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    Join us on episode #2 of Love in Action as we unpack the true meaning of customer service and servant leadership with legendary management and leadership expert, Ken Blanchard: consultant, speaker, Chief Spiritual Officer and Co-Founder of The Ken Blanchard Companies, and author of many classics, including The One Minute Manager.

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    Creating raving fans

    Ken shares his three secrets to creating raving fans from a customer service-facing role:

    (1) Decide what experience you want your customers to have.

    (2) Listen to your customers to discover what else might make them happy.

    (3) Deliver.

    He shares two stories: that of Johnny the grocery bagger who proves anybody can make a difference in their customers’ lives, and another illustrating the significant difference between ducks and eagles.

    Servant leadership

    There are two parts to servant leadership. The leadership part is about vision, direction, values, and goals, because leadership is about going somewhere else, and the responsibility of that goes with the hierarchy. The servant part is more philosophical. Turn the pyramid upside down: you work for your people, who work for their people, who eventually work for your customers. It’s not about you, it’s about them.

    When you serve first and lead second, people feel empowered and important, and they will go out of their way to take care of your customers. Or: “Profit is the applause you get for creating a motivating environment for your people.” You want your people to win, and Ken tells the story of how he started doing this as a college professor by giving his students the final exam questionnaire on the first day of class.

    Love in action

    Wander around and see if you can catch people doing things right, and praise them and encourage them for it. Listen more than you speak. Ask more than you tell.

    And should anyone question whether this approach is too soft, Ken is writing a new book that asks, why isn’t common sense common practice? If you create an environment where you’re cheering your people on, they’re going to cheer your customers on, and it works. Hence the working title to a new book to be released: “Duh.”

    Leading with love instead of fear

    The biggest addiction you see in organizations is the human ego, and there are two ways ego usually gets in the way: (1) false pride and thinking you’re smarter than everyone else, and (2) self-doubt because when you’re doubtful and fearful, you’re focusing on yourself.

    CS Lewis said it well years ago: “True humility is not thinking less of yourself; it is thinking of yourself less.”

    People admire your skills, but they love your vulnerability. It’s okay not to have all the answers. And if you need their help — asking for it and giving them a chance to contribute is extremely empowering.

    Final thoughts

    Don’t you act like you’re better than anyone else. But don’t you let anyone else act like they’re better than you. God didn’t make any junk.


    The most fun in life is when you’re confused about the difference between work and play.


    Ken Blanchard Books (website)

    The One Minute Manager

    The Simple Truths of Service: Inspired by Johnny the Bagger

    Ken Blanchard on Twitter


    About Marcel Schwantes

    Marcel Schwantes is the founder and chief human officer of Leadership from the Core, a global leadership training and executive coaching boutique aimed at developing great leaders and great cultures through Servant Leadership.

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