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Friday, September 22, 2006

Not all good deeds get punished

Not all good deeds get punished

The trick is knowing which ones, or one, go unpunished.

I had lunch with a friend of mine awhile back. He's a vendor partner and kind enough to take me to lunch. And we got to talking about family and what a wonderful universe that can be. He reminded me of the saying..."No good deed goes unpunished." Yeah, we both had some rich stories about family.

You never know. That's the trick. You never know which good deed goes unpunished. And you're always surprised by those that do get punished...in a wow, that...huh...how's that work...we did this and in return...ok, whatever kinda way.

But the real surprise, the one that makes it all worthwhile is the one where someone appreciates it, says it, shares it, maybe even builds on it, adds to it.

And a friendship's created.

You know what I'm talking about, I hope. That friend that...just stays your friend for freakin' forever. Ups and downs, marriages, divorces, job changes, changes of living...they're always there. It's a puzzle why almost everything you do in that friendship goes so unpunished...more than that...goes rewarded. They're your fans. Fanatics. Loyal. Even evangelical.

You think there should be cookie cutter you buy. Do x; get y. That's not how it works.

And that's why so it's so rare to duplicate. Why we treasure it when it happens.

You hear a lot about creating loyalty and even evangelical feelings among your customers and employees for your company. It's silly, really. Trying to generate the depth of feelings among true friends by some modulation of a product or service or packaging or clever viral email cartoon...

But what if you had that as your company goal? Sure, it's unlikely you'd ever reach it. Reach for the sky and all that. But seriously. What if...what if you took the same care and commitment, patience and honesty, compassion and forgiveness, you have with your best friend and your spouse and you brought it to your interactions at work.

(I'm not encouraging you to assign pet names to your co-workers or customers. Years ago my wife and I picked the schmarmiest sappiest pet names for each other. Just for kicks. We'd heard a couple nauseate us with theirs. So being the competitive types we wanted to match or exceed them...hey it's a dynamic that works for us. The names stuck. Hers stuck, anyway. Punk n' doodle. See: nauseating. It's since been shortened to Punk. )

But back to the topic. Sure, much of your efforts would go unrewarded at first. Some would be punished. And only a small percentage of your interactions would yield that gold. But what gold that would be! Whew! Such loyalty from both sides: theirs and yours. Just like the best of friends.

And what of the others? What if you failed to reach that with all the other calls and emails...think how much closer you came.

I don't know. It's Friday. Punk's waiting for me to come home. But as I think through all the hoops and leaps we all do to market our services, to differentiate them, to motivate our colleagues and co-workers and all the blah-blah about emotional bling-bling with customers...Just treat 'em like your best friend, treat 'em like I treat Punk...the rest will work itself out. Just like with friends.

Friends are the ones who never find a good to punish.

Have a good weekend.

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