The Service Leader’s Pledge was created by Po Chung.

Po Chung believes, “Life is an entrepreneurial journey.” He lives his life as if he is operating a high quality, service business. Chung’s Me, Inc. mindset is based on the idea that a person can use business knowledge and skills, especially a strategic thinking and planning model, to design, develop, and manage a purposeful, self-sufficient, even prosperous life - a life worthy of trust and respect. Earning trust and respect is the path to service leadership.

How a student defines success is personally constructed. HKI-SLAM places no preference on one lifestyle or way of life over another, or one’s means of achieving self-sufficiency over another, so long as one’s pursuit of success does not harm others or diminish others’ rights to success. Harm includes engaging in risky behavior that puts others at risk without their consent.

HKI-SLAM recognizes three distinct types of Service Leadership competency: service competency, leadership competency, and task competency.

Service competency refers to being ready, willing, and able to carry out the most appropriate and satisfying service proposition in a particular situation and context. Judgments about competence and appropriateness and level of satisfaction are co-determined by leaders and followers and by service providers and service recipients. Thus, the value of any leadership or service proposition is co-created by the parties involved.

Leadership competency refers to leading in the most appropriate and satisfying way in order to achieve a personal goal, group goal, solve a social problem, or satisfy a need given the current situation and context. Leadership competency includes being able to lead one’s self on a path of self-improvement aimed at being ready, willing, and able to satisfy the needs of others.

Task competency refers to possessing a sufficient level of domain specific knowledge, skills, values, and attitudes to carry out a task or satisfy a need in the current situation or context. The task can involve anything from playing a simple role in the assembly of a product to carrying out a complex service proposition such as conducting an orchestra.

Optimizing one’s task competency requires excelling in one’s career field (major) and other areas of interest and expertise. A minimum level of task competency is required for employment or promotion. Task competency is also required of a leader who wishes to inspire followers, promote loyalty, and increase others’ commitment to a cause.

Character strengths are universally valued. Social psychologists and cognitive neuroscientists suggest one of the first judgments the mind makes about another person is to determine whether the other is friendly or threatening. Persons with valued character strengths are typically judged to be friendly and trustworthy, or at least not threatening. People whose character is too self-promoting or infected with POS viruses are perceived to be threatening, or at least not trustworthy. It’s very difficult for a person lacking character to develop the strong, positive, social relationships required of service leaders.

The caring disposition of a service leader is illuminated by at least six levels of concern:
• the wellbeing of one’s own mind, body, and spirit
• the wellbeing of other individual’s mind, body, and spirit
• the wellbeing of groups one depends on
• the wellbeing of groups affected by one’s actions and leadership
• the efficient and effective operation of constructed systems
• the efficient operation of natural systems.

A caring disposition is universally valued. Cognitive neuroscientists suggest one of the first judgments the mind makes about another person is to determine whether the other is friendly or threatening. Persons with a caring disposition toward others are typically judged to be friendly and trustworthy. People who’s social disposition is too self-centered or infected with POS viruses are perceived to be threatening. It’s very difficult for a person lacking a caring disposition to develop the strong, positive, social relationships required of service leaders.

Positive social relationships are built on trust and respect, which are significantly dependent on the partners in a relationship having functional competencies and character strengths, plus a caring disposition towards each other.
According to Po Chung, founder of the Service Leadership Movement,
Quality Service = Competency + Character + Care

The social compass of a service leader must orient toward others. Service providers who consistently provide satisfactory service are keenly aware that the value of a service is co-created by both parties to the service transaction. The same is true of leadership. Potential leaders and followers co-create the value of a leader’s effectiveness. Service providers and leaders who lack competency, character and care are generally unable to create high value service satisfaction or inspire trust, loyalty, and commitment of followers.

This is not to suggest that one should be so other-centered as to put one’s own life and self-sufficiency, family, business, or significant social relationships at risk; or, to undermine one’s efforts to optimize one’s ability to be ready, willing, and able to satisfy the needs of others in need. Choices one makes in regard to the allocation of resources for the benefit of others should be made in consideration of competing needs and benefits. Thus, the Service Leader’s Pledge includes the phrase, ethical service that “I can afford.”

Whatever I do will be somewhat determined by where one chooses to do it and with whom one wants to live near. People wanting to live and prosper in Hong Kong need to be aware of Hong Kong’s service advantage. They also need to know about, think about, develop themselves, and behave appropriately as a node in an international user-facilitated distributed service leadership network.

Promoting personal success requires personal development and life long learning. HKI-SLAM believes that continually seeking to increase one’s self-efficacy and self-sufficiency for the purpose of being ready, willing, and able to help others and satisfy their needs is the path to service leadership quality. The promotion of personal success and wellbeing, therefore, requires striving continuously to improve one’s competency, character, and caring disposition.

Above all else, Service Leadership requires a growth mindset aimed at enabling one to operate as a service leader.

The Me, Inc. metaphor is useful for imagining how one’s life can be operated as a business. However, the metaphor is useless without a compelling motivational vision and purpose – a reason for being. So, What kind of business are you in? Po Chung and HKI-SLAM believe whatever one’s profession, career, or vocational interest, everyone is in the service business. And that, personal service aimed at enhancing one’s readiness, willingness, and ability to help others is the path to service leadership quality.

A key principle of Service Leadership is recognition that service leadership is not provided as a one way proposition. HKI-SLAM believes that the quality and the value of service leadership is co-created. Service Leadership involves a didactic process during which the position of leadership is willingly passed back and forth between the service provider and the service recipient.

HKI-SLAM believe the term highest quality implies growth and continuous improvement. In other words, the quality of service one can deliver today will not be as good as the service one can deliver tomorrow, provided one is committed to personal development. Service leaders continuously strive to improve their competencies, character, and caring disposition by engaging in reflection-in-practice and reflection-on-practice during delightful and dissatisfying service transactions.

Ethical Service appears to be a relative term, the morality of which is subject to situation and context, especially local customs and cultural norms. Service leadership is about providing the highest quality ethical service to those close to you – persons who depend on you and who you likewise depend on – without causing harm to anyone else. HKI-SLAM believes it’s possible to provide high quality ethical service to everyone without compromising one’s moral beliefs or values.

The ethics of self-service is framed by HKI-SLAM’s service definition – Service is work done to benefit others and includes self-serving efforts aimed at ethically improving one’s competencies, abilities, and willingness to help satisfy the needs of others (HKI-SLAM Framework, 2011).

Service I can afford is a relative term and HKI-SLAM embraces it as such. Each individual must decide how much he or she is ready, willing, and able to commit to a service proposition in terms of time, property, money, and emotional affects and effects. Emotional affects are feeling states – good or bad. Emotional effects are measurable outcomes, i.e., positive and negative impacts on social relationships, and include positive and negative impacts on the physical, mental, and spiritual health of self and others.

Abraham Lincoln said, “You can please some of the people all of the time; you can please all of the people some of the time; but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.” HKI-SLAM agrees with this statement. But we also intuit that some people are better at pleasing more people than others are; and that, some people find it difficult to please many others. Because we want to know why this is so, we put forth a number of hypotheses about service leadership that are subject to verification.

The term my leadership includes quality self-leadership, that is, personal development aimed at ethically improving one’s competencies, character, caring disposition, willingness and ability to help satisfy the needs of others through service and leadership.

Becoming consciously aware of the role non-verbal cues, observable behavior, and emotions play in building or undermining trust and respect represents a first step on the path to Service Leadership.