Do the Right Thing

Today, let’s brew up some wisdom inspired by a timeless fortune cookie gem (and Mark Twain): “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.”

In the realm of networking, these words hold the power to transform casual connections into enduring relationships. It’s not just about exchanging business cards or LinkedIn endorsements; it’s about the profound impact of doing right by others. Imagine your network as a delicate ecosystem where every action sends ripples across its surface.

Consider these disappointing interactions in which service providers did not do the right thing.

  • A client of mine was expecting business partners to visit from out of town.  As such, the office manager reached out to her hotel partner weeks in advance, booked rooms for the travelers, and shared the confirmation numbers with the guests.  Less than a week before the visit was to take place, a different representative from the hotel emailed and said, “Sorry.  We can’t accommodate your room request.”  Though she offered an alternative, she did so in a rude manner and said, “If you don’t like this suggestion, cancel.”  That was it.  Nothing else.  My client was left with few options, was embarrassed in front of her guests, and, frankly, was furious!  Apparently, the hotel partner had gotten a better offer.

  • A friend of mine operates a high-end, luxury tour company in Europe.  She has particular standards which honor the brand she has built.  With that in mind, she has brought on partners who have committed to upholding those standards as third-party representatives of the business.  Recently, her car service provider has been “ghosting” her.  She calls… they don’t answer.  Her emails and text messages go unanswered.  She ran into someone from the car service and inquired as to why they have opted to no longer do business with her.  The answer:  We get paid more by people with lower standards.  What?

Doing right is more than a one-time gesture—it’s a commitment to integrity and authenticity. When you consistently act with honesty and kindness, you build a reputation that precedes you. Some connections will be gratified by your genuine approach, appreciating the authenticity you bring to the table. Others will be astonished, perhaps because the norm in the business world often leans towards opportunism rather than genuine relationship-building.

Moreover, let’s talk about the importance of not burning bridges. Life is a dynamic journey, and you never know when a past connection could circle back into your professional orbit. By doing right by people, you ensure that the bridges you build remain sturdy, even in the face of unforeseen challenges.

 So, let’s make a pact to follow the advice of Mr. Twain. We never know the hidden value in kindness and always doing right; it creates a currency that will bear a wealth of gifts in the future. 

Happy Networking!

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