Kindness can be the hardest word of all

In the Wall Street Journal, an article about good business, Kindness was published yesterday august 24th 2010. The article written by Tom Peters whom is the writer is the author of The Little BIG Things his website www.tompeters.com.

Quoted in the article, Good business is built on great people, decency, thoughtfulness and attentive listening.

My mother sent me this article yesterday and at first glance, the word kindness and business, I became interested.  In the past 2 years I have seen many changes in the recent economy as we have all the talks of unemployment, financial troubles with creditors and mortgages as well as a much more conservative spending market we have all become aware and or impacted by this.

With these new changes, the business relation decisions I make and or financial transactions I continue to engage in are now decided by not the biggest name but rather the kindness of the company I am exchanging with and I feel they understand my needs and are able to work with me.
My opinion is that the business to customer relation has changed and evolved to becoming a shared mission, this is a word that we have spoken about much in the recent months at my firm, Logicworks. 

The customer is no longer looking for just another vendor and to be honest, they want fewer vendors.  They want to work with companies whom have a shared mission, understand their business and operate as an extension of their team, helping business grow from both parties.  The use of social media and engaging with the clients to reach that personal connection has also helped path this new transformation, I for one love to engage with vendors, colleagues and other associates on Twitter.

In the article Tom Peters writes, in 1903 King Edward VII journeyed to Paris, crowds were lining the streets on his arrival and made clear that he was not welcome.  But the king charmed the French and everywhere he made gracious and tactful speeches about his friendship and admiration for the French, their glorious traditions, their beautiful city and his sincere pleasure in visiting Paris, all of which he spoke in perfect French.  Less than a year later the entente cordiale was signed between France and Britain and the history of the world was reshaped.

In the 19th century Henry Clay “Courtesies of a small and trivial character are the ones which strike deepest in the grateful and appreciating heart” The runner up from David Ogilvy, the father of modern advertising: “We do not take people to the elevator, we take them down the street”.

Tom Peters writes to us, If good business is built on great people and superb relationships and it is in 2010 as it was in 1910 and doubtless 1710 and 1870 then it is built on bedrock of decency, thoughtfulness.  Indeed it is built on Clay’s courtesies and Ogilvy’s willingness to escort clients to their car at street level in Manhattan.  An old theme for Mr. Peters was a six-word phrase. “Hard is soft. Soft is Hard”.  As the problems besting US corporations circa 1980 and the belief their advisers had got things backwards and that in the end it was supposedly hard numbers as we have seen of late and the plans that are so often flights of fantasy that were soft.  The true “hard stuff” was what business schools and their ilk undervalued as soft: people issues, character and the quality of relationships inside and beyond the organization’s wall.  Thinking about what has led to the softest word of all and the word with perhaps the most lasting impact on dealings… Kindness.

The novelist Henry James said “Three things in human life are important.  The first is to be kind, the second is to be kind and the third is to be kind”.  In the tradition of “hard” engineering background Mr. Peters put forth an equation labeled “all you need to know” on a PowerPoint slide it read K = R = P (Kindness = Repeat Process = Profit). As to the “R” and “p”, the evidence is clear: profitability whether at the corner shop or a global company is directly related to repeat business.

As to the kindness connection evidence of King Edwards magical 96 hours, Benjamin Franklin and the host of others from George Washington to Nelson Mandela.  The power is the indubitable link between small courtesies and earth-shattering events.

Mr. Peters concludes: If people and relationships are the sine qua non of enterprise success, and I flatly assert that they are, then decency, thoughtfulness and the likes of attentive listening should know no peers in the management canon.  I will stake my professional reputation on it; “soft” is indeed “hard”, and Kindness = Repeat business = Profit.

Then. Now. Tomorrow.

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About noneil
Rapper turned Rockstar!

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