In Trust Agents, we talk a bit about attention as currency, and also about the idea that there are multiple types of currency. In Stephen R. Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Dr. Covey talks about the emotional bank account, and about the need to keep putting in current deposits, because old deposits (acts of kindness towards someone else) “age out,” and don’t go far in giving one credit for more recent experiences. Said another way, “If I call you a few times last month, it doesn’t count towards forgetting your birthday this month.” The same is obviously true in business, or at least it should be.
Two Types of Favors
There are two types of favors I do: ones that I think up, and ones that people ask of me. Over the last several weeks, I’ve performed lots of the first kind of favor. I love doing things for people when they don’t expect it. I never ever ever want anything back from people, either. That’s never what a favor is supposed to mean. The favor is for me. It’s for my feelings.
That other type of favor, where I’m asked to do something, I do most of them because I feel obligated, and I do some of them because the person asking is genuine and really deserves a break. These favors are for other people. In there, there’s the hope that someone will benefit from my effort, but still no real need to repay. That’s not why one does favors.
Random Acts of Kindness
Now, my favorite thing in the world to do is this kind of thing. I love promoting people who don’t expect to be promoted. I love putting little plugs in for things I like, for example my recent stay at the Trump International in Las Vegas. I loved the place, so I shot a promotional video for Man on the Go. There was nothing in it but just appreciation for what they do. I could do this kind of stuff all day.
It’s one of my secret missions: to see great people and wonderful companies get more credit.
How Companies Could Participate
I’ve been obsessed with Zappos since reading Delivering Happiness. I even joined their VIP club today, simply based on the fact that everyone in the business has the core mission of trying to add WOW to people’s days. Man, that’s cool.
There are companies out there just anxious and eager to pounce on doing good things for their customers and prospects. I was floored by Darion J Miller‘s offer to help with a random act of kindness the other day, because he did so, responding as part of Hubspot. Darion’s act transformed a lot of good will from himself onto my thoughts about Hubspot (though I already thought mostly good things about them).
But there are lots of companies out there thinking they’re in a war. They think that everything is about targets and acquisition, and the enemy. How do you think that shapes their view of business? How does that encourage them to participate?
Relationships And Currency
I learn something new every day. Yesterday, I learned that no matter what I’ve done in the past in support of an organization, it’s only the now that matters. I learned that my friendships matter more to me than any relationship I have with any company (bar none), and that most companies don’t value relationships as a default. I learned that we really haven’t come very far in the ideas of human business and relationship-minded business.
And as such, I’ve learned that I have more work to do in the coming years. Work that I embrace. That I’m anxious to carry out. And it involves empowering companies that believe that relationships matter, and empowering people to craft their businesses such that relationships are every bit as important as building revenue, and that the two actually go hand in hand, when executed well.
For the Favor Askers
Finally, a little trick: if you wanted to really rule the universe, you’d do this. Every time you ask for a favor from someone like me, you would do something downright amazing for someone else. I don’t want the favor back. I just want you to do something incredibly awesome for someone else. Because that would be a hell of a lot more thanks than I’m getting now, and it would be much more valuable when spent on others than it would be as a brief thanks in email. Deal?