I learned something important about sharing the other dayâ€¦ from my two year old son.
He had a couple new friends over to play, and when they showed interest in his toys, he predictably got a little possessive. So we broke out the toy bin. You know, the discards and duplicates and long-forgotten toys that are caught in that limbo between playtime and yard sale.
And what do you knowâ€¦ he happily dug through the bin with his friends, no jealousy at all, and they played together for hours.
So what’s the lesson? It’s easier to share things if you don’t think of them as yours to begin with.
It’s a lesson that carries over into the business world â€“ or at least it should.
On Earth Day, our local utility took to Twitter to celebrate the eco-friendly steps they’ve taken. All of which was well and good, until they shot out this one:
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one who looked at that tweet and thought â€œwait a sec, I signed up for that program, where’s my piece of that?â€. I also probably wasn’t the only one who tweeted back â€œso what are you doing with all that money?â€ â€“ a question they never answered. So not only did they pocket the money, they had the gall to be self-congratulatory about it.
Compare that to a note in my room during a recent hotel stay in Las Vegas. These days, most hotels are doing the â€œwe won’t change out your towels on a daily basis unless you ask us toâ€ thing, ostensibly to save water and help the planet. But let’s face it, the hotels are benefitting as well. Not only are their laundry costs lower, but it’s a timesaver for their housekeeping staff too. So it wasn’t a surprise that the hotel was encouraging me to go green. What was a surprise was the $10 restaurant credit they offered me for doing so.
At some point, this is a decision we all face. When we find a way to save money, what do we do? Do we talk about it or keep mum? Do we pad our margins or pass the savings along to our customers?
The next time I face that question, I know what I’ll do:
- I’ll think about that tweet from MLGW and how annoying it was to see them brag about saving money. Especially since the only thing they did to save that money was convince me that I’d be better off without a paper statement.
- I’ll think about the note from the hotel and how much I appreciate them for giving back some of the money they saved.
- I’ll think about how I want my customers to feel toward me â€“ annoyed or appreciative.
And then I’ll shareâ€¦ because that money wasn’t mine to begin with. It belonged to my customers first.