We first published this blog-post back in 2013, shortly after I’d written it. At the time (nothing’s changed!) I felt very strongly that we just weren’t being as nice to each other as it seemed people were when our parents grew up. Rose-colored specs …. ? Maybe. But nonetheless, I thought that it would be so easy, to be nice, do unexpected kind things for work colleagues. It might be easier to start being kind to people we knew than total strangers … work seemed an obvious place to begin …
This week Mary Portas (she didn’t read my post 🙁 ) has been talking about the importance of Kindness at work …. well in retail actually, but same difference. I thought it would be a timely to re-publish my thoughts and let you decide for yourselves if just maybe, ‘Kindness’ could help, contribute, to improving our High Street experiences? It’s been ‘adjusted’ to err toward retail and hospitality, but it WILL improve any company: results, well-being, brand awareness and customer loyalty.
Strengthen any Business, especially a Retail business with Kindness
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I’ve been thinking about how we behave toward each other a lot; we’re ‘different’ when in the ‘formal confines’ of our workplace (be that a shop, hotel, restaurant or office) to how we are outside that arena – or dare I say ‘in general life’. Why? There is no reason to be. Work isn’t some alien planet, there’s no law against being ‘you’ in work, it won’t make you a bad person. AND the stark reality is that in our ‘Business Body’ we are less kind to others than we have a natural tendency to be. We show less emotion in this place. It occurred to me that this is a great pity and something we need to change.
Ricky Gervais created a TV show called Derek, a show that drew mixed reaction; but in an interview Ricky explained that “Derek was what we are when everything is stripped away from our personality except … Kindness”. I was taken by the character from the first word and it was then I realised I should begin in earnest to try and BE KIND AT WORK. I should also find ways of inviting others to try it out too. Being Kind to colleagues, customers, suppliers all of whom are after all, just people. Derek said “Kindness is Magic” and you know what; he’s only bloody right. It has a magical effect on the people receiving a kindness and a magical effect on the person performing the kindness. Go On, give it a go … see how it makes you feel.
In truth there is no distinction between ‘in business’ and ‘in life’, if you are kind to others (even customers!!) then eventually someone is kind to you.
Being kind however, means that you must have no expectation of being given kindness. Being kind to customers, colleagues, associates, and other business contacts is no different to being kind to your mother. If it is, you have misunderstood what being kind is.
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We are talking about a ‘feeling’. We ought to be able to say “I am kind to others not because I want something in return, but because it makes me feel good afterwards and it is enough just for me to know that. I don’t need, or want to tell the world about it”. In the world of retail, the world will tell itself about you.
The level of cynicism, disinterest, impatience, rudeness in much of our retail experience today is disheartening, it indicates that genuine kindness and sharing isn’t really evident in lives of lots of people.
In the main young people today ‘share’ because they can and because it feels natural to them. They don’t have the same need to ‘own’ things as previous generations. The young have begun the ‘sharing for free’ rave, only they didn’t feel a need to label it (perhaps they knew that we old’uns would eventually do that for them).
I urge everyone to be kind to as many people as they can for just one day.
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If at the end of it you don’t feel good, indeed better than you ever did, then clearly there will never be a need to read anything I write ever again!
But I fully expect lots of you lovely readers to email me (firstname.lastname@example.org) with great stories of how you felt, what happened, and that you have indeed been more successful in business as a direct result of actively seeking opportunities for you to be kind to suppliers, colleagues, employees, collaborators, customers, and anyone coming into contact with you and your work. Especially if you currently work in Retail or Hospitality, your customers started out in a good mood … so don’t ruin it, make it even better.
To ‘The Cynics’ I’m not a person of any religion, cult, or (so-called) ‘do-gooding’ group. My work at Scarlet Opus gives me an awareness of many global issues, innovations, creativity, learning to a level and degree that I’ve never enjoyed before. In this business I ‘found’ sharing, in my work. I liked what I read, so I tried sharing what I knew. I liked it even more, and the accompanying feeling, and so will try to keep it going.
Kindness has never been needed more than in our High Street shops, restaurants, cafes, bars, hotels …. and I believe that it will be welcomed and enjoyed like the return of a long lost friend.
So be kind, share without expectation, it’s the way forward in business and life.
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Be kind and see what happens for you. You won’t intend for anything to happen because you’ll simply be enjoying being kind and getting ‘that feeling’ (you’ll know what it is when you get it) after you’ve been kind to someone and seen the impact it had on them.
If you’d like some help exploring how Kindness can be introduced into your place of business (no matter how large or small it is) please call or text me (+44 7896 088 996), email me (email@example.com), tweet me whichever you like… Speak to you soon, don’t leave it too long I’m looking forward to it!