The world really is divided in business. There are those that see business as a winner-take-all and shed their humanity in the pursuit of cash. They look out for themselves. I know a lot of these people.
Then there are the people who see and understand business is about people. Business is personal. They strike that balance of profit and humanity.
I was struck by the Harvard Business Review article telling a story of kindness by Panera Bread Company and the learnings of Jeff Bezos at Amazon.com. Success came not because of pre-meditated strategies to lure buyers. It came because kindness between people was given, received and shared.
We hate gimmicks at AscendWorks. We write about it a lot. We don’t advise or practice trying to cheat Google. Ultimately, there is a lot of relentless and hard work to build a brand and reputation. Your content has to be real. Who you are has to be congruent with your message. You have to care and connect.
One of the things I appreciate about Jeff, my business partner, is not only his work ethic and creativity, but his heart. He makes us a better team. He looks for ways to be kind and I have never known anyone who practices such genuine kindness consistently.
Jeff’s example and actions bleed over into our work with clients. Some, who are more clever than kind, seek to exploit the kindness. However, those who seek to connect with their humanity really do appreciate it and become friends.
I am not sure this can be taught, nor do I want to package such authenticity. As the world does become more technical and the pressure continues to mount in each industry to compete, it’s rewarding to know that being kind is and always will be more important than being clever.
Have you been able to share your humanity with others while doing business? What’s it been like?