Casting Off Negativity To Bolster Your Practice’s Success
- Volume 27 - Issue 2 - February 2014
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There are so many good business improvement books out there to read and when you find one that really has an impact on you, you want to share it. One such book is The Power of Nice: How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness by Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval. The premise was nothing new and yet I wondered: if so many people know this, why don’t we practice it more?
Some days, it appears there are more insensitive people around than nice ones. If you don’t believe me, pay attention on your next airplane trip. Many passengers seem to think the flight is their personal transport and overhead luggage space is reserved in their name. What about cell phone courtesy? Ha!
That said, I suspect many of us would consider ourselves nice people. I know I do. Look around though. Unfortunately, a lot of what we see is nicety by design, nicety by convenience, nicety by selection or nicety for the sake of acceptability. Waking up each morning and devising ways we can be nice today is just not something that we typically do as a society. There are too many daily interactions that easily set us off and instead of being kind, we allow (key word: allow as in choose) a more negative reaction. It can be as simple as a bad hair day or a wrong coffee order, or something much more provoking like an inconsiderate driver cutting us off (and then offering the ubiquitous hand gesture as if it was somehow our fault).
Our offices are not immune to negativity either. I find it interesting that some doctors and staff go out of their way to treat their patients politely, but refrain from saying nice words to each other. Sometimes, there isn’t even a shared “Good morning!” I see unresolvable conflict between partners and front and back office staff who ironically have a static mission statement hanging on their wall representing them as a care team.
Sadly, it takes much less effort to turn on negativity than it does to turn on niceness, even though there is much more to be gained by being nice. Thinking optimistically, I would like to believe that if more people tried a little harder to acknowledge the positive response of paying an unexpected compliment or a word of appreciation, reaching out to someone in need or giving encouragement to someone who could use a boost in morale, negativity would have a much more difficult time rearing its ugly head.
While this book speaks mostly from an advertising perspective, it is packed full of customer service and life lessons that we can use both personally and professionally. It teaches Six Principles of Nice and even the best of us could stand a daily dose. As we’re not too far off from our resolutions for the new year, I can’t think of a better time to read these simple principles and commit to making at least one new practice improvement (that won’t even cost a penny).
Principle #1: How Positive Impressions Are Like Seeds
Not long ago, there was a commercial on TV showing how one act of kindness toward one individual encouraged the recipient of that kindness to do something nice for someone else and so forth and so on. This concept has become known as “paying it forward” and teaches us that whether or not we personally witness the consequence of our one nice deed, it can actually end up touching or impacting the lives of many others in a very positive way.
The authors Thaler and Koval describe how we are so busy starring in our own movie that we tend to forget or ignore our supporting cast, and forget to plant the necessary seeds of kindness. This is something we could fix if we were resigned to be more attentive and took the time to appreciate those around us.