Ari on Business

Natural Law #5: If you want the staff to give great service to customers, the leaders have to give great service to the staff

This rule is less obvious and probably less widely accepted than some of the others. But it’s every bit as important. It’s one of the key tenets of Servant Leadership, which is the core of our leadership philosophy here at Zingerman’s. (We learned it from Robert Greenleaf’s excellent book, Servant Leadership.) Here’s the deal: the service that the staff gives to customers is never going to be better than the service that we as leaders provide to the staff. The tone comes from the top; although exceptional service providers may occasionally crop up on their own, they’ll always be the exception. The rest is up to us.

It’s pretty easy to determine how well you’re doing on this point: I can tell with a very high degree of accuracy how the leaders of one of our businesses or departments are treating their staff simply by watching the way the staff wait on customers.

Twelve Natural Laws of Business:
There are organizational principles that consistently work and, in the big scheme of things, follow a natural order. We call these “Natural Laws of Business.” Our experience here is that the natural laws are applicable for any business regardless of size, scale, age or product offering. Exceptions exist, but I’ll say up front I wouldn’t recommend expending much energy trying to prove these rules to be wrong.