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It’s not what I do, It’s what I do………. that counts.

How would you complete the following: “ It’s not what I do, it’s what I do for ______________ that counts.”

As a consultant, I discovered that most of my friends have no idea what I do. Most of them have clearly defined jobs or own their business. They find it easy to discuss their jobs or companies when we get together. I could tell you what each of them do, but I doubt many of them could tell you what I do with any degree of certainty. Why?

My practice focuses on helping small businesses grow in areas of teamwork, strategy, and culture. Most of my work is ad hoc, situational driven. Sometimes I facilitate programs or put on workshops. Occasionally I give a speech. I assess situations and perceived problems and make recommendations. When I am fortunate, I stay involved through the implementation phase. And after the engagement, I have wondered what I really did for my client or my class?

The answer is at the heart of a concept I have come to embrace, Servant Leadership. Coined by Robert Greenleaf [¹] in the 1970’s while working at AT&T, Servant Leadership embraces serving others first as the model for leadership. Visually, it flips the organizational pyramid with the customer on top and the CEO on the bottom. The model runs throughout Gallup’s 12 Elements of Employee Engagement [²] and has it’s underpinning in the Bible. “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you ,” [³] and “As you sow, so shall you reap .” [4] When you serve others first, you sow trust, and what you get is a multiple of what you sow.

So when asked what I do, I usually answer, “It’s not what I do, it’s what I do for others that counts.”


[1] Greenleaf, R. K. (2002). Servant leadership: A journey into the nature of legitimate power and greatness (25th anniversary ed.). New York:

[2] Gallup, 12 Elements

[3] Matthew 7:12; Luke 6:31

[4] Galatians 6:9

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