Five Lessons on How to Treat People

1. First Important Lesson – “Know The Cleaning Lady”
During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: “What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?”

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

“Absolutely,” said the professor. “In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say “hello.”

I’ve never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. Second Important Lesson – “Pickup In The Rain”
One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man’s door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.

A special note was attached. It read:

“Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband’s bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others.
Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.”

3. Third Important Lesson – “Remember Those Who Serve”
In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. “How much is an ice cream sundae?” he asked. “50¢,” replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

“Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?” he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. “35¢!” she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. “I’ll have the plain ice cream,” he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn’t have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4. Fourth Important Lesson – “The Obstacles In Our Path”
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand – “Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition.”

5. Fifth Important Lesson – “Giving When It Counts”
Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, “Yes, I’ll do it if it will save her.”

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, “Will I start to die right away?”.

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

Thanks Sameer for sharing the link to this excellent write-up. The stories above might or might not be real but do carry important moral lessons none-the-less.

Suckage to Usage Ratio …

Perfection is overrated… its expensive… and its impossible. Success in Business is not a quest for perfection, may be art is, but business is definitely not. Few months back, 37signals had to say this about one of so called imperfect products – Kindle.

Reading and flipping pages on the Kindle is a wonderful experience. On the other hand, using the keyboard is painful. The keys are hard to press. The modifier keys are confusing. Mistakes are easy to make, slow to spot and hard to correct.

A good way to square the great overall experience with a bad feature is the “suckage to usage” ratio. You can take any feature and say “it sucks,” but that doesn’t tell you anything about the whole product until you factor in how often you use the feature. Have a look at this unscientific chart.

Feature              Suckage (1-5)          Usage        Contribution (1-5)
Reading                       0                        90%                    0
Typing                         5                          3%                     0.15
Switching books        1                          7%                     0.07

Total suckage 0.22

Suppose reading on the Kindle doesn’t suck at all (0 out of 5), typing sucks maximally (5 out of 5), and switching between books sucks a little (1 out of 5). Considering I spend 90% of my time just reading on the device, the contributions add up to a total suckage of only 0.22 out of 5. Inverted, that’s 4.78—basically a 5-star product.

Now while I don’t completely agree with that 5 star rating as consumers would normally magnify their negative experiences many times over the positive ones, the base concept is still a pretty strong indicator.

See, nobody wants to ship the imperfect products… but then somebody has to drop the axe somewhere (& somehow convince all that its all good). ‘When to’ is normally the most difficult question & following steps might help:

  • What all consumer touch points my product has got?
  • How much they suck (if at all)? What is their contribution to overall suckage? [Take into consideration that its not a linear graph... negative emotions get more weightage than positive emotions, how much more depends upon your category]
  • Is overall suckage to usage ratio still pretty low? If yes, ship because once upon a time there was a Duke Nukem Forever

Over to you product and marketing folks.

17 signs that you are a great boss…

We all like to think that we are good people to work for (well, most of us do), but is it true? I have been hearing from a lot of people about bad bosses lately and of course few bad bosses actually see themselves that way.

So, which witch are you? The good, or the bad?

Here’s how to tell:

1. You don’t micromanage: There are few things more frustrating than the boss who not only is not happy with your work, but tells you how to do it to boot! Great bosses trust that the people they hire are smart enough to do their job, even if you might do it differently.

2. You know how to have fun: People work for all sorts of reasons, pay is just one. We work to learn new things, meet people, sharpen skills, get ahead, and yes, socialize and try to have a good time. The best bosses temper work with fun, knowing that the latter reinforces the former.

3. You push, but know when to back off: Employees usually want to be challenged to do their best, and if they like where they work, they will strive to give that. Great bosses are like great coaches – they know when to push and when to back off so as to draw out the best from their team.

4. You have good manners: Some of the items on this list are intuitive, others less so. Saying “please” and “thank you” may seem like a little thing but in actuality, it’s not. The boss who does not say please or thank you usually makes people feel crummy. Having some manners shows respect and garners respect.

5. You treat employees like adults: Good bosses know, for instance, that if Megan says she needs to come in at noon on Thursday, she probably has a good reason. The best bosses treat employees like adults and expect that they will act that way. This too fosters mutual respect.

6. You are fair: The hallmark of the bad boss is unfairness. He or she plays favorites, has strange priorities, and makes life difficult. The opposite is also true. The great boss treats people equally to the extent possible and make sure that the workplace makes sense.

7. You also make exceptions: Yes, fairness is important, but not everything and everyone is always equal; just like you have to respect the differences in your children, so too do you need to do so in your staff. For instance, one month, Phil may need to get all of the extra overtime hours due to his financial situation. Making exceptions, when appropriate, is usually the humane thing to do.

8. You reward good, hard work: Rewards can come in all sorts of forms. Monetary is best of course, but recognition for a job well done can sometimes be equally effective.

9. You create a team: Great businesses are ones where people get behind a goal and pursue it in unity. That requires a boss who can motivate the team, sell them on the goal, and lead them in that direction. Which also requires that…

10. You lead: You are not in business to be your employee’s best friend; instead, you are in business to create a business and make a profit. That requires that you have a vision for your business , sell people on that vision, and then lead them down the field in that direction.

11. You teach, and learn: The great bosses teach skills, business acumen, and sometimes, life lessons. They help employees get to the next level in their development. And by the same token, a really good boss knows what he does not know and is willing to learn some new tricks.

12. You listen: Bad bosses rarely listen. Good bosses always do. You may not agree with what you hear (and then again you might) but your people know that you are fair and are willing to hear out a different point of view.

13. You don’t engage in petty office politics: Good bosses don’t gossip (mostly!) They do not pit one person against another. They do not take credit for someone else’s work. They don’t feel threatened when someone makes a good suggestion.

14. You make people feel valued: Bad workplaces are typically apathetic places because the employees fell disconnected because they think that what they do and think does not really matter. In contrast, the great boss engages people so that they feel empowered, respected, and valued.

15. You set realistic, achievable goals: People who work for you know what is expected of them, period.

16. You criticize, and compliment too: A really good boss knows that both compliments and criticism are needed to keep the ship afloat and that too much of one or the other can throw things off-kilter.

17. You inspire: My best boss ever helped me realize, to quote the great Nathan Lane in The Producers, “There is more to you than there is to you!” The best bosses help people help themselves.

By Steve Strauss –

Chrysler changes its ad for Peta

Promo for Chrysler’s big event didn’t go down too well with Peta… why.. because there was a monkey (actually a Chimp) in it…


Peta protested… Here is what they said:

Dodge isn’t going to dodge a bullet on this one. It needs to pull the ad–and we’ve contacted the company asking it to do just that.

& here is the revised version of the video:


Kudos to Agency… You did stick it up.