Let’s state the obvious: To deliver great service, you first must understand how a business runs—becoming one with it.
A service provider has to know the ins and outs of a client’s operations, from customers to processes to lifecycles. By definition, responsive service has to be fluid—in thought and action.
That means being insightful, with the ability to listen and learn the business. It also requires flexibility to respond to whatever the business needs, with ready capabilities in hand to adapt and achieve.
It brings to mind something that martial arts legend Bruce Lee once said:
“Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless—like water. Now you put water into a cup, it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle, it becomes the bottle, you put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”
I’m reminded of this while looking at a series of photos in my office, which show my family running the rapids in a rubber raft on the Nantahala River in North Carolina.
There weren’t enough river guides, so I volunteered to navigate, with all of us equipped with life vests, helmets and brave hearts.
If you look closely at the photo, you can see a range of emotions in the faces of my wife, Kim, and our sons, Nick and Jack, as we shot the rapids.
“Flow or crash,” as Lee would say. Right?
To succeed, heck to survive, we became the water. Thinking fast and moving as one with it.
The services business calls for the same resourcefulness and resilience. It’s understanding what’s in front of you, underneath you, all around you, to best serve clients and their customers.
You become whoever they are, whatever they need you to be—which is water, my friend.