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their vision quests as young boys. The consistent report was one of exhilaration and joy. “It was the purest moment of my life,” said one Sioux chief. Another described it as “a blend of the terror of the unknown followed by the ecstasy of knowing whom you were and why you were here.” How do service leaders foster perpetual vision quests? It starts with having a compelling vision that excites, challenges, and points to a noble aspiration. Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company’s mission: “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen” describes the pursuit of a guest relationship as near-perfect as a Rolls Royce. It invites associates to always be their best and summon their guests to follow suit. It also leads them to treat each other with the same care and respect they treat their guests. Visions are not like strategic plans lined with the practicality of results-oriented metrics. Visions are aspirational attractions that elevate, embolden and encourage. They are about spirit, not about arithmetic. And, they are tools for “endurement.” When Arie de Geus studied companies that had lasted more than 200 years (reported in his book The Living Company), one feature he found common was a values-centered vision that served as their North Star, guiding them to greatness and sustainability. Visions are the corporate version of Robert Browning’s famous line: “Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what’s a heaven for?” Video Turn Stonecutting into Cathedral-building The well-worn story of the two stonecutters paints a sharp contrast between the completion of a task and the pursuit of a purpose. When the first stonecutter is asked what he is doing, he curtly responds, “I’m hammering this stupid rock, and can’t wait until the end of the day so I can go home!” The second stonecutter exhibited a very different perspective to same question. He smiled, gazed upward and proudly stated, “I’m building a cathedral that will be admired for centuries.” Part of the leadership challenge is not just about getting employees to do their assigned duties; it is about inspiring them to embrace the deeper purpose of their undertakings. When a friend of ours is asked about his job—he’s a trainer—he always says, “I train human race horses to win championships.” When a dentist friend is asked about her occupation, she characterizes her responsibilities as “a creator of smiles.” Research undergirds the premise a life well lived is one exemplified by purpose; ramifications significant at the individual and corporate level. Many studies suggest people who live with a strong sense of purpose have higher energy levels, enjoy more meaningful relationships, and generally live longer than those without a defined purpose. In their wildly popular book Built to Last, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras reveal organizations driven by purpose and values outperform the market an amazing fifteen to one. Remove Barriers to Greatness Empowerment is ensuring employees closest to a problem or need have the authority to make judgments on how a problem is solved or a need met. Empowerment does not mean unlimited license...”just do whatever you need to do...” it means responsible freedom. It means helping employees balance the freedom to go the extra mile for the customer with the responsibility of taking care of the organization. Bottom line, it is helping employees maintain the perspective of an owner. Empowerment is not a gift given to employees by leaders. When leaders ask, “How do I empower my employees?” you get a sense they are thinking of it as a gift. The job of the leader is to release power- -to remove the barriers that keep employees from acting with power. When an airport shoe shiner was asked about his job, he quickly said, “I do not shine shoes. The shine is already in the shoe. I just work with the brush and wax to bring it out.” Like the shoeshiner’s philosopher, unleashed leaders examine the work environment and their own leadership practices to identify barriers getting in the way of responsible freedom. Empowerment is also not a concept simply be delegated into practice. This mindset would be similar to asking a child with no prior financial training to manage your investment portfolio! Employees need to understand what empowerment looks like at a practical level based upon a wide range of circumstances. As a leader, it is important to demonstrate the nuances of empowerment through using role playing of common problem scenarios, celebrating empowerment success stories, and consistently coaching for improvement. According to the official Rolls Royce history, when Henry Royce was designing the first Rolls Royce a colleague suggested he “turn out a reliable car at a low price.” Royce had a different vision—“the best motor car in the world regardless of cost.” Making such a bold, audacious statement is one thing. Actually bringing the vision to fruition is the stuff of unleashed leadership. As the old adage goes: “talk is cheap.” Henry Royce (and his partner Charles Rolls), however, led with such purpose and conviction that the dream became a modern day reality, one not possible without inspiring the fledgling Roll-Royce team to dream big and lead with a spirit of service unleashed! Would your customers say you and your organization have a Roll-Royce spirit? LE Service Leadership Unleashed Jamey Lutz is a customer experience thought leader with more than 20 years of leadership tenure across numerous industries. Prior to joining Forrest Performance Group (FPG) in his current role as human performance strategist, Jamey served in a senior leadership capacity with The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. Visit www.fpg.com Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and author of several bestselling books including his newest book: Sprinkles: Creating Awesome Experiences through Innovative Service. Global Gurus ranked in both in 2014 and 2015 as the #1 keynote speaker in the world on customer service. Visit www.chipbell.com Connect Chip Bell Follow @ChipRBell Would like to Comment? Please Click Here. 18 Submit your Articles Leadership Excellence Essentials presented by HR.com | 09.2016


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