We get to the office. We’re excited to start the day. We’re not quite sure where to begin. What do we do?
Many of us open our e-mail inbox to see what goodies might be awaiting us. This in and of itself is not a bad thing. However, how often does that lead to 30 or 60 minutes or more of being stuck in “e-mail land”?
Most productivity gurus recommend not opening e-mail until after we’ve taken time to reflect on the top two or three things we really want to get done – things that could make a big impact – and taking action on them.
I believe that one of those things should be taking time to reflect on how we can better serve the people on our team, however that’s defined for us. I have this on my calendar as the first thing I do every day.
There is a lot of value to taking 10-15 minutes or so each day to reflect on the question, “How can I better serve?” It gets us in a great state of mind to start the day, and it can often lead to new ideas for better serving the people on our teams.
To make this time even more valuable, we should make sure we have a “How I can serve you?” meeting with everyone on our team.
A “How I can serve you?” meeting is simply taking around 30 minutes to sit down with a team member and ask them questions that allow us to learn what’s important to them.
We should ask questions like:
- What’s most important to you in your life right now in terms of what you have in your life?
- What’s most important to you in your life right now in terms of who you are as a person?
- What are your top three personal goals for this year, and for five years from now?
- What are your top three professional goals for this year within our organization?
- What are your top three professional goals for the next five years, whether with us or not?
The person may not have the answers off the top of her head, but just asking these questions shows that we actually care about her. For those that need more time to consider, we can ask that written answers be submitted in a few days.
In addition to showing a team member that we care about him, there are two other significant benefits to “How I can serve you?” meeting:
- The team member may have never considered these questions before. When he does, he’ll likely get great clarity on his life, and he’ll be thankful for your help with that.
- Once we have written answers to the questions above, we’ll have plenty of things to consider during the time we spend reflecting each day on how we can better serve. Reviewing the answers will give us ideas for how we could help or, at a minimum, reminders to check up on progress with a caring intention.
The best time to have a “How I can serve you?” meeting is during the onboarding process. This can be a great addition to the other tools you employ to help a new team member feel very welcomed and cared for.
But we can have a “How I can serve you?” meeting any time, with any team member, regardless of how long he or she has been with us. It’s never too late to take our servant leadership game to a higher level. In fact, it’s a good idea to have the meeting at least annually to keep abreast of the normal changes in priorities for the people on our teams.
Please leave me a comment below if you apply these ideas. I’d love to hear about your experience.