For years, Julie and I had a date night each Wednesday night while our children were young. We would often go to dinner at a local TexMex restaurant. An experience during one of our visits helped me see the direct, positive business impact of passionately performing employees.

An energetic waiter came charging up to our table with a big “Hello!”  He proceeded to describe an appetizer option in great detail, with great enthusiasm, and at great speed!  So, read the next sentence three times faster than usual.

He exclaimed:

“I know you will love our tableside guacamole!  We wheel up a cart of 12 delicious ingredients. Our Guacomologist stirs up the fresh guacamole and customizes it to your taste by adding whichever ingredients you want. Then he serves it up to you right then and there!  So, would you like to try it?”

First of all, I had never heard of a Guacomologist and wasn’t sure if my insurance plan covered a visit from him!

Second, how could I say no to that offer? So, of course, I blurted out, “Sure, sounds great!” just as quickly as he asked.

After the waiter left, I turned to Julie as she looked at me a little bewildered. I said what she already knew all too well, “Honey, I don’t even like guacamole!”

That was my ah-ha moment that has since been validated by research. When we engage with workers at any level in any setting who are fully and passionately engaged in their work, we tend to purchase more than we intended—and feel good about it! By the way, since that night I have become a guacamole fan.

Although employees deliver the service, leaders are the first link in the customer value chain. Engaging leaders ignite a fully engaged worker. Fully engaged workers create loyal customers. Loyal customers create higher profit margins and value for all stakeholders.

There are no shortcuts in the customer value chain. We can’t just hope for more loyal customers. We can’t just hire engaged employees and stop there. Hiring effectively is necessary, but it is not sufficient to build an engaged team.

With enough time and resources, your competitors might be able to replicate your products, distribution channels, and technology. However, they will not be able to easily duplicate a passionately performing team.

McGraw-Hill released the bestselling Engaging the Hearts and Minds of All Your Employees in paperback as part of its Business Classics series. This updated edition includes a foreword by Marshall Goldsmith, the Thinkers50 #1 Leadership Thinker in the World.

You can also LISTEN to this bestseller on this new audio edition that is available here.