Kindness as a Corporate Culture

Kindness as a Corporate Culture

By David Dewhirst Share This Story | | Tags   values, culture

Photo Credit: Jessica Walsh's 12 Kinds of Kindness

This post is the first in a series explaining the values that ThreeTwelve as a company tries to embody, and the culture that we're creating as a result.

Overhead of our agency offices are apartments. One of  our upstairs neighbors -- let's call him James, though that's not his real name -- is a nurse anesthesiologist. As such, he sometimes has bad days. He sometimes has long days. He sometimes sees things that many of us will never see over the course of a whole life.

This morning, arriving home after a seventeen-hour, overnight stretch in the operating room that went down in a way that kept him from eating or even drinking water during that time, James popped into our office looking for a little "comfort chocolate" on the way up to his apartment.

Elyssa was already at her desk when James came in, figuring out media plans and budgets. Elyssa had Oreos. Elyssa shared her Oreos with James, and seventeen hours of stress turned into a smile as James went upstairs for some well-deserved sleep.

That's kindness in action. I love that.

Kindness is a trait that's an integral part of who I am. It's an integral part of who Natalie, my wife and agency partner, is. Kindness is important to us, and kindness is a value that we want our company to hold dear and to strive towards.

Of course, true company values should be bought into by everyone in the organization. Buying in leads to internalization of the value, and once that happens then magic follows -- because truly holding a value means that it informs everything that you do and every decision that you take, which in turn leads to some basic principles about how we interact with the world: 

We strive to be kind to each other. We strive to be kind to our clients and to our potential clients. We strive to be kind to the people that walk in the door looking for comfort chocolate.

Are we perfect in that? Nope. We're all human, and sometimes less than perfectly kind -- myself included. I can be tired, I can be cranky -- but I never want to be unkind. When I am, I hope people will correct me because kindness is a value we all share. I hope that people will correct me because "kind" is among the positive things that we are as a company -- and that a true culture of kindness, regardless of whether we're interacting internally, with clients, or the people upstairs, is something in which we all participate and towards which we all strive.

Because in the end, a company in and of itself can't be kind, but the people in it can be -- and the great people here at ThreeTwelve are.


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