Earlier this month, several local Reno communications-based organizations teamed up to sponsor the non-profit, Think Kindness, through its annual communications mixer known as Mingle Bells. Think Kindness is a Northern Nevada based non-profit organization that aims to inspire thousands from coast to coast to change the world through seemingly simple random acts of kindness. Founded by Brian Williams, to date Think Kindness has documented over 203,235 acts of kindness. Below is a short video overview about the organization:
At first glance, Think Kindness may sound like a fluffy cause, but dig a little deeper and enlightened folks will soon discover that the virtue of kindness is perhaps one of the most overlooked qualities in business that, when practiced habitually, can fundamentallly and consistently inspire motivation, growth, trust, progress, and satisfaction from within an organization.
So why is kindness important? Acccording to Dr. Bret Simmons in a blog post entitled “The Power of Kindness,” strong relationships are built on a foundation of kindness. And effectively managing relationships, of course, lies at the very core of marketing. He writes:
Healthy relationships are very important to our happiness. Happy people have better relationships, so building relationships is a powerful strategy for becoming happier. Being kind to others is a simple and effective way to expand and strengthen our network of relationships. Kindness works for a number of reasons: it helps us perceive others more positively, it can take our mind off our own problems, it can lead to a chain of reciprocal positive events. Helping others may lead people to like us more and be more likely to offer us help in our times of need.
In addition to fostering relationships at the micro level, kindness is also a requirement for building conscious citizens and socially responsible companies at the macro level. According to Umair Haque, a Harvard Business Review blogger that was recently named to the Thinkers50 list (a definitive listing of the world’s top business thinkers) who writes a lot about the need for ushering in a new age of capitalism that is better aligned with societal needs:
What we’ve got plenty of are wannabe-bankers whose idea of a good life goes about as far as grabbing for the nearest, biggest bonus — what we’ve got less of are well-rounded people with the courage, wisdom, and capacities to nurture and sustain a society, polity, and economy that blossom. So put immediate gratification to one side and cultivate your higher sensibilities; learn the arts of nuance, subtlety, humility, and grace.
In short, building relationships through habitutual kindness will lead to richer, longer-lasting connections that not only give back over time to individuals and companies, but societies and economies. Having just flown with Southwest Airlines this past week, I can’t think of a better example of a company that builds relationships through a continual practice of kindness. When I wanted to rock my ancy, over-tired son to sleep standing up at the back of the airplane on Christmas Day, to my amazement, two of the stewardesses started singing Christmas carols to help calm him down. Businesses that bake kindness into their cultures understand how to build long-term relationships based on trust with their customers.