More Champagne, please
It was an early-morning flight to Brisbane. The severe storms in Sydney meant delays, long queues and grumpy passengers. The crew came around offering coffee and tea. The man next to me, with a smile and cheeky glint, said “Any Champagne, please?” The hostess replied, laughing: “It’s a bit early for the C word!” They bantered back and forth and soon everyone around them was. She returned shortly after and pressed a bottle of Champagne into his hands and he was delighted. Ahh – it does pay to be charming!
Nobody knows this more than Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval, who work in one of the toughest industries: advertising. They share their success secrets in their New York Times bestseller The Power of Nice.
Kaplan and Thaler believe our culture propagates social Darwinism: a ‘me versus you’ mentality. They moved to the top of the industry by behaving contrary to conventional wisdom: by being nice. They have, over a decade, built up the Kaplan Thaler Group to one billion in billings, using chocolates and flowers rather than pitchforks and spears.
It’s a simple yet powerful philosophy. They also agree ‘nice’ has an image problem. Nice gets no respect. Kaplan and Thaler convincingly argue, however, that nice is the toughest four-letter word you can use in business, as it means moving forward with clear-eyed confidence when you place other peoples’ needs equal to your own.
Nice people do finish first. (And enjoy the Champagne!)
What is your experience? Do nice people finish first?