Think of the times you've gone shopping or to a restaurant and dealt with people who were visibly happy to be in their jobs--and to have the opportunity to serve you. Their words were from their hearts, rather than a script. They probably surprised you with the extra effort and thoughtfulness they displayed in satisfying your particular needs, answering your questions, or offering suggestions. They actually seemed delighted to do it!

How did you feel when you left these businesses? Did you buy more and did you spend more time than you initially planned? Are you likely to return? Have you recommended these businesses to friends?

If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you began a value chain that was based on employees who were actively engaged in their work.

If you Google "engaged employees," you'll get about 29 million hits including many examples. Most of these examples are of companies where employees are actively engaged. Interestingly, they are the same companies known for superior service like Southwest Airlines, The Container Store and Starbucks.

The philosophy of these companies centers on the idea that if employees are happy, they'll be engaged, they'll deliver Passionate Performance, and their customers will be happy too. Engaging leaders invest their time and energy into their teams because they know that engaged employees are more likely to:

  • Stay with the organization.
  • Perform at high levels.
  • Influence others to perform well.
  • Promote the organization externally.
  • Deliver unparalleled customer service.

These outcomes illustrate the customer value chain. The customer value chain starts with an engaging leader. Engaging leaders ignite a fully engaged worker. Fully engaged workers create loyal customers. Since gaining additional business from an existing customer is five times less expensive than acquiring a new customer, a loyal customer base is the grand slam of business. It creates higher profit margins and better returns for shareholders. There are no shortcuts in the customer value chain. You can't just hope for more loyal customers. You can't just hire engaged employees and stop there; hiring effectively is necessary but is not sufficient to build an engaged team.

With enough time and resources, your competitors might be able to replicate your products, distribution channels, and technology. However, they will not be able to easily duplicate Passionate Performance whichcreates a rock-solid wall of differentiation between you and the rest of the pack... and that's the BIG payoff!

Read FREE chapters of the bestseller Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees.