Giving at Christmas

Christmas is after all the season of giving where Christians all over the world remember the greatest gift given to us by God of his only begotten son Jesus Christ. While reflecting on this – the true meaning of ChristmasArticle #22-2 I got to thinking about what ‘giving’ can actually mean to professionals and companies alike. How giving can help us become a better version of ourselves.

Giving – not expecting anything in return:

I think the biggest disappointment for most of us is when we give hoping or expecting for something in return – and when that something doesn’t materialize it makes us feel bitter, saddened and sometimes determined not to give again. But giving if done – purely to share something we have – for the joy of giving – would be brilliant because then we really feel good about it. From a scientific point of view – the act of giving or appreciation – when done genuinely – increases our levels of the happy neurotransmitter Serotonin – thus increasing our own happiness. As good a reason to give as any!

What can we give?

Respect: This is something that everyone craves isn’t it? Doesn’t really depend on what social status or wealth or position we have – but the genuine respect we should just extend to other human beings. Something that comes to mind is what was seen wherever the past President Obama went – he had a smile and a handshake and possibly a word or two with most people he came into contact with no matter the background or status. This definitely increased the amount of goodwill that people had for him and increased his own status considerably. So to whom should we give or show respect? Well everyone really – the customer, the employee, the neighbor, the child, the homeless, and the list goes on. Something I always try to do when visiting our customers is to have a special smile and a brief word with the security guard, the receptionist and the person who invariably gives us a cup of tea. This has at the very minimum ensured a better and prompter cup of tea at most of our client sites – well worth the effort!

Honesty: Something which is becoming rarer by the day – honesty is still something which is prized by everyone. Even if the news is bad – giving it honestly, and genuinely and also trying to help people out of the bad situation – will still be accepted. Something else which we find increasingly is inflating what your product does or is – sometimes to the extent of being blatantly untruthful or incorrect. We also find many companies, groups and individuals making claims which some know are totally false – but others who don’t know any better – believe. One example that comes to mind is in the local music industry where a male ensemble claims awards and history which it doesn’t have. What is the need to do this and claim things that are false – is the reality so terrible that we have to make up things? Sad indeed. Another example of honesty or lack thereof is when we present ourselves at job interviews – invariably trying to package ourselves as something we are not. Again the challenge to all of us – is to be ourselves. We are each of us quite unique and special and don’t have to pretend to be anyone else. When a survey was done of employees recently – it was found that most people really valued ‘authentic leadership’ – where the leader was always viewed as genuine no matter the faults he or she had.

Service: Giving the best possible service to all our customers – be they internal or external. Sometimes all that it takes to start a brilliant service encounter is a genuine – ear to ear smile. Right now I am sitting at a customer lounge – waiting for my vehicle service to be finished. Well this time the start to the service experience was better than the last time – but it could have been even better if the initial point of contact had started with a smile and possibly taken the time to stand up and greet me – rather than continuing to sit and ignore me – till he felt it was time to acknowledge my presence and then a bit later in the conversation give a genuine smile. Well better late than never! I have discussed service excellence in this column before and still believe that it just needs to be internalized – where the service giver – genuinely wants to make ‘the customers’ day better. Actually just takes a small mental shift of a couple of degrees.

True Value: And finally ‘giving true value’ to the customer. Value is something perceived by the customer – and if we can give true value the customer will undoubtedly come back again and again – making the giving of true value – have real business sense. Value is where the customer perceives that what he is getting is much more than the price that is being paid. The greater the perceived difference – the greater the value. If we are always thinking of what more we can give the customer – how we can make the experience better – more convenient – richer, etc., the creation of greater value would not be too difficult a task.

Article #22-3

So at this time of Christmas – let’s remember to give – also remembering that the more we give – we invariably get more back. But let’s do it not expecting anything in return. We can then truly enjoy the experience of giving and be so much happier when the reward comes! Merry Christmas everyone, and may you and your family be truly blessed with the peace of Christ this Christmas.

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