At the ASTD conference in Chicago recently, Colleen Barrett made a really interesting point in the session we did together. She said at Southwest, they want to make sure that their customer service is as good internally as it is externally. They believe in the Golden Rule—treating people the way you would like to be treated. One of the things we talked about is that it’s amazing how people will treat strangers or customers better than they would treat people they love or people who are coworkers.
I often tell the story about having a group of people over to your house for a party and some new neighbors are there. As they are leaving, you notice that the man has left his hat. So you grab his hat and run out to the road and catch them before they pull away. As he rolls down his window, would you say to him, “You idiot! If your head wasn’t screwed on, it would fall off!” No! You would say, “Here’s your hat. I’m glad I caught you. So good to have you over.” You would be really polite. And yet, we hear mothers screaming at their little kids who left their lunch on the bus. “You idiot, why did you do that! If your head wasn’t screwed on, it would fall off!”
We just seem to take license with people who are close to us that we wouldn’t take with people who are less familiar with. So that’s a really interesting thing to think about. Why is there so much divorce? Why are there so many family conflicts? Because we don’t use the Golden Rule all the time. So remember—be as good to people that you love and work with as you are to others.