Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Basic Politeness Matters In Business

Being polite may be going out of style.  It may be the zeitgeist.  Decades of poor parenting have elevated self-esteem over self-control.  The instant gratification of fast food, online shopping, streaming movies, and whatever else our smartphones can find for us has bred modern Americans to exhibit basic contempt for activities requiring patience.  Brutish behaviors have a cost measured in adult reputations tarnished and business opportunities missed.  Good manners should make for good business.  Just examine the costs of rudeness yourself and compare them to the payoffs for doing the right thing.

Politeness shows a respect for another person's worth.  I have attended private events where loudmouths continue to socialize even after a featured speaker has ascended the podium to say what everyone came to hear.  It is truly a head-scratching spectacle to watch an educated crowd ignore a feature event, even when some of them paid for the privilege.  Quiet down, folks.

Arriving on time shows respect for another person's time.  The worst supervisors in my career had a bad habit of making me wait for our appointed meetings while they socialized or wasted time in front of my face.  They sent me a clear message that whatever they asked me to bring to the table was not worth their time.  One superior never even showed up to a meeting she directed me to attend, even though I had to drive far out of my way.  Bad leaders enjoy wasting people's time.  Good subordinates run away from those superiors as soon as they witness sociopathic behavior.

Educated San Franciscans can change for the better.  The opening night galas of San Francisco's major performing arts companies typically start at least five minutes late because too many people take too long to get to their seats.  I wonder if the people arriving late really respect the arts so much by making the performers wait.  The VIPs in box seats can lead us by example even if they're not causing the problem.

Alfidi Capital has not always been kind to humans who misbehave.  Adults should know better but those who don't sometimes invite my wrath online.  My behavior in person is usually more amenable even though I no longer need to please anyone to have a career.  I do behave politely when I pay my bills and taxes on time, or when I attend social gatherings that require my silence.  Manners pay dividends.  It really is that simple.