Hanuman spoke to Ram, in the Ramayana: "When I don't know who I am, I serve you. When I know who I am, you and I are one."
You believe in your cause. Success feels within reach. Your team will make your cause irresistible through great service and great selling. Right? Silicon Valley venture capitalist Guy Kawasaki speaks of enchanting our customers. As a leader, you have to ask: Who are my customers? Who should I enchant? How do I serve?
Great leaders serve the people in their teams. Etymologically, service implies a surrender to needs beyond ourselves. It expects little in return. People were serving each other in the context of food and nourishment long before the word became linked to commerce. “May I serve you,” we ask dinner guests. Great leaders give themselves to the needs of their team, with humbleness and respect. Service is about nourishing relationships.
Great leaders understand that their most loyal customers are the people in their teams. The origin of the word customer traces back to the Latin word consuetudinem, conveying a “becoming used to,” “coming from habit and usage.” The word invokes regularity, repetition, comfort. Your entire company is filled with such customers - anyone who at any time is dependent on the service of anyone else within the company. Customers are those who are habitually with us, at ease.
Enchantment occurs when through the magic of song we create a sense of wonder. People in relationship to one another can learn to sing to one another. Great leaders set the tone. We can model how everyone can serve each other well. When everyone learns how to give each other support, nourishment, kindness, and respect, we all function better. We build trust through collaboration and understanding, through generosity, sharing, and transparency. Great leaders encourage internal service wholeheartedly. Service is human. It fosters connection.
In-house enchantment is your gateway to success. Duane Cummings of Leadercast calls himself a CEO in that he is Constantly Elevating Others. So beautiful a term. This is the only way your cause can do its magic in the wider world. A product shifts from mediocre to great when co-workers are attuned to each other’s needs. It is very practical. It is a choice. When someone has IT problems and I understand IT, I can choose to set aside my own priorities and help. I can choose to share information to empower others. I can choose to model the selflessness of service.
Enchantment through all-out in-house “customer service” creates morale, productivity, loyalty, and, yes, profitability. Clear, kind communication and mutual helpfulness contribute to the happiness of everyone. It sparkles through in voices, words, actions. When within our workplaces we feel valued and appreciated, our market "out there" will know. Our cause is enchanted.
So how will you serve?
Try perspective. What is it like to have one of your team members' jobs? Can you or your employees switch roles for a day, or consciously observe all that others take care of? Can we appreciate the little things that we take easily for granted?
How about cultivating trust through helpfulness and compassion for everyone, including your most newly hired folks or those on the sidelines keeping infrastructures clean or up and running? Can we encourage clear, transparent, truthful and kind communications, face-to-face? Can we create a culture where we express needs to others with ease? Dare we ask, “What specifically do you need more of from me so you can do your job even better?” Or, “What hurts you in your work? What delights you?”
Can I express gratitude? Can I say thank you for all the big and small support I receive so I can be a leader? Dare we show up and connect? Can we treat everybody with dignity? Can we know we are one? Then we can send off our causes into the world, with magic.
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With gratitude, sophia