Balancing Act: The Newsletter (No. 165, May 2013 )
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I'm back at Castle Hill Inn in Newport conducting another Million Dollar Consulting® College. We have a full program with people from four countries.
As I pull up, everyone greets me by name, from the valets, who have pylons around a specific parking spot, to the front desk people who have my keys waiting for me. The general manager has placed a note with an 18-year Scapa single malt in my room. I give this place a great deal of business in its "off" season.
But it doesn't take that much to make us feel comfortable and appreciated. I've been thinking about businesses which I patronize regardless of comparative prices. Here are some common traits:
Whether a retail outlet, hotel, printer, restaurant, airline, or theater, these small acts can generate large returns. (My usher at the theater last night acted as if she had never before seen either a ticket or a seat. It's a poor start to the evening.)
What are we doing to make people whom we want to attract more comfortable to be with us? I know one thing: We have to put ourselves in their shoes, not expect them to be in ours.
Speaking of which, I hope the price of Balancing Act is reasonable!
The human condition: Helping others
The tragedy at the Boston Marathon demonstrated clearly our capacity and willingness to help others without spending time debating the need. Strangers, bystanders, passers-by, employees of businesses all rushed to assist people who needed aid, sometimes savings lives in those acts.
People were compliant with authorities' requests to stay at home, despite inconvenience and lack of information. There was no whining, no law suits, no demands for exceptions.
Enough people have written about the circumstances and content of what transpired. I want to talk about the process. We are all capable of such charitable and selfless acts every day, but we often deny or elide them in our behavior as we would omit a "silent" part of speech. The contractions in our speech become contractions in our behavior, and sometimes we're the poorer for it.
How often are we providing a compliment for someone doing a good job and not expecting the praise? How difficult is it to say "thank you" to a vender or delivery person? I'm constantly amazed at people who request of me a free sample or a correction in an address without so much as a "please" or "thank you."
I've seen 40 drivers pass a car in the opposite direction waiting to turn left against their line of traffic, without one of them allowing the maneuver. What kind of blow to one's ego is it to wait three seconds to allow someone to turn? Ironically, I find that people attending mass at my church, to whom I may be serving Communion or vice versa, don't allow me to make that kind of turn into the parking lot! Their Christian charity apparently begins at the door!
Robespierre observed once that "No man can climb outside the limitations of his own character." It seems to me that our society has to be composed of small acts of kindness every day, whether a door held open, some good-intentioned advice, a gratuity, or time invested in a good cause. We simply become better people by helping others.
It shouldn't require a catastrophe to demonstrate character.
New Workshop: KEEPING YOUR MONEY
THE GAME CHANGER FOR MANY OF YOU:
And these terrific sessions authorized by Alan:
I enjoy taking the dogs to Dunkin Donuts, getting coffee for Maria and me and munchkins for them. They know the drill and crowd me when the server comes to the drive-through window with the goods. I hate it when I'm in line behind a dawdler, who has to count change and perfectly arrange the cups in the cup holders, and I noticed a line was gathering behind me. So, I wanted to get out of the way.
However, I couldn't move the truck. I placed it in gear twice, and it would not move. People were staring from inside and out. I'm not crazy about the BMW shift mechanism, but I was sure I had moved it to "drive."
That's when I looked at the dashboard. A light was on. Buddy Beagle was standing on the emergency brake button while he polished off his munchkin.
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