If you experience lousy service, you might describe the person who served you as inattentive

If you experience a service that draws you in and makes you feel like you matter, you might describe the person who served you as devoted.

The inattentive employee, who interacts with customers and colleagues, can be perceived as: bored, distracted, absent-minded and even neglectful. In fact, some leaders believe that in service, either you’re great or you’re not.

Being attentive is an element of extraordinary service that is easy to understand yet seems hard to do. But (and it’s a very big but) you can teach people to be attentive.

One of the reasons leaders find it difficult to positively transform their service culture is they make it complex; they start with more systems, more procedures and more rule books. They forget that service is simple and starts with people being attentive.

The ability to maintain attention and focus is just as important as a technical or compliant ability. The skill of staying present and giving 100% attention is the skill that is needed most.

It might seem like a large jump for someone to shift from being inattentive to devoted; however, the key to devotion starts with paying attention. Anyone can learn it; it can be trained and practiced.

‘Attention is the beginning of devotion.’—Mary Oliver (poet)


If you lead a team and want people to lift their performance in how they treat others and how they serve, then push the rule book aside and start a conversation about how present people are at work.

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