Great Managers: Are They The Missing Link?

on October 14, 2010

Over the past year or so I have heard many clients talk about their increased focus on the service profit chain. While I have heard it described a variety of ways most companies are paying close attention to 3 key links:

  • Engaged Employees
  • Produce Satisfied Customers
  • Resulting in Increased Profits

Based on my experience these components must be preceded by one more link to be successful, Great Managers! Without managers who know how to inspire, lead and connect with their direct reports you can’t have engaged employees that create loyal customers who spend money.

I can’t help but wonder what the multiplier effect of a single manger is. Here is my hypothesis:

  • A single manager leads a team of 10 employees.
  • This manager has failed to engage these 10 employees.
  • If each employee interacts with 30 customers per shift.
  • We can have up to 300 unsatisfied customers.
  • Unsatisfied customers will tell an average of 5 people about their poor experience.
  • 300 customers telling 5 people each about their experience can lead to 1,500 people who have a low opinion of a business.
  • And that’s for just one shift!

How many employees does 1 of your manager’s impact? What is the multiplier effect in your business? What do you think the role of a manager is in the service profit chain?


  • Gina Valenti

    Although I have not heard “the service profit chain” referenced in probably 10 years in that direct language … I think many managers/leaders have forgotten the chain. In fact, we are being asked to do more with less, and we are run down … And then it becomes a wake up call for those that I lead when I see the familiar tired, blank canvas on their face – “you need me to do MORE?”. Where does it end?

    Our own alignment and communication struggles have really affected me these past two weeks … This morning’s quick read reminded me to get outside myself and don’t allow that to suck my team under.

  • Gary Magenta

    Today I had two back to back meetings with different potential clients. At both organizations the concern was identical. Their managers were being asked to do more with less and those managers felt “victimized.” How can we keep doing more with less” is a question that can be heard from the trenches of organizations everywhere. In my opinion, if managers indeed need to do more with less it is up to the leaders to engage them in architecting how it can be accomplished. Managers must be a part of the design of new processes that will support the required changes. By empowering managers to co-architect the change they will transform from victims to advocates. What other ways do you see managers being included in leading the change needed to do more with less?


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