“If you see your brother standing by the road…. with a heavy load… from the seeds he’s sowed…” so the song goes. It goes on to exhort us to “try a little kindness…” Sounds good? Would it help your business to be perceived as kind and benevolent? An enterprise people can’t do without? Intuitively, we know that to be true. It’s still good during the odd occasion when you “need to be cruel in order to be kind”. Is your business a kind one? Is it kind consistently or do you just happen to indulge in “random acts of kindness”? Now, while any form of kindness is definitely a plus, having it sporadically doesn’t really help. Your business need to be characterized by kindness. It needs to have a climate of kindness among staff, between the leaders and shop floor staff, suppliers and customers. An example is that kindness doesn’t mean allowing your customers to pay you late, or not at all. It is ensuring that your customers know that they had better not mess with you where payment is concerned, or there will be serious consequences. That helps them to grow as good and responsible customers, and helps to make them better businesses as well. Too many people seem to assume that the cliche “kindness is weakness” is for real. Well, it’s not!
Another example of being a “kind” business is that employees know very well that they either grow up or ship out. In that sense, Singapore as a nation is actually very kind to drug traffickers. When there is no ambiguity in the application of the death penalty, drug traffickers tend to steer clear. Arbitrary enforcement of similar laws causes confusion and does not contribute towards the maintenance of a climate of kindness.
At the end of the day, being known as a “kind” business simply means that you are in business because you can help people in a genuine way. That includes helping people grow in order to reach their full potential as human beings. Are you a “kind” business?