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      Leading a Culture Change

Creating a culture of Service Excellence doesn’t happen by taking a pill, dictating it, or waving a magic wand. Creating a culture of Service Excellence requires leadership involvement from the moment the stake is put in the ground that this is the direction the organization is going to take. Creating the culture is the beginning, sustaining the culture is on-going and forever. To be successful, senior leadership must ensure they are walking the talk as they are exhibiting these four attributes:

Determination
Persistence
Patience
Commitment

Determination is when senior leadership announces that Service Excellence will become a part of how every employee does his job. Every job position will be held accountable to delivering service excellence to her customer, internal or external. A Service Excellence Team will be formed to develop, educate, and implement service excellence throughout all departments. The chairperson of the Service Excellence Team will report directly to the CEO on the progress of the implementation. A budget and resources will be allocated.

Persistence is how senior leadership must respond when challenged by individuals or departments who don’t want to participate or who don’t feel Service Excellence applies to their job areas. Listening to the concerns brought up by the naysayers or challengers is important to show that leadership hears the concerns, but ultimately, everyone must participate. Insistence and a steadfastness in the pursuit of the vision of the organization that consistently delivers excellent service from all facets of its operation must be paramount in this phase.

Patience must be demonstrated when change doesn’t seem to be happening as fast as hoped. Service excellence is not about just changing procedures, but changing mindsets and the way people think. Patience is needed by senior leadership when people fall down in the delivery of great customer service. Inevitably, it will happen and mistakes will come up that could make it easy for leadership to quit the pursuit and let the Service Excellence process fade away. But these are the moments that can become “teaching moments” to show  how serious senior leadership is in the devotion to make this a part of the fabric of how this organization works. The patience in allowing these mistakes to happen reduces the fear of challenging the status quo to improve the current way of delivering service. However, the same mistakes should not be allowed to happen twice.

Commitment is what senior leadership must do to remove obstacles that get in the way of delivering excellent service. These could be processes that are so entrenched that some employees stubbornly want to hold on to the “way things have always been done” or they could be processes that some employees feel they own and use as a means of power and control over others. Additional obstacles could be the continuance of naysayers who have become a toxic negativity to the forward movement of service excellence and at some point, they must be removed from the organization.

Senior leadership must be ready to model the above four attributes if they truly want to engrain service excellence into the DNA of the organization. It is a journey, but with determination, persistence, patience, and commitment, Service Excellence can become a way of life for any organization.

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