in WHICHEVER industry you perform in (yes, all the world is a stage, until you close the blinds ;-) ). When you decide to give shit service, it has ever-reaching effects. Primarily it will give others (stakeholders) the perception of laziness, apathy, carelessness which extends to the organization that employs you or, that in which you operate. This perception will negatively impact your personal brand for a very long time (oddly, the timing of this article coincides with the Weinstein epidemic, trust that it was unintentional but does solidify this argument).
This does not mean that we discount forgiveness and the ability to rehabilitate and rebound. I pose this: why invest in recovery when you can invest in love, care and effort on the first go; the bedrock of service. Treat your personal brand as you would a mentor, with respect, dignity and love.
2) entrepreneurial spirit
Some of the best employees I've had, leaders I've interacted with or business owners I've met have this. By entrepreneurial spirit, I'm not relating to the desire for cashflow, profit or increased margin. Although that can be part of it, the biggest perspective of entrepreneurial spirit is the desire to solve a problem and create a change. It is dying. Entrepreneurial spirit must be displayed at every level.
New employee? Display and embody entrepreneurial spirit. First line supervisor? You should've been complimented on your entrepreneurial spirit by now. Mid-level manager? You're well versed in what entrepreneurial spirit. Junior/Senior/Vice/Executive? Your entrepreneurial spirit and desire to serve others, TO INCLUDE (primarily) your subordinates has been the intangible in which your success has been built. As we (stakeholders included) build this brand and company, service through the entrepreneurial spirit is required key performance indicator, for which there is no room for lacking.
When we serve, we serve internally and externally. Inside the company (internal clients and agents) and outside the company (guests and clients). Business to business and business to consumer. As an individual within an organization and at every level, you are constantly serving, solving problems on the fly and creating change around the perspective that it will make the organization a better place to work and be. For those of you reading this thinking, "yea, but my boss...blah blah blah." I get it. Sometimes our boss or supervisory leadership doesn't have our back when it comes to change. This is when we must be the, "duck in the rain" and let that type of shade and negativity flow off of your back. Apply some tact and be the change you wish to see in the company. I promise you, if you find yourself in a service predicament and you positively impact the client and company while breaking (said, bending) the rules, the head honcho will have your back...I'll write about delineated leadership and subordinated empowerment within the business structure soon ;).
3) self actualization
And finally, an often overlooked topic; self actualization. "Know yourself, seek self improvement" is a tried and true leadership trait that is instilled at every level of leadership within the confines of the United States Marine Corps. It was developed and applied to bring about self-actualization. When we know what are good at, we can leverage our strengths to apply them in a very diverse situations. This tactic also gives light to the leaders downfalls, affording the opportunity to advance their weakness and to become a more balanced leader.
As conscientious service providing people self actualization becomes a powerful tool affording us the opportunity to advance and be cognizant of our performance. Part of knowing yourself is breaking through to different levels of awareness. to do so, one must consistently put themselves in situations that they have never been in. not only does this give the leader or service minded individual an opportunity to observe how they react, but also how to analyze and adjust to operating effectively in this new activity. In my experience it is evident that the best leaders can operate and function with poise and finesse because they've pushed growth into regons recently unexplored. This being said, prepare yourself by consciously placing yourself in diverse situations.
It feels right. Good service as rendered by top performers just feels right. Genuine concern for your client and your option to serve them at a higher level than anyone else, just feels good. If you have an opportunity to to work with someone, or know someone who provides service to the best of their ability at the highest level observe and ask them. Ask them why they do it. Notice their passion when they reaffirm that it feels good, on an emotional level. It is the same high that one gets when volunteering or giving (willingly) to charity. Do it long enough and it becomes natural. Influence others, and you start a trend. Let the trend catch fire, and before you even realize it you will have changed the landscape of service in your industry. Create a better place to live, work and function, today.