When Were You Last Served?
I know what you might be thinking but no, I do not mean that in the legal sense! I also don’t mean to ask when you were last provided a service. When one provides service to others, they provide a level of treatment that the customer or consumer expects going into the interaction or transaction. Rather, when was the last time that someone served you, elevating you to a better spot than the one you had previously been in?
To me, serving others dates back to my days in hospitality. As I look back on my history in professional services and the subsequent founding of LABUR, it is not a coincidence that both myself and my dear friend and co-founder, Seth Burr, came from an upbringing in that particular industry.
If you go to our website, yes, we speak of leaving our customers in a better state than when we arrived. That is true, but ultimately that “better state” is often at the case study level – the grand crescendo of months of hard work by all involved to provide an incredible strategy or successful implementation. To me, and hopefully to my fellow LABURers, serving others starts well before the case study. It starts with the simple act of listening to the concerns and needs of others. Whether we speak with a highly motived candidate in transition and in need of that next big challenge, or a technology leader who has a project in trouble or more work than people and no budget to change that, we serve through listening.
I am grateful for the book, “Start with the Why”, and the person who brought it to me and our leadership team, Nick Regan. It reminded me that our “What” – the explanation of what we do that we began with and spent so much time on when founding LABUR – is the byproduct of our “Why”. Our “How” – the disciplined vetting process we have worked decades on, involving a deep dive into both IQ and EQ –propels us to make good on our “What”. But it all began with the “Why”: serve others, surprise them, elevate them, leave them in a better spot than before the interaction in which you truly served them, transaction need not be important.
Now, in my twenty-third year of serving others, my days mostly consist of serving those I lead with encouragement and by challenging the status quo. I remind myself on a regular basis that “service” to those I lead would be showing up, checking their work, helping them remediate issues or risks, and wishing them a delightful evening. “Serving” those I lead means keeping our “Why” in front of them, pointing out the game-changing moments of fulfillment, most often not accompanied by a transaction. It’s reminding them that they touched a life and left that life in a better, brighter spot.
After all, what pulled me through those grueling double shifts as a restaurant worker was not the big tip or the shift drink with colleagues after the fire fight, but rather that one table that was clearly enriched by my company and because I took the time to smile and listen. I truly served them.