Those who use the “It’s just business” mantra as justification for their actions are easy to identify too…
The new playbook for entrepreneurs starts with these rules:
- Do right
Do right. By everyone. All the time!
It’s as simple as the golden rule: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. This new rule applies to your customers, clients, team members, partners, community, industry…or in other words, anyone involved in or affected by your business. If you need help making consistently good decisions that do right by people, here is a list of questions you can run through:
- Why do I really want to make this decision? What are my motivations? What spurred me to make this decision?
- What obligations and responsibilities as a leader, entrepreneur and fellow human being do I have with the people affected by this decision?
- Have I asked for feedback and input of people I trust and respect who will be honest with me about the decision I’m making?
2. Do good
Doing good is always the right thing to do. But doing good is specifically about impact. Positive impact. Making a difference. Changing the world for the better. When I think about doing good, the word “goodwill” comes to mind, “friendly, helpful, cooperative feelings or attitude.” I’d add “acting on” those feelings and attitudes to that as well. Here are some ways to do good:
- Participate — Get active in your community and industry. Engage and support activities that promote a better community. Bet Hannon told me as part of this book: “Part of giving, participating, mentoring is recognizing that you have something to contribute.”
- Lead — When others complain, step up and lead to make a difference. Give credit where credit is rightly due.
- Mentor — Pour yourself into others. Pass on your experience and expertise and time investing in other people.
- Champion — Stand up for what’s right and for your customers and team.
- Give — Give generously of your time, talent and treasure. Give back when the time comes. And always be paying it forward. Everybody started somewhere…and that includes you.
Here are some simple ways you can show you care:
- Ask about them and their unique stories first. Don’t dominate the conversations about you, your work and what they should buy from you. And as they are opening up to you, don’t be scanning the room for other people to talk to!
- Treat ALL people like human beings with immense value. No one is insignificant. Everybody matters. I’m amazed at how poorly people treat others they deem to not matter in the grand scheme of things. I make eye contact, say hello and when I can introduce myself and say, “Very nice to meet you.” You’d be surprised how awful receptionists or assistants are treated, when in fact, do you know who actually has the ear of the influencers?!
- Remember names and stories. I know when someone remembers my name I feel important and valued, don’t you? Yes, sometimes I blank on names too, so I try to think about the people I might be meeting beforehand and recall and practice them. When in doubt, I admit to being foggy and reintroduce myself to them.
4. Be genuine and authentic
Here’s some thoughts about being the original:
- Being real and being you is simply easier. It takes less energy, focus and time. Resources you could use for long-term gains for you and others.
- Illusions aren’t sustainable. When they eventually fade or flicker, you’re just found to be a fraud.
- We all crave genuine relationships and intimacy. When you’re playing a part and wearing a mask, you can’t have either.
- You’ll win fans, followers and friends. It’s increasingly refreshing to find people who are authentic and real because it gives us permission to also be ourselves. Thus, people will actually want to spend time with you because you’re not trying to fool them.
5. Be open and honest
Here are some things I’ve learned about being open and honest in business:
- Most people simply want to know the what and the why. As best you can, share those details. “Here is what happened…” and “Here’s why we decided this…” They won’t always be happy about your decision or agree with it, but at least they know you’re being open, honest and forthright about it.
- It shows you have nothing to hide. When you don’t communicate at all, it promotes cynicism and doubt. In a vacuum of details, people will conjure up the worst.
- Use it to showcase your principles and values. It demonstrates your moral compass. And yes, part of writing this is to share mine with our customer community, our partners, so they know who they are dealing with.
- Do it to keep earning the trust and respect of those we serve. Just sharing being open and honest and sharing the why behind your decisions earns loyalty and trust — keys to leading people and growing a business.
6. Serve others
Employees “serve” us by showing up and doing work that benefits our companies, applying their time, talents, ideas to the team and organization. We as entrepreneurs, serve them in many ways from ensuring a safe, comfortable yet productive work environment for them to use their skills to seeking the best health insurance that meets the widest needs, or by simply taking up the slack when they have a death in the family.
Here are some additional tips for serving others:
- Approach your business with an attitude of mutual service. It is infectious.
- Show others preference and priority. Let others go first in the lunch line. Open doors for them. Give them your undivided attention.
- Be willing to do what you ask others to do. Take out the trash too. Stay late on a deadline with them, even if you just keep them company.
- Respect and value people in their service to others. Everybody can and should contribute. And even if their contribution might not be as big or valuable as another’s show that you value them for their service and contribution.
- Weed out those who seek only to be selfishly served. We don’t want to be ME Monsters, nor do we want ME Monsters in our business. It doesn’t align with the New Rules we’re seeking to live by.
I promise you, as I’ve seen in my life and business, one thing…Invest in people and they will invest in you, your business, your vision. And in this case, everybody’s going to win. Big!