Winning at Service: Lessons from Service Leaders

By Els van Weering, Gordon Adler, Waldemar Schmidt

This book reveals the Secrets to Service Success by analyzing four service companies that grew from small beginnings to leaders in their industries. Interviews with the four CEOs who guided the companies to their success reveal the three basic principles they all share. The CEOs interviewed are Thomas Berglund of Securitas and J. Philip Sorensen of Group4Falck, the world's two largest security companies, Francis Mackay of Compass plc and Pierre Bellon of Sodexho Alliance, the world's two largest food service companies.


From the Inside Flap

“Winning at Service is special because it was written by a recently retired service industry CEO: Waldemar Schmidt. Unlike the authors of many other books about successfully managed companies, Waldemar Schmidt is not writing about his own company and not writing his own story. Where other books about successful management have been written by academics, this one has been written by a practitioner.

Winning at Service can be extremely useful for managers of other service firms who have ambitions of building world class companies. The research findings from the four service companies may well be transferable to other industries, since the conclusions are generic and widely applicable: to succeed, in service and elsewhere, a successful company needs leadership at the heart, focus, passion for people, and simplicity in everything it does.

Why this book now? Because no book has yet described the world’s four leading companies in the security and food services industry. Because no book has, to date, looked in depth at what makes them tick. Because in the service industry, the key success factor is human capital, which is becoming more and more important in a wide range of companies and industries. Because the managerial skills, approaches and experiences of Compass Group, Group 4 Falck, Securitas and Sodexho Alliance will serve all general managers who harbour the ambition of building excellent companies, in any industry.”
Dr Egon P.S. Zehnder Founder of Egon Zehnder International

From the Back Cover

As service becomes a more and more important factor in customer choice, all executives with the ambition of a building world class company should read this book.

“This book identifies the critical common practices of highly successful, international service enterprises. These businesses are led by inspiring teachers, who connect employees to customers to the benefit of both, and who build business models that are internationally mobile, while locally contextually relevant … a must read for students and practitioners alike who wish to understand the ingredients for successful growth of service business around the world.” Gary W. Loveman, CEO, Harrah’s Entertainment Inc.

“Winning at Service is not just about food and security services. It is about how to succeed in the service industry, and shows how sharing the vision with employees and customers, sticking to it and empowering employees to act upon it are the key ingredients for success.” Rob Kuijpers, Former CEO, DHL International

“Gate Gourmet started on a journey similar to the four companies in Winning at Service, albeit on a smaller scale. Before we took off, we could sure have used the enduring lessons from this remarkable ‘tour guide’ in our own toolbox. But it is deeply reassuring to see that Gate Gourmet’s key focus and basic beliefs are very much aligned with the winning strategies and values of the four service leaders in the book.” Henning Boysen, President and CEO, Gate Gourmet International




Publish Date


Published Year


Publisher Name

Wiley; 1st edition

Total Pages









United States




6.28 x 1.51 x 9.19 inches


14.9 ounces

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