To build a culture of service to others, focus on personalization.

Anyone who has ever volunteered with teens on soup lines will know exactly what I mean.

One type of teen will show up on time and do everything asked of them, but do very little to engage patrons they are “serving.” They’re “checking the box” on their service requirement.

There is another type of teen who engages with the patrons, asks about their individual preferences, and greets repeat patrons by name.

Both are “doing service.” But only the second one is being “of service.”

And, they are “of service” because of the way they personalize.

A lot of CEOs and COOs right now are making service to others a core company value. It may also be called servant leadership or leading by giving or empathy for others.

These are great goals, but will only truly lead to service to others if CEOs and COOs also create an expectation for personalization.

Personalization means that a primary goal for any interaction is to understand the other person’s needs and wants.

You will know your team is personalizing when you hear them say things like: 

☑ “I heard you say…” 

☑ “My understanding of your need is…”

☑ “My takeaway from what you said is…”

This type of personalization is a simple but powerful behavior.

It means I asked, I listened, and I demonstrated care for you as an individual.

CEOs and company leaders need to both model this type of personalization and expect it from their teams.  

Whether external conversations with customers or internal conversations with team members, any conversation elevates when a focus on personalization helps us be of service to others.