November Holidays – 2023

Veterans Day


Innovative Service and the Rules of Combat

This month we celebrate Veterans Day which is November 11th and as a federal holiday it will be observed on November 10th.  We deeply thank all those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for their country!  We also thank those who served their country for their service.  We both had the distinct honor and privilege to serve our country.  Chip is a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran.

Several years ago Logan Graves posted the “Rules of Combat” out on his website.  We filed the clever set of rules away but have recently dusted them off for a fresh look at imaginative service.  Here are a few of his rules.

  1. The easy way is always mined.  There is an adage that goes “only dead fish swim with the current.”  Innovative service seeks the road less traveled in the pursuit of ingenious and novel.  Today’s wired and dangerous customers are bored with pretty good service.

  2. No combat-ready unit ever passed inspection; no inspection-ready unit ever passed combat.  Innovative service is scrappy and provocative.  It focuses on what works, not on what’s cute.  The ‘function over form’ orientation enables you to race past preoccupation with appearance to outpace those mired in convention.

  3. All five-second grenade fuses are three seconds.  Innovative service requires preparation, not serendipity.  Dancers do rehearsal, planners create what-if scenarios, and product makers use dry runs.  Granted, everything cannot be pilot tested.  But innovative service providers know that mastering the unexpected comes through forethought and study.

  4. When the pin is pulled, Mr. Grenade is NOT our friend.  Innovative service requires the courage to try new and different.  And, such courage comes from a sense of accountability to those you serve.  It enables you to embrace challenge as a chance to test limits and reaffirm principles.

Would your customers describe you as brave or courageous?  Do you celebrate excellent efforts that fail?  Are you constantly seeking a path to new experiences your customers will find memorable as well as valuable?

We also celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday on November 23rd and especially this year, is a great time to stop and reflect on your efforts to ensure your customers feel appreciated for no other reason than they are your customers!

“Thank you!” These are arguably the two most powerful words in the English language.  Customers and colleagues love to hear and feel a sincere “thank you”.  Imagine what would happen to your business if everyone increased their use of these two words with associates and customers.  This tactic can set an organization apart in an era of “take-you-for-granted” service.  The goal is not simply the expression of a statement but rather the conveyance of a feeling.  We have all heard “thank you” directed at us, knowing full well there was little sincerity behind it.  When delivering innovative service, thank you means communicating gratitude in a fashion that makes customers and colleagues feel your authenticity.

Have a great November and enjoy the holidays!

© Chip Bell Group, 2023.  Courtesy of John R. Patterson (  Permission is given to download and distribute this article as long as it contains this copyright notice.