In the cut & thrust profit-making world is there room for kindness and goodwill? We are not talking about strategies that hide hard negotiation or secret marketing tactics but genuine gestures of goodwill. This sounds like a quick way to lose money and run-down your company.
Last month Virgin Media sent my sister a free brand new iPad, for no reason at all but to say thank you for being a customer and to invite her to use their new app. It arrived by courrier after they simply called to ensure someone would be in to receive ‘a parcel’. My sister could not believe her luck, nor my Brother-in-Law who had just saved himself a Christmas present! It was immediately posted on Facebook and all close friends heard of what a wonderful surprise and of course how kind of Virgin Media! Me, being a Sky customer wished I had still been a Virgin customer for the chance of the free gift….
At a time when financial pressures during the economic downturn are top of the agenda, the fiscal and accounting driving forces are paramount. However they cannot rule outright in the strategy of the company. Success will still be needed in order to survive and maintain long-term balance sheet objectives. During these times, a workforce need more than the physical elements of their daily routines, they thrive where true emotional engagement and motivation are a part of everyday work and are keys to unlocking better work outcomes that benefit both employees and the business.
- Whilst not entirely the same – many big businesses understand the value in ‘free marketing’. Google is now one of the biggest grossing worldwide businesses that started out on the back of giving away valueable services for free. Whilst we know Google’s business model is based on controlling and exploiting the mass of information it gathers as a result, we still choose to use it (a large majority).
- In his book The Speed of Trust, Stephen Covey Jnr extolled the business sense in acting ethically and building relationships of trust in business. He argued that where there exist high levels of mutual trust in a business relationship, there lies high levels of efficiency and profitability. Trust is gained by acting in both your own and other’s interests at the same time.
- Any business, whether great or small, has people at its core including; shareholders, managers, service providers and customers. And each of those individuals is a real person. During any economic downturn there is a need to tighten belts, remove inefficiencies and redstribute resources but businesses sacrifice long-term potential when they do this without remembering the human element.
- Acts of kindness must be unexpected and without a catch in order to be successful. Loyalty comes from doing things that benefit others when you do not have to.
Share your experiences and insights on Kindness in Business & read more in these articles:
Is Kindness a Strategy? Harvard Business Review
The Business of Kindness, Book by Olivia McIvorcache – Creating work environments where people thrive
The Business of Kindnesscache – Radio 4 In Business
Better Business: acts of kindnesscache – Guardian business news article