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Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Sudden Inability to Play Nice?

These past two weeks have shown a disturbing trend: the sudden inability for business owners to play nice with eachother.  

At first, I was going to blame it on the economy or the massive retail failure over the Holiday shopping season. I thought perhaps the CPSIA legislation or end of the year tax planning might be to blame.  But, after some thought, it became apparent that this behavior is likely just random acts of "phooey-tude" (because this is a PG rated site, I just made that up to curb the other made-up term I was prepared to use) that some people may naturally posses as part of their personality.  

Let me tell you what I'm talking about.

In the past two weeks several fellow business women and myself have encountered some rather nasty "phooey-tude".  If you're a Twitter user, you've probably noticed the many tweets about others who have had "phooey-tude" dished up at them as well. 

1) An online friend and inventor launched her amazing, brand-new to the market product, only to recieve an email from someone who is already blantantly knocking-off her design, and likes to email and tell my friend all about it in a totally grade school 'nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-na' manner.  Copyright?  Trademark?  Well, that's another story.  

2) A company I work for is being badmouthed by a similar company, who is using near-slanderous jibber-jabber to try and lure clients over to themselves. (Ever heard of getting clients ethically?)

3) A product developer I know was approached by a magazine editor who ripped her product apart, without any regard for the developer's feelings, and then announced the magazine would be running  DIY instructions on how to make the same product, without any acknowledgement to the developer for her design. (The mag claims they thought of the idea before the developer had hers trademarked)  

4) A service provider is threatned by a client who promises to smear her name all over the web if the provider doesn't meet the client's demands.  

5) Another service provider is told by a client that she (the provider) doesn't deserve to be paid nearly $1,000 for services provided to the client because the client really doesn't need the work after all.  (Even though they signed a contract and will now be taken to court).  If the provider decides to take the client to court, the client had threatned to be sure the provider "never works in the industry again."  Yes, slander, I know....but STILL!!

6) A graphic designer friend is chastisted by a client who stated the designer has 'no business having children if you're going to run a successful business."  A statement made after the designer turned down the client's work request because the deadline fell on the designer's due-date!

Ok, so these are just some of the examples that I've come into contact with recently.  And I want to know, "What the hell is the matter with people?"  Of course all of these examples could have been resolved gracefully, I'm sure.  And people are doing and threatning to do things that could potentially lead to legal action.  The point is, why is this trend in nastiness escalating in the first place? 

As a service provider I've run into my share of snags.  As we all know, running a business is hard and things happen.  Am I going to make everyone happy all of the time?  Nope.  Do I make mistakes?  Yep.  Do I feel bad about it when I screw up?  You bet...I'm the type to lose sleep over it (OK, now you all know my secret).  Would I ever be condescending, rude, beligerant or outright nasty to anyone?  No and no and no!  

So here is my question to you, business owners- How will facilitating 'phooey-tude' as part of your everyday personality get you what you want?  Don't you think, in the end, it will only ruin YOUR reputation more than that of the person you are being nasty to?

Grace, humility and the ability to agree to disagree are key.  My friend Cindy from Streamside Farm likes to recommend the book "The Power of Nice".  I'm joining her and recommending it, too.

Maybe, a dose of 'nice' will help us all the next time we feel the 'phooey-tude' creeping in.


1 comment:

jpdmom said...

I blame it on the economy - most people are tense - and one way or another affected by the Recession. I for one take the oppposite approach and tend to bend over backwards for customers and sales channels. I have been in business for over six years and I have met some "interesting" people that is for sure.