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Enterprise Loyalty Achieved Through Servant Leadership

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Enterprise Loyalty Achieved Through Servant Leadership
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There’s a lot of talk about Enterprise Loyalty these days. To me, the concept is not new – it’s the core of the famous book written by Fred Reichheld, The Loyalty Effect. Interestingly, our industry chose to adopt the product specific view of loyalty and has deferred adoption of the overall concept until now.

The change to focus on Enterprise Loyalty, in my opinion, is nearly defensive in nature and due to two key factors:

  • The availability of information online to consumers & the resulting transparency of brand conversations
  • The growing percentage of consumers who choose to live in a digitally connected, always-on world

I’ve always believed that creating overall brand loyalty has to involve more than a currency based value proposition to drive results for one product or another. Executive level support and a sincere commitment to improving the quality of product and service delivery is the foundation upon which a brand can execute. I’ve worked with several organizations which bring that attitude to work and it is not only a pleasure, but leads to improved results.

On a personal level, the core of enterprise loyalty begins with servant leadership. You might flinch as you read that term, but don’t be afraid. Servant leadership is about living by solid principles, “saying what you mean and meaning what you say”, and remaining humble and teachable. The concept bears some explanation and one key point that always causes angst is the aspect of humility.

Never confuse humility with being a door-mat. On the contrary, humility allows you to absorb the best of those around you and to energize your own work as a result. The best athletes you can coach and the best teammates you will ever have are the teachable ones.  It’s the same in business.

Breaking this down to our daily work habits, if I am continually late for meetings, reschedule conference calls at the last minute, miss deadlines, and “mail in” deliverables, I’m not leading through service. Sure, things come up, but reliability should be prevail over a scattered approach to business.

A servant leader dedicates time to think about what the client or customer really needs and is constantly thinking of how he/she can help the client reach objectives. Given the fast pace of business today, we have to resist the temptation to bang out another PowerPoint presentation and focus instead on the substance of our recommendations.

Enterprise loyalty is supposed to include suppliers, shareholders, and associates as well as customers. As suppliers, we need to check our servant leadership compass and make sure we stay on course.

My favorite questions to challenge myself include:

  • How can I add value to the next meeting?
  • Will my next call/meeting leave people thinking it was time well spent?
  • Does a client want to work with me again?
  • Will they recommend me heartily to another client?

What’s on your list as you start another work week?

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