Genuine, authentic and transparent are the traits consistently used to describe exceptional leaders. Yet making these traits a part of your daily life is not so easy to make happen. Let’s take a look at transparency. Why is it so difficult to be transparent? The main reason is that you have to hold yourself accountable for your actions. We judge ourselves based on our intent. Most of us have really good intentions. I personally don’t know of anyone who gets up in the morning and tells himself or herself they are going to go out and just stink it up for the day. Sometimes they get to work and step in it big time and create quite the stink, but not intentionally.
So we all have good intentions but that isn’t enough, because others judge us based on our actions. It is our actions, which determine the impact we have on others. To be transparent we have to ensure our actions line up with our intent so we have the impact we want on our customers, employees, vendors, family and friends. If our actions routinely don’t line up with our intent we can be seen as hypocritical. Not a good word to be used to describe you if you are working on becoming an exceptional leader. Thanks for coming along.
What are you trying to create?
A doctor wanted to transform his business into a patient-valued medical practice. In his staff meeting one day, he introduced this concept and the vision he had of creating this exquisite patient-valued center. He kept referring to patients being treated the same way customers are treated at the legendary Four Season’s Hotels. This hotel chain redefined luxury as service for the customer.
For the first couple of staff meetings the doctor kept talking about the service-oriented management of the Four Seasons until one lady on his staff raised her hand.
“We were talking amongst ourselves and none of us have ever experienced a Four Season hotel type of service. We really don’t know what you are referring to in regards to that type of service.”
The doctor decided a field trip would be appropriate so he could share his vision with them. He felt a comparison would be the best way to show the difference in service.
First he took the staff to a gourmet hamburger joint where they had really good hamburgers served on picnic tables covered with paper tablecloths and paper napkins. Everyone loved the great hamburgers.
The next week they went to the Four Season’s restaurant for hamburgers served on white cloth tablecloths, white cloth napkins and service with an attention to the details.
The doctor then asked the group the following week,
“We went and had hamburgers at two different restaurants. Both served good hamburgers. Did you notice a difference? “
The staff finally understood what it meant to provide value added service to your customers.
When you share your vision make sure that those coming along for the journey understand and can visualize what the end result will look like for them. It’s not only enough to ensure they know what it looks like but they should be able to touch it, feel it, taste it, squeeze it or whatever it takes to make it tangible for them.
As in the example of the staff at the doctor’s office, they now understand what the impact of a smile will do for customer satisfaction and service. More importantly they understand what the lack of a smile can mean. Once they understand the vision then they can get enthused, can be supportive and prepare for the journey.