Leaders, How Well Do You Know Those You Serve

Recently the Keurig CEO made news by acknowledging in the face of declining sales that customers did not like the “lock-in” strategy of his new coffee machines. He had tried to use technology to assure that his one-cup-at-a-time brew machine would only work if you used coffee in his specially designed little cups (K-cups). No more freedom to use your own favorite beans.

Well, customers walked away and bought competing brands. (Duh!)

This week, the CEO of McDonalds, the fast food hamburger chain, also in the face of declining sales said that the company would change its grilling process such that it would provide hotter, jucier burgers.

Probably a genius industrial engineer goaded into finding cost-cutting processes changed the process of going from griddle to bun to going from griddle to a bin to a bun. As a result, burgers came out cold (on a relative scale) and dry.

Customers rebelled. They went elsewhere.

Leaders of organizations serve someone. Remember where Jesus said that leaders would be servants? Well, that wasn’t just for his 11 friends. It’s true today. And a leader forgets that at his peril.

Whom do you serve? Who is your customer?

If you are a pastor, do you realize that people want to be taught, not preached at? Do you realize the value of guidance to the point leaders?

If you are leading a team for buildings or missions or youth or whatever, do you know the wants and needs of your customers? Do you think of ways to serve them in ways to help them grow?

In business we talk about providing a product or service that helps someone solve a problem or improve their life. Notice the emphasis on “their”? Our thoughts, vision, effort must be directed outward toward those we serve or hope to serve.

When people become numbers on a spreadsheet, when we are focused inwardly on our costs or comfort zone, then we are in grave danger of failing. 

Then we wake up one day and realize that people have voted with their feet–they’ve left and headed for something or someone who cares about them and their problems.

How well do you know those whom you serve?

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