On common courtesy & kindness: Are jerks more successful?

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Seek-To-Be-Worth-Knowing-Rather-Than-Be-Well-KnownA few months ago the Kid came home with her very first report card from school.

Given that in our public school system the grades are blown up to be a big and important indicator for the future success or failure in (business) life I have seen many a parent losing sleep over said document before the “big day” fearing for their offspring’s unfolding career before it even started.

As if you could measure the potential of a child with standardized tests and numbers.

Bah. Humbug.

Considering the fact that Maddy aka the Kid is a curious, artistic daydreamer not unlike her favourite heroine Clementine, quite frankly not giving a flea fart about making the numbers fit the boxes in math tests and hence losing points for sloppy presentation even if the result of a complicated calculation is correct, I was prepared for and unbothered by the moderate grades for the standard subjects.

There was, however, one grade that stood out from the rest.



One grade that made me very happy.

It was not a grade that will count for her future academic career – should she choose to ever go down that path at some point in the future.

It was a grade for courtesy and kindness towards her fellow classmates and teachers. She had excelled and gotten an extra double+ and remark for outstanding empathy and geniality.

And that, my dear Watsons, made my heart beat a little fasta.

Because you see, most recently I have noticed an alarming decrease in common courtesy and professional integrity in my everyday encounters.

And I wonder, I really wonder, what our future is going to look like if we cannot manage to interact with a minimum degree of civilised manners with each other in order to achieve our goals.

So I keep marvelling at the display of disrespect and absence of accountability of people who call themselves professionals, yet seem to have no notion or intention to practice what they preach, adhering to their word or quite simply exhibit no detectable shred of decency in the way they treat their (business) partners.

What is up with that?

When did it become acceptable / cool / desirable to be a douchebag?

Robert Sutton, author of the wonderful book “The No Asshole Rule: Building a Civilized Workplace and Surviving One That Isn’t” boils it down to this simple truth:

“There’s this notion in our culture that if you’re a winner, it’s okay to be an asshole.”

Well in my book, IT. IS. NOT.

And, fortunately, I am not alone.

The jerk trend is definitely NOT going unnoticed and is actively opposed and exposed by a small but increasing flock of ethically dedicated entrepreneurs and biz folks.

Some of you I have met in person. Some of you I have met online. Some of you, I just follow on social media.

But regardless of where or how you are making your voice heard and opposing the trend of succeeding no matter how it’s done and what the cost:

I salute you. Nay, I High Five all of of you!

I believe that we few, we happy few, are not part of a dying breed.

We are the future.

Because – ultimately – we will need to act together to make things work.

Creative collaboration will prove to be more effective and successful than aggressive competition.

And for that we need people who not only have skills, but who are capable of honest, humble and truly helpful human interaction.

People who will be capable of solving a problem together.

We need more Advocates for Awesome.

So I plead to teach our children not just grammar and arithmetic. But also mindfulness and compassion.

I advocate common courtesy and kindness not just to build a happy private life but also a career.

One Richard Branson was able to pull it off. The rest of us, can, too.

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