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.)