Your Workplace is a Human Community: The Link between Peter Drucker and MAGIC®

By Tom Larkin

Clients and prospects often ask us how MAGIC will serve their organizational goals, or, how they can make a sound business case for embracing it. We thought we'd address these questions by asking ourselves, "How do the seminal management ideas of Peter Drucker (dubbed by Business Week in 2005 as 'the man who invented management') align with the Five Pillars of a MAGIC Service Culture?"

Consider the two central ideas from Mr. Drucker:

  • 1.  The organization is a human community, "built on trust and respect for the workers—not just a profit machine."
  • 2.  Employees—the people who do the work—need to be treated as assets, as the critical resource in the organization.
We can hear the MAGIC ring loud and clear in these key ideas. Let's take a look at how they align with Five Pillars of a MAGIC Service Culture.

1. Shared Service Vision and Values

Clear, compelling shared vision and organizational values support and inspire the expression of associate excellence. They emphasize an exceptional experience for employees and customers, and they are aligned with the strategic direction of the organization.

Drucker views the organization as a human community. Service culture assessment, service vision creation and other high-engagement activities embrace the people in your organization as a human community. By including employees in the essential dialogue around service, new ideas are generated, respect is expressed, and trust is nurtured.

2. Service-Focused Managers

Leaders at all levels passionately model the service mindset, value the contribution of every employee, and focus on constantly improving the customer's total experience.

According to Drucker, employees should be treated as assets. Managers that build relationships with employees and nurture these relationships through coaching and support, show that they value people. The key to employee loyalty and tenure is quite often a quality reporting relationship. This means consistently engaging with employees as human beings, not cogs in a wheel. It means initiating collaborative and authentic conversations instead of focusing on telling associates what to do and how to do it.

As a result, associates perform better, are inspired to contribute, and feel a greater sense of loyalty toward the organization.

3. Consistent Service Delivery and Measurement

The standards for service delivery are clear, consistent and integrated. Established measures for face-to-face, phone, and e-interactions are shared by all and practiced with employees and customers.

Drucker maintained a steadfast belief in the importance of substance over style and of "institutionalized practices over charismatic, cult leaders."

The Five MAGIC Steps and the 33 Points of MAGIC are substantive tools that can be shared widely and applied consistently by an organization. They pass the substance test as a time-tested collection of best practices that turn common sense into common practice.

4. Developmental Training and Coaching

Training is provided to all employees so they can develop the attitude, communication skills, and knowledge to provide an exceptional customer experience. Developmental performance coaching identifies and promotes service contributions and individual growth.

Drucker understood (and reminded us frequently) that talented people are "the essential ingredient of every successful enterprise." He clearly foresaw that knowledge would trump raw material as the essential capital of the new economy.

Managers who engage in coaching regard customer-facing associates as knowledge workers who create capital by enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty. Employees make the choice to create an exceptional customer experience, instead of a routine, indifferent, or discouraging one. The fuel that energizes these choices is the time and attention paid to training and on-going development to nurture employees.

5. Constant Systemic Improvement and Reinforcement

Systems and processes throughout the organization are constantly improved and aligned with the service vision and values.

In response to a question about how he came up with so many original insights, the wise Mr. Drucker responded, "I learn only through listening, [long pause] to myself."

A learning organization listens to itself. Coaching focuses on bringing the frontline's experience to the fore. The more managers and coaches listen to the frontline, the more they learn about the organization and what influences the service experience. The voice of the customer and the voice of the employee are critical.

How Would You Apply Peter Drucker's Thinking to MAGIC?

So, if you are still wondering how MAGIC can serve your organization's goals, or if you need to make a sound business case for embracing it, consider Mr. Drucker's central ideas:

  • Your workplace is in fact a human community
  • Your employees are your core assets
Then, look to the Five Pillars of a MAGIC Service Culture and begin cultivating the possibilities for your people, your customers, and your bottom line.

Tom Larkin is president, CEO and co-owner of Communication Ltd. and has more than thirty years of experience as a consultant, coach, facilitator and business owner. He is the co-author of How to Talk to Customers: Create a Great Impression Every Time with MAGIC® and is also a part-time professor at Fairfield University.
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