Preview Thursday - The Art of Servant Leadership II

Taken from the Introduction of The Art of Servant Leadership II by Art Barter

In The Art of Servant Leadership II, we offer a case study in transforming a company into a servant-led organization. It starts with individual leaders who are willing to begin the inward journey of transformation of heart and soul. They allow the servant leadership behaviors to renovate their hearts, and ultimately this transfers into their hands of service. When their teams see the radical transformation of their leaders, they are inspired to start their own inward journey toward servant leadership, which finally leads to a servant-led organization.

That may sound a bit sentimental or trite to you, and you may think it’s an unrealistic model for the competitive corporate world. However, putting others first in all you do has a way of realigning your focus with your purpose in life and clarifying your principles for living your purpose on a day-to-day basis. You will discover a new way of thinking—a new mindset—about results and about your responsibility to treat everyone with dignity and respect. At Datron we do not shy away from the need to be financially successful in our business. We don’t shy away from setting and achieving goals that stretch our imagination. But we do focus first on the importance of obtaining those results in a way that will serve the best interests of everyone in accordance with our values.

Early in our success I was told that when we reached a revenue level of around $50 million, the management team would need to be upgraded to one with experience in running that size company. When we received a record order in 2007 I told my team to add a few more zeros to our revenue plan, but that we could do this. From an excellent book called Mindset, by Carol Dweck, we had learned that we could reset our internal monologue, or mindset, to a positive, growth-oriented mindset that would allow us to handle this new level of growth.

So we changed our mindset to pursue the goal of serving our customer by meeting this need, which meant we needed to up our game. We would still plan our procurement, buy the materials to support that plan, expand the labor force to build the product, and deliver the completed product to the customer by the date requested. We knew how to accomplish all of this; we just had to change our mindset to accommodate a higher volume of activity. Servant leadership gave us the foundation to grow our business substantially with just the normal added expense of additional labor. In other words, by following the principles of servant leadership, we were able as a committed and engaged team to create a growth mindset and far exceed our normal production with basically what we already had. In today’s corporate world, that’s called increased productivity.

Servant leadership is not a designed program, nor is it the latest fad in management. Servant leadership is a way of life that has a deep impact on those you serve and influence. Implementing servant leadership is not for the faint of heart. It is a very rewarding journey that requires a commitment to behaviors and results at a very high level. Few will take the journey with you, but many will be impacted by your influence.

Art Barter believes “everyone can be great, because everyone can serve.” To teach people about the power of servant leadership, Art started in his own backyard by rebuilding the culture of the manufacturing company he bought in 2004, Datron World Communications. Art took Datron’s traditional power-led model and turned it upside down, and together with his management team, began to serve first. The result: a small international radio manufacturer grew from a $10 million company to a $200 million company in six years.

Through his stories, Art reveals Datron’s journey of moving from severe adversity to becoming a significant organization committed to leading for the sake of others in a popular keynote, “Can You Spare Any Change? Transforming Behaviors Through Servant Leadership.” He believes how you get results is more important than the results themselves, and his presentations on servant leadership-related topics have inspired audiences around the world.

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