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Setting and reaching goals that matter

Humble heroism or “Adaptation 101?”

Humble heroism or “Adaptation 101?”

Legendary Service: The Key is to Care by Ken Blanchard et al. 161 pages. McGraw-Hill 2014.

The idea is simple enough although there is often an undertow of resistance from accounting and the executive suite. Look after your customers and all your other people. Loyalty will follow delivering growing, reliable returns. For many in business, or government for that matter, the formula just does not compute. Motivation to buy is complex, but everyone wants to be respected and valued beyond the immediate transaction.

Co-authors Ken Blanchard, Kathy Cuff and Vicki Halsey outline the new math of Legendary Service by telling the story of one young employee completing her business degree and working in a hardware store. It’s a plausible narrative that interweaves the gist of her lectures with opportunities on the job to illustrate their key points.

Throughout the chapters text boxes with pull quotes inside appear every few pages to drive home the message. The excerpts are a bit wordy and too prosaic for needlepoint samplers, but they serve roughly the same purpose in the context of this pithy little primer on delivering the best level of service.

So why don’t we get that kind of quality every time we come up to bat? Well it probably begins with the zero sum thinking mentioned above. Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop there. Calculated dealing is a recipe for disengagement all down the line. Furthermore, as the subtitle reminds us, Neither you nor your colleagues will be able to fake it for long.

How did we wind up like this? Was there once a golden age of great service now drowned in a sea of corporate greed? The authors do not get into that nor need they. The book is more about a nostalgia for the future. After all, attending and responding to the emotional nuances of the person in front of you is not something easily replaced by an algorithm.

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