October 17th, 2012 14:35 EST
Kindness is the Invisible Bottom Line and #1 Business Value
Og Mandino, author of The Greatest Salesman in the World, once said, "Beginning today, treat everyone you meet as if they were going to be dead by midnight. Extend to them all the care, kindness and understanding you can muster, and do it with no thought of any reward. Your life will never be the same again."
Well, I can attest that this priceless wisdom is true. I was in Seattle, Washington - corporate headquarters for Amazon.com, Starbucks, Microsoft, and Costco - and had an opportunity to connect with Blair de Laubenfels and Christy Weber, the founders of the brilliant business, Junebug Weddings (www.junebugweddings.com). When I look at the multi-faceted billion-dollar wedding industry, I continue to be amazed by its thought leaders who decide to Vuja de the entire industry and shift in a fresh direction.
I first met Blair and Christy through my dear friend and former Disney colleague, Rebecca Grinnals (www.engage12.com), at one of her events in the Cayman Islands. We decided that the next time I came to Seattle we would connect. Well, when I asked them about their business philosophy, they said that their secret ingredient for success is that their business is built on kindness.
Kindness has been their number one business value since they started in 2007. When new employees join their team, it`s the first thing Blair and Christy train them to understand, and it`s the quality they emphasize most when speaking on the topic of brand cohesion to other wedding professionals. It directly impacts the people they hire, the couples who visit their website, and the clients they serve.
Blair described it this way: "Opportunity is like a giant, delicious pie. Instead of trying to eat the entire pie, which might make you sick, why not take a slice, pass it around, and make a friend?" She then went on to say, "Create a relationship, not just a sale, and your business and life will thrive."
Then Christy chimed in to say, "It`s important to make people feel heard and respected in every interaction. Always leave space for kindness, and you may just be surprised to find out that not only do people appreciate it, but they become your unofficial marketing department."
These ladies keep an ongoing rave sheet with hundreds of glowing reviews from their readers and members, and they`re grateful and delighted that a large portion of their sales come from their clients telling other wedding professionals about the brilliance, kindness, and authenticity of their business.
In the last five years, Junebug Weddings has become one of today`s most popular, trend-setting, and well-respected wedding brands, promoting the world`s best wedding photographers, planners, and designers, and this fall they will be adding the world`s best wedding venues to their list.
Here are five tips on how kindness will positively impact your bottom line:
Examine Your Purpose - Be in business to make meaning in addition to making money. In the book Firms of Endearment: How World-Class Companies Profit from Passion and Purpose, authors Raj Sisodia, Jag Sheth, and David Wolfe say, "We`re entering an Age of Transcendence, as people increasingly search for higher meaning in their lives, not just possessions. This is transforming the marketplace, the workplace, the very soul of capitalism. Increasingly, today`s most successful companies are bringing love, joy, authenticity, empathy, and soulfulness into their businesses; they are delivering emotional, experiential, and social value - not just profits." You can reinforce this by giving feedback to employees on what`s working and what`s not working. This will allow them to course-correct in a forward direction.
Spread the Love - WOW...can you believe that I just used the word love in a business context? The reality is everyone wants it and knows when they don`t feel it. Find a way to exceed your customers` hopes and dreams by listening and asking, then surprising and delighting them with the smallest things. Call five clients you haven`t spoke with in a while, and don`t ask them for anything. Just tell them that you were thinking of them and wanted to say hello.
Pursue Significance and Success Will Follow - People are waking up all over the planet to realize that success is empty but significance is fulfilling. Success is a fleeting moment and significance is lasting. Success is lonely after the applause stops and the dust collects on the award plaque; however, significance is a constant companion that reminds us to serve all, love everyone, and never take anyone for granted. Success may come as the result of a position, acquisition, or fulfillment of an unmet need, but significance works diligently when no one is looking and understands that it`s better to give than to receive.
Forgive and Move On - Stop crying over spilled milk. It happened. Let it go and move on. You are wasting precious energy on trying to fix or change someone or something. It is what it is. The future moves toward you when you let go of whatever has been holding onto you.
Ask, "What Else Can I Do for You?" - This simple question shows that not only are you seeking to complete a transaction but you are interested in going the extra mile. What does this look like in your business? Seek opportunities to anticipate unspoken needs in every business relationship. This could make a brilliant difference and produce unexpected results.
Kindness in business is an invisible bottom line: You can`t see it but you know it`s there when you connect with it.
Simon T. Bailey