"The more you give, the more you get," Sam Walton remarked in his autobiography, Made in America. It's true! Jesus said, "Whosoever will be great among you, shall be your minister: And whosoever of you will be the chiefest, shall be servant of all." That's good, practical advice for our everyday business, personal and social lives, as well as for our eternal lives.
Success: Serving in BusinessOur first goal in business endeavors is usually selfish-- putting food on our table and clothes on our backs. For real success, we need to expand our horizons: how can we serve our customers better and give them the products or services they need when they want them and in the way they want them? How can we help our employees, teammates, or co-workers to be more successful working for and with us?
Von Mises notes in Economic Planning that modern business "kings...don't rule at all, they serve." The "King must stay in the good graces of his subjects, the consumers; he loses his 'kingdom' as soon as he is no longer in a position to give his customers better service and provide it at a lower cost than others with whom he must compete." Sam Walton focused on exceeding his customers' expectations. He also focused on what he called "servant leadership." He listened to the lowliest associates because they were the ones who talked with the customers every day. He treated his Walmart workers as a team. In his book, he notes the 10 secrets to his success:
- Commit to your business
- Share your profits with all your associates and treat them as partners
- Motivate your partners
- Communicate everything you possibly can to your partners
- Appreciate everything your associates do for the business
- Celebrate your successes and find humor in your failures. Have fun and show enthusiasm.
- Listen to everyone in your company and figure out ways to make them talk and share their views.
- Exceed your customers' expectations
- Control your expenses better than your competition
- Swim upstream. Go the other way. Ignore conventional wisdom. "If everybody else is doing it one way, there is a good chance you can find your niche by going in exactly the opposite direction. But be prepared for a lot of folks to wave you down and tell you you are headed the wrong way. I guess in all my years, what I heard more often than anything else was: a town of less than 50,000 population cannot support a discount store for very long."
The key to his greatness was serving.
Take a look at your business life. Is there any way you can improve the lives of your customers or co-workers? If so, it could be the key to your success, because the more you give, the more you get.
(Coming next: Success: Serving Others in Your Personal Life)