A recent article I wrote ended by posing the question: “What is in your heart?” This may seem like an odd question to pose in a business article, but I believe that who you are as a person will dictate what kind of business you will build and, ultimately, what kind of legacy you will leave. Everyone knows that customer service matters, yet so many companies both large and small struggle with this very basic starting point. Why? You can’t fake sincerity. True customer service requires a servant’s heart (or attitude). Sure, you can jump through all the hoops of proper customer service etiquette, but if you don’t honestly, from the bottom of your heart, care about your customers, they will never feel valued.
Another prime example is your relationship with your staff. Every manager knows that they need to empower their employees and create a safe environment that fosters creative ideas and innovation. Yet again, many businesses miss the mark on this vital success factor. Despite the well-known fact that empowered employees create better efficiencies, customer experiences, and higher-quality products, most employees are little more than drones. All they can do is follow the strict and thin line of corporate policy no matter what common sense says. Why is this the case? Trust. Trust is something that one has to be willing to give. Trust can’t be learned by theory or gained through statistical knowledge. In order for a manager to empower their employees, they must trust their staff. The problem is that trust is very similar to faith, and our society has little room for faith in their hearts. Without the ability to put your faith (trust) in your employees, the only other option is to micromanage your company to the point where you, your employees, and (most importantly) your customers have no hope of happiness within your organization.
What’s in your heart will always directly affect your business. Joy, optimism, faith, servitude, encouragement…all these things lead to a heart, body, mind, and business ready to take on the challenges and opportunities of the world. On the other hand, fear, regret, distrust, egotism, and selfishness create a very dark organization unable to move forward.
Let’s face it: the last four years have been beyond tough. Our resolve and strength have been tested to its breaking point. Most people would not begrudge you a little self-pity. The world is telling us it is ok to stay safe and pessimistic until the sky gets blue again. Don’t believe this. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the idea that you deserve to be a little selfish, that your distrust is a shield, and that your attitude simply represents the brokenness that you feel. I say this hypocritically because my favorite pastime has recently become wallowing in my woes. But I can tell you nothing good has come of it. My productive moments don’t come in my weakness; they come from my strength. Honestly, they come from having faith in something greater than me. Regardless of where your faith stands, business is a heart thing and if your heart is broken, so is your business. You can’t stand in pieces and expect to be able to lead a strong organization. Yes, the last few years have made us stare directly into the eyes of uncertainty and it has made us vulnerable to the fact that some things are just out of our control. But that is ok. A strong heart may not be able to prevent the storm but it can weather it. We are not responsible for the ruins the storm created, but we are responsible for rebuilding. Now, the question remains, what will your heart allow you to rebuild?