GENEROSITY IN BUSINESS
Thought to be good business, the Jaguar-kings of Mesoamerica believed that a systematic redistribution of wealth maintained social harmony within the tribe, and peace between tribes. The potlatch allowed leaders who had acquired material wealth to gain social status by demonstrating their generosity. After all, to someone who had real power, re-acquiring wealth was not a hardship.
When the Europeans reached these shores, they declared the potlatch to be bad for their capitalist ideals, and they forced people to stop holding them. Canadian law banned them in 1884 and the U.S. soon followed.
In recent years, the potlatch was legally sanctioned again on Canada's Pacific Coast and, even if it's quite different today than in those earlier times, it is still an important part of Amerindian life.
If you consider the action/reaction law when dealing with others, you'll see that it makes perfect sense to «give in order to receive». In fact, generosity has more to do with an empowered attitude than actually giving things away but lot of people don't see it that way.
Philanthropists might be onto something. Bill Gates and Warren Buffet recently gave away billions of dollars to help the less fortunate in the world, and this week young FaceBook founder Mark Zuckerberg pledged half of his fortune to charity - an estimated $6 billion dollars. And folks - that's not chump-change.
Love and charity are the keys to subjective happiness the wise have affirmed since time immemorial so maybe the following points will help the fuzzy thinkers:
- If you have a problem, resolve it as equitably and favourably as possible for everyone. Learn to think in terms of win-win-win scenarios instead of win-lose. Rather than react to criticism, see complaints as an opportunity to improve your product or service, to innovate.
- Deliver more than you promise even if it means promising less. Don't nickel-and-dime clients with cheap shots like hidden charges for phone calls or photocopy fees. Factor these into your normal price. You'll be surprised at how many people who'll never blink at paying $100. per hour for a service react poorly to a $1. photocopy charge.
- Always bill "full value". If even if you are giving someone a discounted price. Let people know that they are getting a deal by writing the regular price on your invoice and then the discount you are giving them and a net price.
- Or course we can't give things away but we can trade value for value to get what we need. Truth is we can barter to acquire anything we need, in business and in personal dealings.
- Earn the respect of others by treating everyone fairly and honestly - including employees and service providers. Be generous in Spirit. Don't rationalize bad behaviour with catch-phrases like - "It's only business."
In a sentence, proudly tell people who you are and what they can expect from you ...because once they understand that generosity in spirit separates you from competitors, well you won't be surprised to see that you'll get more referrals and business opportunities.