Living and Giving

The Golden Rule in Business

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A recent article in Harvard Business Review discussed the company culture at Zappos, led by CEO Tony Hseih.  \”A Lesson from Zappos\” describes how focusing on the Golden Rule has been a powerful force in Zappos\’ development as an organization.  I shared a few thoughts of my own on the importance of relationships in business.

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Thank you for this powerful piece!  There is so much wisdom here for business leaders.  I love the emphasis on treating others as we want to be treated; that should apply to all relationships in business–and in life–from vendors to partners to customers to team members.

One key point for our team, and our culture, is appreciation of team members as whole people.  We try to encourage our team to have outside interests, and to share their goals. We know UniversalGiving can’t be everything for everyone (even me  ). And so I love to hear about the other interests– how can we help further them?

We’re all here to help each other.  It can happen in so many ways.  It is amazing how much it energizes an organization, and propels the vision forward.  But most importantly, it honors the other person holistically, just as we all want to be honored.

Honoring of others also extends to our other business relationships.  UniversalGiving partners with Cisco to assist with their corporate social responsibility strategy.  Respect and open communication are essential in our partnership with Cisco.  In working with Cisco, we also see this importance of relationships extending even farther out.  When we launch an international corporate social responsibility program, we have to extend these “listening” relationships to other important parts of the community we’re involved with.  Relationships include important NGO partners on the ground. Which NGOs have a significant presence on the ground?  Have we spent the time listening to them, working with them, hearing their concerns and goals?

Who are the important government officials?  How do they view investments of any kind, donations, volunteering, product donations, cause-related marketing in the community? What is important to them and their local constituents?  How should they be approached?  Making the outreach shows we care to include them in how the company establishes both through its profit making center, and its community-minded investments.

One other extremely relevant consideration might be tribespeople. That’s probably not what comes immediately to mind.  But local tribespeople often know the ins and outs of the environment, important cultural considerations, rituals and appropriate approaches to getting both forprofit and nonprofit projects completed.  If we ignore their wisdom, there could be enormous backlash.

Thank you for the opportunity to share these examples.  Ultimately it comes down to listening…respect…appreciation…and, as Zappos shows us, treating others as we want to be treated.