As the recession pounds on, it wears on people. Everyone is a little more uptight, a little more worried and as a result, perhaps a little more "me focused."
That gets in the way of us being capable of offering our customers, co-workers and employees something very valuable.
My definition? Simply offering support, forgiveness, or comfort to people in our world, whether they've earned it or not. In other words…cutting them some slack.
It's more than turning the other cheek. It's about assuming the best of everyone. It's being empathetic of where they're coming from. Meeting them where they're at. It's about choosing to give them the benefit of the doubt and being gentle.
It is acknowledging that they are human, in the humblest form.
Our clients/customers count on us to be their guide. They're the experts in their field and they look to us to be their expert in ours. We've promised to show them how to get where they want to go. It's our job to get them there as safely and effectively as possible.
Do clients always behave like we'd want them to? Do they always make the best decisions or react with the speed, amplitude or enthusiasm that we'd prescribe? Do they drop the ball? Or hand it off to the wrong person/team? Or forget about conversations about potential consequences and decisions made until there's a problem?
You know the answers to all of those questions.
But here are the questions that truly matter. What was their intent? What was in their heart?
Hopefully when we slow down and ask those questions, it will be easy to offer our grace. I truly believe it's a customer retention tool every business needs to embrace.
(Drew's note: This was originally published in my weekly column in the Des Moines Business Record. Normally, I don't re-use that content here but I received so many notes, e-mails and calls about the column that I decided it would be worth breaking my self-imposed rule and sharing it with you as well.)
Drew, great article. We talk about just that concept in our shop, too. We call it the “what if they just found out they (or someone they love) have cancer” approach. The point is, you never know what someone else has going on in their life at any given moment. Maybe they just got the worst possible news and are still reeling. Chances are they’re not trying to be rude/mean/stupid/redundant (insert whatever is annoying you) to you. Compassion is due to every fellow human being all the time.
The day the personal touches and the relationship elements of our business are gone is probably the day computers do it all.
I can’t imagine creative, vibrant communicators wanting to work in that world at all, can you?
That’s a great way to make the point in a very real, human way.
I often think of the many times I wasn’t at my best and how often others were graceful in letting me slide. It seems right to offer the same.
That was a nice little read you gave us. Happy Friday!
Perfect timing. I heard on the radio that a women who did not get a fork with her fast food order returned to the counter and began screaming at the employees. When tossed out of the place, she attempted to run the manager over with her car. I could not help but wonder what really triggered this behavior. Surely, the missing fork was the straw that broke the camels back (or at least I hope that was it). What would have happened if everyone who came in contact with her had offered her grace.
Food for thought!
Your story is the perfect reminder of how grace does or doesn’t play out in the most mundane moments of our lives.
We can’t really go wrong by working hard to extend a bit of extra grace to everyone we come across.