From the Desk of the CEO…
Everyone talks about how “nice” people are. In business, there’s a stigma attached to this label.
“Oh, their staff is so nice there!”
And then all your friends shuffle in and blindly follow the “nice” signs to the “nice” building. The problem is nice doesn’t always mean that you’re respected. People can hate one another and still play nice at work because that’s what the rule book says to do. And vice versa, you may respect your co-worker but they aren’t exactly the person you’d want watching over your children or pet.
I’ve lived my life trying to be nice. I lived trying to prove the old adage, “nice guys finish last” wasn’t true. I hate to tell you this, but it is. Only with time, age, and experience did I learn something. I’ll give you this bit of advice for free, but you won’t believe me until you’re old enough to see its truth with eyes of wisdom.
Nice guys do finish last because you cannot treat everyone nicely. You can treat everyone with the dignity and respect they deserve.
There was a cleaning lady at my former employment that didn’t speak English very well (she understood it, she just couldn’t speak it well in return) but she was a hard worker and she smiled everyday. We’d all shuffle in at 7 a.m. blurry eyed and grumbling after she’d just cleaned the sink and coffee area, then brewed the two pots of coffee. I remember looking down at the sink basin and seeing it sparkle. The girls were making their cups of coffee, muttering good morning’s and gossiping about this or that before continuing on their way back to their desks. I stood there looking at the aftermath with complete embarrassment.
Grain’s of sugar and powdered creamer dusted the counter. Drops of coffee trailed from the carafes, down on the floor and out the door. Napkins were discarded, straws scattered…it looked like a bunch of toddlers came in. I remembered how it felt for me, personally, to come home everyday and having to clean after working all day because no one respected the hard work I put into scrubbing the kitchen the night before.
Without a word, I started to straighten up. She kept telling me, “No, it’s ok. This is my job.”
I said, “It is not your job to teach them to respect themselves, or other human beings.”
The “nice” thing to do would’ve been to clean up after themselves. The “nice” thing to do would’ve been to say “good morning” to the woman they see every day, smiling at them with fresh coffee waiting, and a clean counter area. They didn’t even grace her with that much.
What does this have to do with SSP?
It’s simple. I don’t run my business to be nice. Let me explain why. When people don’t get what they want, you find that “nice” is just a mask. It’s a facade they wear to get what they want. When they don’t get what they want, the mask falls away pretty fast. It’s simple to get past the B.S. when you treat them with the respect they deserve straight away. Everyone here at SSP earns their level of respect from the new author to the veteran author.
The new author works hard, the veteran author takes a new author by the hand and gives them a mentor. We are a collective hive of energy — you thought I’d say collective though didn’t you..this isn’t the Borg, you psycho — that helps feed each other’s passion for our craft.
In order to continue doing what we do, we must have respect for one another’s flaws, strengths, differences and be willing to go through it all together. That means, we are a family and anyone that bullies our family, attacks our family, takes from our family, or harms our family becomes invisible to us.
We don’t lash out at others because that gives them power over us. No, the others should become background noise. I’m trying to elevate (at current count) 38 lives of people that are counting on me. They’re counting on me.
Which brings me to full circle: You will be treated with the respect you deserve is a floating line. You can start out with high level of respect but you must maintain that respect. You cannot drop your guard, you must always surround yourself with the company of those you aspire to be like, you must always keep your eyes on the goal, and never keep company with the people that have grievously transgressed against those that support you.
Being the CEO of SSP has been the biggest blessing of my career life. When people tell me I’m so “nice” I have started to correct them. I’m not nice. I’m respectful. I’ll only be respectful, because being nice is nothing more than a fake smile.
Until next time..keep your Stitch together.