THE BRYCE IS RIGHT!

Tim Bryce on business, management, politics, and this crazy ever changing world of ours.

  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,490 other followers

  • Categories

  • Tim’s YouTube Channel

  • Fan Page

  • Since 1971:
    "Software for the finest computer - The Mind"

    Follow me on Twitter: @timbryce

    Site Meter

  • Subscribe

  • Community

THE DEATH OF PROFESSIONAL COURTESY

Posted by Tim Bryce on March 18, 2013

BRYCE ON MANAGEMENT

- What ever happened to “The Golden Rule”?

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I was recently invited to bid on a technical writing project. The initial meeting was treated like a job interview to determine my qualifications and everything seemed to go smoothly. Evidently I passed the test as I was invited for a second interview to discuss the project assignment in more detail. I arrived at the company’s offices a few minutes ahead of schedule (11:00am). Nobody was at the front desk so I took a seat in their waiting room along with another gentleman who I judged to be approximately the same age as myself. We exchanged pleasantries and I soon discovered he was also invited to bid on the same assignment. I was dressed in suit and tie for the appointment, and my competitor was dressed in “business casual.” Actually, we developed a good dialog about who we were and where we were from. There was no animosity between us, just some friendly banter.

During the course of the conversation, I discovered his appointment was scheduled for 10:20am and even though people had come by the reception area, nobody had spoken to him. This concerned me as I noticed I had already been waiting for fifteen minutes. Normally, I would leave ten minutes after an appointment, as some of my doctors and dentists have learned over the years, but since I had been busy conversing with the other person, time seemed to slip by. Shortly thereafter, another visitor walked into the room. Like us, he had arrived a few minutes early so he wouldn’t be late for his appointment. Again, nobody greeted him and he took a seat next to us. Time kept ticking away until it was 11:20am, when I started to become angry over our inhospitable treatment. Finally, I could stand it no longer, wished my acquaintances good luck, and exited the building. Needless to say, I was unhappy about being taken for granted and wasting my time.

When I arrived back at my office, I sent an e-mail to my contact with the company expressing my displeasure. After explaining what had happened, I informed him that if he wanted to arrange another meeting, I would only do so on a time and materials basis and quoted a hefty hourly rate. Not surprising, I did not receive a reply from my contact expressing any regret.

My concern though is that we are witnessing the extinction of professional courtesy in the work place. To illustrate:

* Telephones used to be answered promptly and courteously. Further, people would take whatever action was appropriate to assist the caller. Voice mail did away with all this. Unless you happen to catch the person right then and there on the phone, in all likelihood you will never receive a response.

* All job applications used to be answered with a letter, written professionally, acknowledging the letter and stating its condition, e.g., under review or thanking them for the opportunity to review the resume even though the company was not hiring at the time.

* Correspondence was typically typed out neatly, was written with proper grammar, and colloquialisms were avoided. Today, business correspondence contains considerable slang, uses primitive sentence structure, and spell checkers are avoided at all cost, particularly interoffice communications.

* Years ago, if you made an appointment, you kept it. If something extraneous occurred thereby forcing a delay or postponement, the other party was notified promptly so they can adjust their schedule accordingly. As my recent appointment proved, there is no consideration for the other person. I am reminded of Mahatma Gandhi who said, “Being late is an act of violence, an act of terrorism, because you unnerve people.”

Such rudeness reflects a general disregard for humans, be they customers, vendors, employees, or job applicants. Basically, it is an open admission that we hold people in contempt as opposed to soliciting their cooperation. With such disregard for people, it’s no small wonder “micromanagement” is the management philosophy of choice in today’s workplace. Maybe it’s our technology that is jading our sense of humanity. After all, it commands our attention and various senses.

Getting back to my appointment, I wonder how long the other people in the reception area stayed around? Both were “old school” and felt if you made an appointment, both parties had an obligation to keep it. Unfortunately, the company I was visiting was not of this philosophy. The only way to teach people this lesson is to walk away from the appointment as I did, and charge them for your time. Only then will they take you seriously and afford you the basic dignity you deserve. Otherwise, they will continue to take you for granted. Frankly, the longer we accept such disrespect, the more commonplace it will become. I suggest we just walk away from such insensitive knuckleheads. We may not get the contract, but they won’t get the best service from their people either.

Let us not forget the ancient “Golden Rule” as found in all religions: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” This is a two-way reciprocal relationship between people. Whenever such relationships become a one-way proposition, it ultimately denotes a decline in our moral fiber and culture.

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

Like the article? TELL A FRIEND.

Copyright © 2013 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

NEXT UP:  MANIPULATING THE MASSES – And the means by which leaders persuade their followers.

