nlighten Blog_Ask not what your company can do for you_10 July 2017


These famous words—first spoken by US Pres John F Kennedy during his inaugural speech in 1961—pack a powerful punch. As the basis for a personal philosophy, it turns on its head the general human attitude that life owes us something. Innate philanthropy is not at all common in human beings. We mostly prefer to be at the receiving end of good stuff—from government, our places of work, our schools, our shops (real and virtual), our communities, our families and friends.

But what if you made a conscious decision to approach life differently? What if, instead of wondering what’s in it for yourself, you asked, “what can I contribute”? Taking this approach, you immediately change your position from one of servility to one of leadership. It means you are taking charge.

Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg points out in a YouTube video [watch here] that when joining an organisation, most people come into the workplace with a “what’s-in-it-for-me” attitude.

“I don’t see that many people coming into the workplace and ask(ing) what they can do for the company,” she says. She adds that when you ask what it is YOU can do, you will get the tools you need to achieve the goals you set for yourself and for the organisation. “Ask what you can do. I promise you will get mentors, you will get sponsors, you will get results, you will get promotions, you will get opportunities by contributing.”

It is important to go into a place of work with our eyes wide open, and with the full knowledge that it’s all about the organisation, not the individual. It is about doing what is best for the organisation, and its goals and objectives.

What’s best for an organisation is, of course, satisfied customers. And satisfied customers result from management developing and implementing sound customer service strategies. That, of course, is where we come in. Establishing how satisfied your customers are and providing training in keeping them happy is nlighten’s stock in trade. The ethos that underpins much of our strategies and training is exactly the approach Sandberg advocates: Individual employees putting the workplace—and thus their customers—first.

And this is neatly summarised by paraphrasing JFK’s immortal words: Ask not what your company can do for you. Ask what you can do for your company.

If you would like to find out how happy your customers are with your service, or if you think your management team can benefit from a workshop or other training on how to develop and implement robust customer-service strategies, please drop us an email [], or call Nathalie or Brendon at (021) 794 7533. Our website [] will tell you more about what we’re all about.

View the previous nlighten blog by Nathalie Schooling: A 5 Step Guide to Retaining Clients

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