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What you want? You know I got it!

August 10, 2011

Respect is an intriguing thing. For whatever reasons, watching all this coverage of the London riots and thinking about the behavioural and economic factors underlying them – I’ve started to draw comparisons to a number of things in local news , and even my everyday business life.

You see, there’s not a religion or reasonable person in the word that doesn’t encourage us to respect others – no matter what. From memory, I think it’s Islam that actively encourages one to accommodate their worst enemy – if they are brave enough to ask you for it.

Confucius even said: “Without feelings of respect, what is there to distinguish men from beasts?”

For whatever reason – in the case of the London riots, there’s years of economic hardship, a generational gap, and even elements of racism and other prejudice that have bubbled beneath the surface – respecting others is such a simple thing and gets overlooked time and again; and often with an unpleasant result.

Think of a time when you received poor customer service without due cause – how did you feel and react? Simply being treated poorly by a shop clerk these days can result in people using their personal media to lambast businesses and organisations, start movements and produce a counter-attack’ of sorts.

I know I’ve done it several times without really intending it as a form of counteracting perceived disrespect. When the power company drilled in the street outside my living room until 3am on a Monday – I responded in kind, with social media as my weapon of choice. When my gym kept billing me for weeks after I had canceled all payments – I responded in kind with disrespect for the brand. When my local Member of Parliament used an anti-immigration slogan as his way of getting into office – I gave him back all the disrespect I could muster.

And after all that, here’s the kicker; Whether you’re a Community Manager, a politician, a Business Manager, or even just the shop clerk at the front desk that has just realized they’re being an ass – escalating the situation never works out as a ‘win-win’ situation, but defusing it re-establishes a sense of mutual respect. In my book, that’s good business, good politics, and a good way to conduct yourself as a human being.

While it might make me seem old, the message is simple – if you go about your life intent on disrespecting people, organisations and everyone that doesn’t suit your tastes and lifestyle – expect to get the same treatment.

But in the end, I think ‘Old Blue Eyes’ may have said it best:

 “Throughout my career, if I have done anything, I have paid attention to every note and every word I sing – I respect the song. If I cannot project this to a listener, I fail.” ~ Frank Sinatra 

Let that be a lesson for us all.


From → Business, General

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