OLD IS NEW AGAIN by Marci Holzer, Executive Vice President Image Dynamics
What does the television show Mad Men, the rage for vintage fashion, and a craving for whole, unprocessed foods have to do with this column? It is my observation that there is a significant population out there yearning to recapture the past in our fast-paced, twitter-tweeting world. A world where it is not unusual to find people (a salesperson, a colleague) stopping a face-to-face conversation to take a cell phone call or to glance at a newly arrived text message. (Don’t even get me going when I see someone texting at 55 miles per hour.)
Speaking of 55, it just so happens to be my age, and I remember when the concept of courtesy was a matter of everyday life. Regardless of your age, you may find it interesting that in 1922, Doubleday published Nella Henney’s, The Book of Business Etiquette, a remarkable feat as most women were not a part of the business world, let alone considered an authority to critique a predominately male domain.
While Emily Post concentrated on social etiquette, Nella Henney—a confidante, trusted advisor, and publisher of Helen Keller—gives us a rare vision into the sage business advice of yesterday. The concepts brought to light in 1922 are as relevant in 2012 as they were then. Test these early 20th century practices out in the workplace and watch your career advance:
1. Live the Golden Rule — Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.
Living by this Code of Conduct rarely backfires. Think of the people you admire, chances are they have earned your respect by following this simple tenant.
2. Relationships that took time to establish can be terminated by one careless or discourteous act.
Imagine the regret of losing a valuable relationship because in the heat of the moment your words or actions were hurtful, rude, or indifferent. Practice restraint of tongue and pen. Ponder a situation before rushing to hit the send button.
3. Sincerely deliver apologies and appreciation whenever appropriate.
Let’s face it. We all make mistakes. Taking ownership of those mistakes and making appropriate amends often mitigates the damages. Including a “but” in your apology renders it null and void. People respect humility; demonstrating this quality pays off in spades. Remember, courtesy ala Eddie Haskell (from Leave it to Beaver) will not count—disingenuous flattery can be spotted a mile away. Random acts of kindness create win-win situations.
This is my first article as the newest member of the Image Dynamics team. I want to express my heartfelt thanks for inviting me to be a part of your continued success.