It was a strange moment. A colleague said to me last week: “Someone told me that I should become more of a “b*tch” to really make it in the business world. They say I’m just too nice.”
I turned so fast I almost swerved across the yellow line (yes,I was driving), to deliver my answer: “You? Why would you ever change anything? Clients love you. Your best quality is that you are super easy to work with – and just, yes, just plain ole’ nice!”
A crystalline moment of clarity can happen anywhere. And in this season of warmth and looking back at this year of strife in our country, I can tell you honestly, that I am feeling the certitude of what was originally just a private belief – that being kind, not saying a bad word about anyone, and doing good things for others, not only pays off in the long run in life, but is great for business.
Sure, we are a bunch of chemical engineers-turned-marketers here at McDay. We are industrial engineers and creative designers and webmasters and social media gurus, and that is unique and gives our clients great reasons to want to work with us. But really, deep down, what do I think has made our business great? Kindness. Being nice. Treating our clients like people.
I won’t quite say friends, although some of them are certainly friends. Relationships take a long time to develop into deep friendships. But sometimes our client relationships are awful darn close to resembling close friendships and we would do almost anything required to make their lives easier.
And if that makes us seem weak or less professional, or less serious, I am here to tell you that I’ve never been more serious, or been involved with a business plan that is executing so precisely to plan and beyond. Our business is booming, so maybe we’ve hit on something here that needs to be said directly.
Being kind at work, towards each other and towards our clients, doesn’t make us feel used, or cheap, or less professional. It makes us enjoy our days, and our work. There is a sense of powerful connection and listening that happens here, every day. And in this season of giving and celebration with friends and family, maybe the best thing that can happen is to embrace… being nice – even and especially, at work.