Management Articles


A Customer Culture is Built on a Service Ethic

By: Jim Clemmer

Jim Clemmer is an international keynote speaker, workshop leader, author, and president of The CLEMMER Group, a North American network of organization, team, and personal improvement consultants based in Kitchener, Ontario, Canada. His other bestsellers include Firing on All Cylinders: The Service/Quality System for High-Powered Corporate Performance, and his most recent book, Growing the Distance: Timeless Principles for Personal, Career, and Family Success. His web site is

"Rank is an appointed position. Authority is an earned condition. Rank is decreed from above. Authority is conferred from below. Authority vanishes the moment those who bestow it stop believing, respecting, or trusting their appointed boss, though they may defer out of fear."
    Ted Levitt, Thinking About Management
There are many reasons that teams and organizations haven't developed a culture of intense focus on their customers and partners. Some are management issues they don't have the right tools and techniques or they haven't established disciplined listening and response systems and processes. In these cases, managers don't know how to become more customer and partner-focused. They don't have the way.

But the root cause of poor or just mediocre customer service goes deeper. It has to do with will. Most managers don't focus on their customers and internal/external partners because they're too busy managing. They've become Technomanagers focused first on technology and management systems.

Technomanagers don't want to serve, they want to control. They lord over and boss people. Technomanagers act as if (their words may say something very different) people (customers, partners, and everyone in their organization) serve their technology and management systems.

Psychologist and Forbes columnist, Srully Blotnick, spent twenty-seven years following the lives of 6,981 men. In his book, Ambitious Men: Their Drives, Dreams, and Delusions, he writes, "It's difficult to say to someone, 'I am your humble servant,' and in the next breath hit them with, 'but I am also your social superior'... 45 percent of all the ambitious and talented men we studied who failed did so because of difficulties directly connected with the simultaneous pursuit of these two goals."

Effective leaders know that without disciplined management systems and leading edge technologies, outstanding service is nothing but a dream. But they act on a belief system that management systems and technology exist to serve people. This is an extension of the effective leader's personal purpose built around the key service principle that success comes through serving others.

Servant Leadership
"I don't know what your destiny will be, but one thing I know; the only ones among you who will be really happy are those who will have sought and found how to serve."
Albert Schweitzer

Other Articles by Jim Clemmer

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. ManagerWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. ManagerWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


Place "+" (without the quotes) in front of words that must appear; "-" to exclude articles with certain words; and put double quotes around phrases. For example, fantastic search will find all case studies with either the word "fantastic" or "search" (or both). On the other hand, +fantastic +search will find only case studies with the words "fantastic" and "search". "fantastic search" will find only case studies that with the phrase "fantastic search". Note: Searches will not find words, such as 'management', that appear in more than half of the articles or words less than five letters long.


Would you like us to consider your own articles for publication? Please review our submission and editorial guidelines by clicking here.