Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Kindness Makeover

In an earlier blog I referenced some of the learnings from Ed Horrell's book, The Kindness Revolution. A quote that he stated that really resonated with me was “Don’t fight…Make it Right!”

From a conflict resolution and leadership perspective, this is such an important belief to helping people move beyond the problem and blame to solutions, forgiveness and change.

In 2007 I had the pleasure of working on a Community Expo project, a massive community event which included a conference, trade show, workshops and more. One of my responsibilities was the Kindness Booth. I worked with the Kindness Crew, an amazing team of four young men who were on a mission to bring more kindness to the world. They did a phenomenal presentation, and left the audience with many thoughts about kindness.  At my Kindness Booth, I had many "supplies" to help people create their own random acts of kindness.  With a team of initially reluctant teenagers, our community kindness revolution began. Flower shops had donated flowers, local gift stores donated some chocolates, we had cards and blank paper and envelopes, many printed kindness products from various kindness websites such as the Random Act of Kindness Foundation (book marks, stickers, door plaques, quotes, colouring pages), and many other supplies.  In a couple of hours there was nothing left.  The once reluctant teens came running back saying things like "Charmaine. We are out of flowers. People are loving us being so kind. They are being kind to others. One lady's flower was passed forward to so many people we lost count. This is AWESOME!"  One year later when I was struggling to carry a box of workshop materials into a local college, A young man helped me and said "Here. This is for you!" It was a pay it forward card I had handed out at the booth (it had the date of the event and event logo on it so I knew for sure). With tears in my eyes I asked "were you there? At this event?" He said "No" I got it from a stranger in a coffee shop a couple of months ago. I was having a tough day."  WOW! Who knows how many people had held this kindness card in their hand, and many acts of kindness had originated from one simple little card, and an act of unconditional kindness!

Ed Horrell talks about the importance of removing reluctance and indifference to spread kindness.  He suggests that the ways to eliminate indifference are:

- Use your customer’s name in the conversation and ensure staff do not call them “hun”, “sweetie”, “buddy”, “my dear”, etc.

- Eye contact

- Find out what is important to the customer

- Active listening

- Non defensive behavior

- If you see a problem, fix it

- Cleanliness reflects care

If you want to give your team and company and Extreme Corporate Makeover, Horrell suggests a few powerful first steps:

- Survey your customers

- Prepare to do what your customers want

- Focus group to plan the changes and how to implement the changes

- Develop a customer credo (e.g. the Ritz Carlton’s is “Ladies and Gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen")

- Talk about customer service every day

- Review customer service objectives

- Put your standards out there for others to see. Some of my clients have posted and framed them in their waiting room or by the front door.

- Make your motto and credo a promise and part of your staff’s uniform or what they bring to work everyday

And of course, Practice kindness in every conversation and contact.  What can you do today to create a ripple effect of kindness in your team?

I am so excited to unveil our February 2012 Kindness Initiative.  During Kindness week, we'll reveal the details! 

To learn more about Ed Horrell's Kindness Revolution, follow: