Sunday, May 4, 2008

Three Key Practices

During Dr. Kent M. Keith's interview with CSI Season 2, he outlined three key practices gleaned from understanding servant leadership that can help us better serve our clients. These practices are worth highlighting:
  1. "One key practice of servant leadership is comprehensive listening—gathering a wide range of in-depth information about customers or clients to make sure the organization understands what people need. It is hard to meet people’s needs if you don’t know what those needs are!
  2. "Another practice is changing the traditional hierarchical pyramid, so that the chief at the top is not isolated but is part of a team, and people in the organization look out at the customer as well as looking up at their bosses.
  3. Servant-leaders also pay attention to developing their colleagues, coaching instead of controlling, and unleashing the energy and potential of others. They know that when you take care of your colleagues, they will be able to take care of your customers. These and other practices make it possible to provide superlative service to customers and clients.
For more information on servant leadership, visit The Greenleaf Center for Servant Leadership.


  1. Leo,
    Great thinking, as always.
    One thought, concerning Dr. Kieth's second key practice "changing the traditional hierarchical pyramid, so that the chief at the top is not isolated but is part of a team".
    Just how might an organization go about doing this, given the likelihood that the chief might not want to be just part of the team anymore... but actually like being at the top?

  2. Great question. What comes to mind is the answer Technorati founder and CEO gave during his CSI interview. First, he talked in terms of his commmitment to "Be of Service." Then he explained this simple practice: "We have a tradition at Technorati that is called the daily Stand-up. Every day at 10 a.m. people from across the company gather around a table for a few minutes to discuss what is required to be of service that day. It’s a way to constantly check-in with our co-workers about the agreements we make to one another and all those we serve, and to keep us honest and focused. We also have weekly reports from the folks who provide our free technical support about how we’re performing on that front, which are given at our weekly all-hands staff meeting, and we make it a habit to include that in our development schedule. I emphasize that while we have folks at the company dedicated to support, it’s the job every person at Technorati to provide assistance to all those we seek to serve."

    I think it's a great example of a disciplined approach that keeps the leader part of the team, as Dr. Keith suggested, while keeping his/her finger on the pulse of employees and clients alike.



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