How the Golden Rule Impacts the Bottom Line.
It's the holy grail of a progressive society + bustling economy.
The Golden Rule is a maxim of reciprocity with remarkable powers to transform the culture of any organization into an attraction-based machine. The golden rule of the Bible states, "do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. In today's economy and culture – it seems that this is a powerful principle that is so overlooked, and many times forgotten altogether. Our society today is about ME, i.e., "what's in it for me" – how is it going to make me happy, rather than being remotely concerned about the well-being, or the feelings, of others.
People (generally) buy good and services at the businesses that make them “feel valued”. When we go to an appliance store, and see a gathering of employees outside on a smoke break while only a few people are on the floor to serve the many customers - we quickly surmise that this business could care less about our business. We walk out and take our business elsewhere.
Not only does this insensitive mindset ultimately wreck the best of relationships, but it slowly brings demise to a business, or organization.
Why is it called the "golden rule"?
It’s intended to be reciprocal, and responsive. If the first words spoken are offensive, apathetic or disrespectul by an employee speaking to a customer — we, as that customer, should respond with empathy — and in kindness, regardless. Returning rude with rude only magnifies and multiplies the selfish mindset. And when the roles are switched, and we receive undignified response from customers, we must resist the tendency to retaliate — but must demonstrate dignity, even when someone doesn’t deserve it. Listen, we’ve all been there, having a bad day and we become snapping turtles to everyone. Yet when a perfect stranger in a store, restaurant, subway or at work treats us with the utmost and underserved kindness and dignity — doesn’t that just rock the core of the heart? Reality splashes like a bucket of cold water to deliver a wake-up call. Suddenly, there is attraction to this person’s random act or words of kindness.
EMPATHY VS. APATHY
Serve others in kindness and with dignity, and they will be attracted to you, to your business, like a magnet. This is empathy - and it’s golden.
And the reason is because the Golden Rule is about how we want to be treated - and transferring that into our actions toward others.
The prevailing attitude of today is apathy - and it’s accepted far too readily.
It’s an attitude epidemic.
WE JUST DON’T CARE, ENOUGH.
All to soon, this can lead to …we just don’t care at all.
Allow me to provide a few examples.
What about the response that we have to the less-than-dignified actions that are spoken, or taken against us? Why does it make a difference how we respond to:
The deli or fast-food clerk who merely mumbles or grumbles as they take our order
That customer “service” rep that has no inkling of what they’re talking about and no idea of how to help.
The cashier and the bagger at the grocer talking about personal matters, or issues with their boss or hours while scanning and bagging our items.
Or the receptionist who ignores our presence while clearly talking or texting to a friend
Rather than respond in frustration or indignant, as we are inclined to do, empathy requires us to immediately put ourselves in their shoes - doing what they are doing, and maybe having a very bad day. How would we want to be responded to, in that scenario?
Kindness, patience, self-control, restraint. Now that’s different.
But that is what changes things - it’s what wins at the end of the day.
IT MELTS THE ICE.
Not necessarily in that moment, but the kind words do work powerfully to change an attitude or a mindset. They are like planting seeds. Someone else comes along and waters that seed, and the kind, thoughtful reciprocation begins to sprout.
If we are (or want to be) in business for ourselves, whether providing a product or a service, if first and foremost objective is not to serve others in what we offer, then we should not bother being in business at all. Because ultimately it just will not have long-term success. It can't.
The objective of every CEO is sensed by the top level management that interacts with this executive on a daily basis. And it trickles down to the entire organization of the company quicker than most would think.
If that leading individual is not truly all about the customer and how they think and feel, then the rest of the company will not be about that either. Humans are savvy when it comes to detecting someone's sincerity. And if serving the customer is all hearsay – it will permeate the culture and the attitude of the entire company.
The attitude creates disrespect, flippancy and frustration.
Customer service functions with disregard toward the customer - demonstrating mere toleration at the disruption – therefore the customer senses this attitude from the staff that they encounter, and eventually will cancel their service or purchase their product from another competitor, given the next opportunity.
LIGHT PERMEATES DARKNESS - IT’S NOT THE OTHER WAY AROUND.
DARKNESS IS THE ABSENCE OF LIGHT.
What’s critical is to stop the insults - even when you’re in traffic and alone in your car.
Start considering others. Just that, consideration, will go such a long, long way.
That is how light breaks through even the darkest of places.
IT’S WHERE PROFITS RISE AND FALL - ON THE BOTTOM LINE.
An organization can have the best product or service, outstanding innovation, and tremendous talent - yet, if the culture (from the top) is not one of considering the people (employees and customers) as the most important and valuable asset, then ultimately, the company will not thrive.
If an employee senses the lack of appreciation, by the tone of the workplace or the uncomfortable conditions and unrealistic expectations - the result is rampant turnover which = no culture. No culture means no attraction for other potential employees - and ultimately, the customer will sense this as well. It comes through in the attitude of any interaction from the company - email responses, customer service, response time and/or poor quality, overall.
There is profit and power in serving others in business (a great article from Michael Hyatt).
PEOPLE MUST FEEL VALUED, APPRECIATED AND CONSIDERED - BECAUSE THEY MATTER.
When we treat our most valuable asset the way that we would want to be considered and appreciated… it’s the fuel to the formula. Without it, the proverbial needle doesn’t move. The organization becomes lifeless, even caustic, given time.
We have a long, long way to go.
I remember the days of etiquette. Do you? Somehow, my age group neglected modeling it, and teaching it. The entertainment industry has fostered and encouraged self promotion and satisfaction. It’s the me-factor. And the trickle-down affect has permeated our society.
It would be incredible to see an uprising, a ground-swell of people who commit to considering others — and treating them as we want to be treated.
This one epic moral maxim would change our family, friendships, business relationships, community and beyond. Find those golden moments where intentionally, we choose to respond, react or initiate a conversation with empathy.
THAT’S MY NEW MAXIM. GOLDEN MOMENTS.
And once these golden moments become more the norm (through awareness and repetition) than the exception, the we will have made a tremendous impact on the lives of others… and be a part of the golden movement.
Sounds lofty? Maybe. Maybe not.
Pay it forward. We are naturally attracted to kindness and consideration. So why not make that the mantra of our life and business, and see what it attracts.
It starts with one.