For years, many years in fact, I've wondered about the origins, and veracity, of the expression "good guys finish last."
Why is that the case, and who deemed it so?
Despite my intellectual wrangling with this question, my own evidence seemed to suggest that maybe, just maybe, there was indeed some validity to it.
By the end of 2011, I had spent almost 25 years in marketing, and had seen first hand how many organizations were governed by politics, by ego, by a zero sum mentality.
Zero sum, as in, I don't have to really be that good, I just have to be better than you.
And so, I began to dream about a work environment that was driven more by capability and less by ego. More by collaboration and less by politics. More by generosity than selfishness.
In short, a company driven by kindness.
Aesop said so long ago, "No act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted."
And then I read this, along the same lines, ""No act of kindness is too small. The gift of kindness may start as a small ripple that over time can turn into a tidal wave affecting the lives of many."
And I began to embrace, and then champion, the notion that kindness in our everyday lives can be transformative.
That kindness can create real value, organizationally, culturally, financially.
That kindness can indeed be the key to long-term success. Not a hand-holding let's sing kumbaya kind of activity, but a game-changing pursuit.
That kindness can and should be the central pursuit of any quality enterprise.
And so, when at the beginning of 2012 I launched my new social media agency, it was without hesitation that we established our highest pursuit -- to be the world's kindest company. Nothing more, nothing less.
And we set out to prove that indeed, good guys (and women) can finish first.
Make no mistake. We want to win.
We operate with intense urgency.
And we want our clients to win, above all else.
Through it all, we remember that above all, the outcome of being the world's kindest company is to create ever more value for our clients.
So, for the coming months, I'm going to share our approach to being the world's kindest company. For us, it's less a cultural statement and more of an operating statement - a set of structural systems, processes, tools, and frameworks that enable us to establish and scale a kind company.
Being kind isn't about trust falls, or t-shirts, or laminated slogans.
It is, instead, how we work.
How we recruit. How we compensate and reward. How we manage and allocate resources. How we communicate. How we plan and prepare. How we collaborate with our clients. How we move at the speed of light, with a flat, fast, left+right brained organizational model. How we maintain a bias for more ideas vs. the perfect idea (after all, the best way to have a great idea is to have a lot of ideas).
More to come in the coming months. I hope you'll join me for the series, and I hope at the end, you'll arrive at the same conclusion that I did at the beginning of 2012.
That becoming the world's kindest company isn't a luxury, but a business imperative.