Discovering the Soul of Service: The Nine Drivers of Sustainable Business Success

Leonard L. Berry examines some of America’s great service companies and finds “nine drivers of excellence” that are behind them all. Discovering the Soul of Service looks at 14 diverse businesses, including the St. Paul Saints minor-league baseball team, Dial-A-Mattress, Midwest Express Airlines, and two of the world’s fastest-growing service companies–Charles Schwab and Enterprise Rent-A-Car. “The lessons they teach are clear indeed,” writes Berry, a marketing professor and director of the Center for Retailing Studies at Texas A & M University. “Although the companies differ on the outside–the nature, size and structure of their businesses–to a remarkable degree they are the same on the inside, sharing the drivers of their ongoing success.” The “nine drivers” that Berry uncovers are the following: Leading with Values, Strategic Focus, Executional Excellence, Control of Destiny, Trust-Based Relationships, Investment in Employee Success, Acting Small, Brand Cultivation, and Generosity. Berry, whose previous books include On Great Service: A Framework for Action and Delivering Quality Service, writes that the basis of a successful service organization is value-driven leadership and “building a humane community that humanely serves customers and the broader community in which they live.” Discovering the Soul of Service is inspiring–and potentially profitable–reading for anyone in business today. –Dan Ring

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