The Power of Respect

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We live in a fast-paced society with e-mail, instant messaging, microwaves and hydro mulch. Society keeps speeding up, and often we take on more than we can do. It is easy to lose sight of some basic truths that never change, like using the words please and thank you. The temptation is to cut short all unnecessary words in our communications because we have such busy lives.

November 01, 2006

Doug Dwyer
Contributing Editor

We live in a fast-paced society with e-mail, instant messaging, microwaves and hydro mulch. Society keeps speeding up, and often we take on more than we can do.

It is easy to lose sight of some basic truths that never change, like using the words please and thank you. The temptation is to cut short all unnecessary words in our communications because we have such busy lives. The danger of this is that we lose the personal touch, care and relationship connection we all desire as human beings.

When my son was three, we would watch or listen to Barney (you know, the purple dinosaur) and one song that has stuck with me all these years is the one that taught kids to say "please" and "thank you." At first, it got on my nerves, and I thought I'd go crazy if I had to listen to it one more time. But after a while, some if it started to make sense. Why was this so important and why did they sell so many copies of those recordings? Because we want our children to grow up to be respectful of others.

As Stephen R. Covey, author of "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People" said, "People don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Words can have tremendous power. They can build people up or tear them down.

I have found that truly caring for and being respectful of others causes others to want to help me because I took a little extra time to say please, thank you, or make some other meaningful gesture.

The old saying is that you reap what you sow. If you sow caring, you get it in return. If you sow selfishness, you get that back in return.

Years ago, my marketing director produced a program for a training event, and the person printing it for her put the wrong company in the content. Let's just say that I was not too happy. But I thought about it, and what could be done? She was already beating herself up over it and had always been a top performer for me and the company. So, we met about it and decided we would make the best of the situation, as well as put a plan in place to fix the programs. She knew I wasn't happy and that it made us look bad. But, she was also surprised I didn't overreact or blow up at her. Years later, she told me she really respected me for how I handled the situation, and it's one of the reasons she stayed with the company and felt loyal to me.

This situation was no different than someone working for you who has ordered the wrong product, left something out of the estimate or placed the outlet in the wrong spot in the drawing. These all cost time, emotional energy and money, yet we still have a choice on how to respond.

You may be like me; sometimes I complicate things. If we would just take care of the basics of treating people with respect and not giving in to the pressures of performance, looking good or generating profit, we would have a much more enjoyable life and, at the same time, be surprised by the results.

People walk through fire for you and with you if you take the heat for them. Some other "simple kind gestures" that don't cost a lot of time or money include smiling, telling someone something they did right to encourage and build their confidence, stopping to shake someone's hand and say hello, or, like the story I shared, attack the issue, not the person. The latter is much easier said than done, but it will pay off more than a hundred fold if you can remember to keep your cool.

My recommendation is to slow down just a little to make sure you are implementing the basic "Laws of Respect." This will produce positive momentum for your company now and in the future. The basic idea is to uncomplicate the business of remodeling and to simplify and profit. As the saying goes, "Courtesy costs nothing but can buy things that are priceless." PR


Author Information
Doug Dwyer is president and chief stewarding officer of DreamMaker Bath & Kitchen by Worldwide, one of the nation's largest remodeling franchises. He can be reached at doug.dwyer@dwyergroup.com.


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