The biggest disease this day and age is that of people feeling unloved.–Author Unknown
The software engineer put on Nirvana’s “In Utero” as he did every evening when he got home from work, took his gun out, loaded it, and tried to garner enough courage to put it in his mouth and squeeze the trigger. This was a ritual he had played out every night or the past year. While successful at work, he was miserable. He felt no one cared about him as a person- he was just another programmer, doing what programmers did, living a solitary life with no friends. Then one day, out of the blue, his boss sent him a personal e-mail- not related to code revisions, interface changes, or other work related items. But one that expressed his thanks and sincere appreciation for the work he had accomplished in the time he had worked there, and how he was valuable to the team not as just a programmer, but as a person. He told this employee that he was glad he knew him as a human being, not just as someone who typed away at his computer all day. That night the software engineer went through his daily ritual of putting on Nirvana, loading his gun, and for the first time- he was scared that he might actually go through with it. He sold the gun, and with the proceeds bought his boss a gift- and told him the story of how that simple gesture had saved his life. This story was related to Mark Deo and I on the small business hour this week by Tim Sanders, author of Love is the Killer App. He is at the forefront of a new wave of business thinking- not one focused on numbers, but one focused on people. His philosophy is that one must share three things in order to have a successful business relationship: knowledge, networks and compassion. By doing so you can not only help your business, but you can help others as human beings, much as in the story above. How does one share their knowledge? By staying informed reading about the latest trends in business reading about things that interest other people and then sharing that knowledge with people who are interested in it. How do you know what you should be reading? A great place to start is the list of books on our website www.smallbusinesshour.com. Tim Sanders also maintains a reading list on his web site at www.timsanders.com. Some publications that are excellent are business magazines such as Fast Company, Entrepreneur, Business Week, and Business 2.0. By reading these books and publications you’re making yourself valuable as a walking library to people that you speak with. This allows you to become a personal resource to others- someone who they can trust and count on for information. This in turn makes you as a person more valuable. What do we mean by sharing your networks? This is not some reference to computers and internet access- To share your networks you must take your personal contacts and instead of protecting them and hiding them in secrecy open them up to the world. Share your contacts with others who might find them to be of use. This can be a simple matter such as simply passing a phone number on to someone, or giving a referral. Better still is personally introducing two people who can both gain some value from establishing a new relationship. By doing so you become a business “matchmaker” of sorts- someone who helps others to achieve their goals through communication with people to which you introduce them. How does someone show compassion in business? It comes back to one of Dale Carnegie’s principles, “Become genuinely interested in other people.” Only by being interested in someone and showing that interest can you demonstrate that you care about them as people and not just as tangible resources. People respond to being cared for- you never know how making a small gesture can profoundly impact someone’s life. I encourage you to think of someone in your business life who you can show your love to this week. Become genuinely interested in them as a person- not to try and gain something from them, but to find common ground you share. Then discover what it is that interests them, and find some information about that topic that you can share with them. Find someone in your network of contacts who also has interest in the same topics, and introduce the two. You will be amazed at how that will endear you to both contacts, turning them from business relationships into personal friends. I’d love to hear your success stories at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a great week! This Business Update was written by SBA Network Business Advisor Matthew Walker- for more information, please contact him at 310-320-8190 or email@example.com.