Six Practices of F.I.E.R.C.E. Service

Okay the picture is a bit much but I thought it was “fierce.”

I’ve been working lately on pulling together several fundamental principles for making service to others consistently more successful.  As I have researched service and leadership, I have found a dizzying wealth of acronyms, matrices, diagrams, charts and methodologies, all guaranteeing better performance.

The problem is that I have not been able to find simplicity and consistency.  What I have found is everything from complicated systems to rote tasks which are scripted. My problem here is that few seem to speak to practices which change fundamental behavior and thinking, and I believe training systems and tasks without changing behavior and thinking is destined for failure in the long term.

This frustration has led me to research a variety of things related to behavior and brain science with a focus on the workings of the limbic system in the brain and concepts like Maslow’s hierarchy. I must admit that I am not a psychologist or neuro-scientist and have no serious background in this study, I only have years of experience in the workplace, as a teacher, and as a husband and parent, so do not think I am speaking as an expert, rather, I am an itinerant working to start dialog and influence positive change.

With that in mind, all of my research has brought several things together to form the basis for what I call F.I.E.R.C.E. Service.  Please note that this F.I.E.R.C.E. moniker has no relationship to Susan Scott’s excellent work with Fierce Conversations and Fierce Leadership.  Quite frankly, it is a word that works and has an ironic fit; that is all. You are also probably saying to yourself, isn’t this guy just adding to the acronyms he decried earlier? …yeah, I know, sorry.

Anyway, the F.I.E.R.C.E. acronym stands for Fair, Inclusive, Empowering, Respectful, Confidence building, and Easy.  It brings together the perfect storm of concepts and ideas from Maslow to David Rock’s SCARF neuroscience findings to Stephen Covey’s Speed of Trust to the Golden Rule.  So, by using the F.I.E.R.C.E. acronym and Covey’s 13 Trust Behaviors as a foundation, I have put together these Six Practices of F.I.E.R.C.E. Service.  If you are bold, share these with your employees and start a dialog on how you might practice them in leadership and service to your customers.  My belief is that practicing these six things will open more doors and lead to less resistance between managers, employees and customers alike. I would love to know about any discussions and your thoughts on these practices.


  1. Demonstrate Fairness By Showing The Nature Of Your Character

Be honest. Don’t manipulate people, distort facts, spin the truth, or leave false impressions.

Tell the truth. Be open and authentic and err on the side of disclosure. Don’t have hidden agendas or hide information.

In addition, say what you’re going to do and do what you say you’re going to do. Make keeping commitments the symbol of your honor.

When you’re wrong, make things right by apologizing quickly and making restitution where possible. Don’t cover things up and let personal pride or fear get in the way of doing the right thing.

  1. Include Others

Welcome and encourage people’s input. Listen more, talk less, and listen to understand rather than just to respond. Find out what’s most important to people and don’t assume you know what matters most to them. Don’t presume you have all the answers—or all the questions.

  1. Empower People To Achieve More On Their Own

Extend trust abundantly and empower (guide and encourage) those who have earned your trust. Empower conditionally those who are working to earn your trust. Learn how to appropriately empower others based on the situation, risk, and competence/confidence of the people involved.

  1. Demonstrate Respect

Genuinely care for others. Show you care. Respect the dignity of every person and treat them with courtesy. Be compassionate, be patient, and never fake caring.

  1. Build People’s Confidence That They’ll Be Successful

Demonstrate your competence and be aware of and honest about your weaknesses. Continuously improve. Increase your abilities by constantly learning. Don’t assume your knowledge and skills will be sufficient for tomorrow’s challenges.

  1. Make Things Easier

Confront challenges head on and remove obstacles. Don’t bury your head in the sand and hide behind policies or standard procedures. Find ways to make things easier for people.

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