We are in the global marketplace, where the constant challenge is how you do more for less and quicker than you have done before, where customer expectation is fuelled by the power of immediate knowledge gained through the internet.
Our biggest challenge is not just to grow our businesses, but to hold onto the customers we currently have. We must not just meet their expectations or even surpass them. We must understand and meet their unknown future needs to generate demand for our product or service.
It is easier to understand what to change when you are leading the change. Its much more difficult to convince others of the need to change when you are following or catching someone else up, because often, as you draw alongside, they unveil the next new product or offer a more competitive way of delivering a service.
Paternalistically-structured organisations cannot and will not survive. Why? Because the fundamental principles on which they are built no longer exist.
Change takes place at enormous pace, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cL9Wu2kWwSY , driven by technology and our ever-increasing expectation of what is possible. Whether you work in banking or in manufacturing, retail or service provision, public or private sector; what we do and the way we are doing it changes constantly.
Paternalistic organisations make decisions at the top. What they do, when & where they do it, & how they do it…and all theoretically for the benefit of the follower, for the customer who is being told what they can have, when and where they can get it & what they have to do to have it! And it worked for that period in time when both the individual and society both expected and accepted being ‘told’.
In the same way that, as consumers, we recognise we have become empowered; so we also seek empowerment in the workplace. Universally accepted is the understanding that money is only a short-term motivator, what we actually seek is fulfilment, to have purpose, be involved and to belong. Stephen Covey refers to these as “universal principles that have governed, and always will govern, all enduring success, especially those principles that give ‘air’ and ‘life’ and creative power to the human spirit that produces value in markets, organizations, families, and, most significantly, individual’s lives.” http://www.greenleaf.org/whatissl/StephenCovey.html
In order to facilitate that purpose, generate fulfilment; the way in which we lead has to be different and organisations need to be different, they need to be flexible, to be able to not simply react to customers, but to understand them and work with them. To do just that, organisations and leaders within those organisations have to recognise and engage, to trust and empower those that work for them. Coaching, not instructing; facilitating and nurturing, encouraging and developing their people. Servant leadership begins with the true personal motivation to serve others, to have shared goals and to encourage and support self-management. Ask yourself, ‘what else can I do to best support my team to do their job to the best of their ability?’
Servant Leadership is a principle, a value, and one that, when honoured, delivers results and relationships far beyond peoples’ expectations. Those who act as Servant Leaders will achieve disproportionately more and are and will be recognised as doing so for the betterment of the many.