Whether you are a casual sports fan or a die-hard NBA-er, the saga of LeBron James returning to Cleveland (his home is actually Akron, OH) has taken over the Internet. If you don’t believe me just take a break from work and browse the headlines on USA Today, CNN, ESPN.com, and even The Huffington Post.
But reading past the headlines to dive into James’ letter from the heart, I was most intrigued by his ultimate goal in returning home. Beyond bringing a championship trophy to his state, LeBron stated he wanted to lead and teach the next generation of Cavs and kids. With maturity, LeBron now understands that many things are fleeting, but being a leader means you identify and train the next group of leaders.
But you may be asking what does this have to do with field service?
Service, much like NBA legacies, can be cemented or ruined by cultivating a team. Recent Aberdeen research on Employee Engagement in Field Service revealed that managing an aging workforce is a top challenge for organizations. Service firms are being forced to find the next generation of field technicians as their peers continue to retire. The loss of knowledge and experience is a risk the service organization can’t afford to risk as customers expect exceptional service regardless of the challenges facing the organization. In order to cultivate the next generation of technicians, the Best-in-Class are more than twice as likely as Laggard firms to have a formal mentoring or coaching program in place (76% vs. 32%, respectively). Mentors have the opportunity to share best practices, transfer knowledge, and create a culture of learning.
Learning from the best not only ensures successful habits will be passed on, it also helps to reward top performers, which fosters better engagement. The evolution of field service requires organizations to continue to improve and excel in each aspect of service delivery. Service organizations would do well to learn from the message in LeBron’s letter: Lead and teach the next generation and this will yield true sustained success and a lasting legacy.