My mom gave me an article recently about a book she thought I’d find interesting. She was 100% right. The book is called “Choosing Civility” by P. M. Massimo. It’s about the trend in our world that has us focusing too much on ourselves and not enough on each other. The author starts the book this way:
“As we grapple with the complexities of our age, I suggest in this book that we agree on one principle: that a crucial measure of success in life is the way we treat one another every day of our lives.”
I couldn’t agree more.
After discussing why we don’t treat each other as well as we should and why we should treat each other better, Massimo offers 25 rules to help us implement his advice. He gets very specific about the ways we can treat each other better, every day.
For example, he talks about listening. He points out a classic, yet little discussed tactic most of us use in our conversations: “Disregard and proceed”.
This happens when a person we’re talking with says something and we fail to respond directly to what they say. We choose to ignore what they said and we dive in to what we want to talk about. Massimo uses himself as an example. He describes a conversation where a friend tells him she went to Florida for vacation. Rather than ask how her vacation was, he tells her all about his experiences with Florida. It seems relevant, but it’s not. He’s taken the conversation from her and made it about him. He’s show no focus, no concern and no consideration for the other person in the conversation.
Yet we do this all the time. I’m as guilty as anyone.
It’s easy for us to do this and things like it. We get caught up in our world, our experiences, our opinions and our feelings. And, I think we often feel we don’t get the attention we want from others, so we compensate by making most of what we do about us. Then this permeates every aspect of our day, every conversation, every task and every interaction we have with others. It reminds me of the country western song by Toby Keith, “I Wanna Talk About Me”.
It doesn’t make us bad people. It can make us a pain to be around, though.
I like this book it because it puts the accountability where it belongs: on me. I can’t improve my relations with other people by expecting them to change. I can’t do it by labeling them, criticizing them or judging them. All I can do is change what I do and how I do it.
If you want to improve your customer loyalty, read this book. Then find ways to help every person in your organization understand the importance on treating others well. Help them see they have a choice to be good to each other and that it’s the right thing to do. Your customers and employees will thank you with amazing loyalty.