The good old saying “nice guys/girls finish last” in my opinion is no longer relevant in life or in business. After 2020, a lot of us have stepped back and realised what is actually important in this life and learned how to be kind again.
In my spare time (pause for intense laughter) I listen to numerous podcasts of some extremely successful and inspiring business and entrepreneurial men and women. Throughout the many different episodes from various people, there was one extremely specific theme. Empathy, gratitude, and kindness in business always win. I am sure some of you may read this article and blatantly disagree with me, I know my husband will, and that is ok.
My hope for this article is to inspire you to look closer, listen more intently and throw a little honey on it because as we all know, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar (I hope that is the saying). Quarterly or at least half yearly I encourage my clients to call every single owner in their complex to simply ask them how they are. This may sound like a business strategy rather than compassion, but it is what you do with the information received in my opinion which makes the difference.
Last year a manager friend of mine asked me to assist with rallying their owners together for the upcoming AGM. This meeting was particularly important as they were asking for a Top Up and approval for some major renovations. When discussing the owners and getting some background information the manager explained one owner had always been rude and quite short with them, openly expressing her dislike for onsite managers. This owner was my first phone call. When she answered the phone the rudeness and abruptness of her voice were extremely present. Things only got worse when I explained where I was from, “WHAT DO YOU WANT?” This owner was living in Victoria at the time so before my pitch began I simply asked, “how are you going? How has the lockdown been?” One brick came down as she explained it had been quite difficult. From there I continued to ask questions about her time and why it had been so difficult, apart from the obvious reasons. She explained that her elderly mother lived with her and suffers from severe dementia sometimes becoming overly aggressive. We spoke for about 30 mins and we ended the conversation not even mentioning the AGM. Right after, the manager and I organised a beautiful hamper with a simple message that said “You are doing a great job. Our team is here if you ever need anything”. No pitch just a simple act of kindness. The owner approved all motions at the AGM and has continued to be a supporter of theirs ever since.
In no way am I saying spend thousands of dollars on hampers a year, it can simply take a phone call and a genuine “how are you” to make a person’s day. To know that someone, you, care enough to take the time to genuinely see how they are.
Call me optimistic but I believe that behind every rude, abrupt, and cold human is an untold story.
Kindness and compassion in business will always win.