Tin ShingleING with Kindness: Are you a Squeaky Wheel People WANT to Oil?


"Do you love well? Do you lead by example? Do you do quality – even exceptional -- work? Can you reach for compassion in a tense situation? Are you open to learning? Are you open, period? Each day, something. Burrow into the nuance. In 2012, look beyond driven and accomplished and think versatile and kind."

These words really hit home to me when reading the latest column from one of my favorite writers, Nancy Colasurdo, from her weekly Game Plan series on Fox Business News.  Outside of being an amazing writer, Nancy is a certified life coach.  That has meant she has always been able to get to the heart and soul of every story we've worked on together (including this awesome one about Tin Shingle), but beyond that, she's able to dig deep into the topics, behaviors and habits that will make you both a better business owner as well as a better person.

When I saw that the title of her piece this week was "You’re Accomplished, But Are You Kind?" I had to read it.  It's like Nancy had been reading my mind over the past week.  I'm fortunate to be surrounded by amazing entrepreneurs and small business owners on a daily basis, and communicate with scores of them via email, phone, Skype, in-person and so forth.  It's not only my passion, but it's my job to help them succeed.  That said, I'm not going to lie, it's much easier to help (and want to help) people to succeed when they are genuine, kind, grateful and more or less, good people.  It's human nature! On top of that, I, like many people this January, made resolutions and set intentions to continue to work on living my best life.  Part of that means surrounding myself with people who bring me joy.  I can promise you that this leaves very little room for people who aggravate me or are lacking in respect or kindness.

In my book, being good doesn't mean behaving that way when you want something or being kind simply when asking for a favor.  It also means saying thank you, saying please and treating everyone from my interns to television producers with respect and kindness.  It means respecting our schedules and our busy days, and knowing that being great - even the best - at what you do doesn't entitle you to any more than anyone else nor does it allow you to break the rules when it comes to manners and etiquette.

Jennifer Walsh, an entrepreneur I admire oh so much, recently said this to me about the situation and I have to share it as she sums it up quite nicely: "People need to learn the business, and the business of business."  Because you see, people see through that.  And in business, media and life in general, people have long memories.  Who wants to work with someone that isn't pleasant to be around or who comes across as insincere?  Not many!  There are plenty of people out there who have a product/expertise/business to yours, and if they are nicer, they will be the person who scores the next great deal or television segment over you. 

As Nancy points out, we're often quick to celebrate our business success (and rightly you should) but we don't always celebrate our and our peer's great attitudes and behaviors.  We examine and agonize the smallest details in our business and marketing plans, but are we doing the same to our behavior?  Our team's behavior? After all, your team is a direct reflection of you and your brand.

I encourage you to take a step back this week, and think about your approach when going after your business goals.  Is your attitude an "it's all about me" approach?  Even if it's thinly veiled by a slightly genuine air of graciousness, it won't be for long.  They say the squeaky wheel gets the oil, but I truly believe these days there are A LOT of wheels that need to be oiled and not enough oil to go around.  So what do you do?

  • Be a wheel someone wants to tend to. 
  • Be a business people think of when opportunity arises because they find working with you a pleasure! 
  • Don't wait until you're sending a thank you note to be gracious, and don't turn on the charm only when you need something.
  • Be a kind, calm and easy to work with person from start to finish! 

Life is short, but business and personal memories are long!  Let's make this year memorable in a positive way...at the end of the day, it's going to be easier on everyone, and your business will thank you!