Putting the Service-Profit Chain to Work (9)

Leadership Underlies the Chain’s Success

Leaders who understand the service-profit chain develop and maintain a corporate culture centered around service to customers and fellow employees. They display a willingness and ability to listen. Successful CEOs like John Martin of Taco Bell, John McCoy of Banc One, Herb Kelleher of Southwest, and Bill Pollard of ServiceMaster spend a great deal of time with customers and employees, experiencing their companies’ service processes while listening to employees for suggestions for improvement. They care about their employees and spend a great deal of time selecting, tracking, and recognizing them.

For example, Brigadier General Robert McDermott, until recently chairman and CEO of USAA, reflected, “Public recognition of outstanding employees flows naturally from our corporate culture. That culture is talked about all the time, and we live it.” According to Scott Cook at Intuit, “Most people take culture as a given. It is around you, the thinking goes, and you can’t do anything about it. However, when you run a company, you have the opportunity to determine the culture. I find that when you champion the most noble values—including service, analysis, and database decision making—employees rise to the challenge, and you forever change their lives.”


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