Listen to Tim on WJTN-AM (News Talk 1240) “The Town Square” with host John Siggins (Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, 12:30-3:00pm ET), and KGAB-AM 650 “The Morning Zone” with host Dave Chaffin (weekdays. 6:00-10:00am MST). Or tune-in to Tim’s channel on YouTube.

Also look for Tim’s postings in the Palm Harbor Patch, The Gentlemen’s Association, and throughout the Internet.

About these ads

15 Responses to “THE DEATH OF PROFESSIONAL COURTESY”

  1. Tim Bryce said

    A J.S. of Skidway Lake, Michigan wrote…

    “It’s too bad the others didn’t leave with you. That would have made an even more effective statement. I think you were wise to give up. They might well have been difficult to work with and disorganized.

    Some years ago, we had a whole new heating system installed in our home, including new duct work and a/c. Because it was going to be expensive, we made appointments with several companies to come and give estimates. One man showed up an hour late without having called. We told him that since he was not able to be on time or to call, we would not hire his company. First impressions matter!”

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    A T.I. of St. Petersburg, Florida wrote…

    “Outstanding commentary Tim.”

    Like

  3. sm said

    I agree with your sentiment 100% Tim. Professional courtesy is just part of plain good manners – it’s rude to leave people waiting.

    Like

  4. flarkie said

    Excellent article! Caught something similar this AM on Fox News where business executives were commenting about recent graduates whom they had hired as interns. Such young men and women feel entitled and do not feel the necessity to show up for work on time or dress appropriately. Other issues were also stated but those two, in particular, I remember.

    It’s a different world today.

    Like

  5. Tim Bryce said

    An R.S. of Chicago, Illinois wrote…

    “Professional courtesy and the Golden Rule are quite different cultural customs. That confusion might be part of the answer to the question…confusion.

    Professional courtesy is a collection of rules that are enforced voluntarily and are usually unwritten. To the extent that they are written, they are found in articles of Emily Post and other communicators of common rules of behavior.

    Professional courtesy has its upside and its downside. On the upside it preserves social order and maintains relative peace in society. On the downside, because it preserves social order, it preserves the position of privilege of those who benefit from the status quo. “

    Like

  6. Tim Bryce said

    A U.V. of Largo, Florida wrote…

    “I agree with you 100%. I remember in high school being told that we as receptionists/secretaries are the front line of a company. Clients saw us as a first impression of the company. At work, we were to look our best at all times. No food, chewing gum, courteous, etc., etc. That’s all down the drain unfortunately. It’s sad.”

    Like

  7. Tim Bryce said

    A C.B. of Ontario wrote…

    “Well said and so very, very true. It is a sad state of affairs, proper manners are now considered to be a random act of kindness. How far we have fallen.”

    Like

  8. Tim Bryce said

    A B.R. of Chicago, Illinois wrote…

    :”I believe that both the golden rule and courtesy are out the window. People simply do not realize the consequences of their hateful words until it is too late. Verbal abusers circulate a lot of infestation that always comes back to bite them. If one goes around exploding on impact, then there will be a negative reaction to their scurrilous behavior. Freedom of speech means expressing unpopular opinions without undue pressure from the Government to button it up. I find it ironic that those who wish to convert America into a dictatorship wind up saying the most vitrioloc things. I believe they lack a genuine understanding of freedom because they have never experienced it, so they do not even know what it is. Freedom is not free, and it comes with responsibility. “

    Like

  9. Tim Bryce said

    A G.S. of Los Angeles, California wrote…

    “I believe they went the way of the dodo bird as did many other classy and positive american standards. Our culture today is far different than twenty or thirty years ago!!! sadly.”

    Like

  10. Tim Bryce said

    A W.A. of the Dominican Republic wrote…

    “AMEN!!! Especially loved the fact that you don’t wait for Drs. or Dentists either. I stopped doing that 20 years ago and from then on I never had to wait more than 15 minutes, unless it was explained to me in the first 5 that there was an emergency and then I could reschedule my appointment.”

    Like

  11. Tim Bryce said

    A B.H. of Boulder, Colorado wrote…

    “I’m not sure it is “professional courtesy” as much as it is “common courtesy.” You see it everywhere, not just in business exchanges. Used to be, the “customer was always right” – and now, it’s a wonder you can find people in service industries to actually help the customer find what they’re looking for any more.

    Sadly, the “Golden Rule” I’ve experienced more often than not is “He who has the gold gets to make the rules.” We’re much poorer as a society and world for that attitude.”

    Like

  12. Tim Bryce said

    An A.S. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Tim, this is so apropos even in the pathetic dating “world””

    Like

  13. Tim Bryce said

    A B.W. of Macon, Georgia wrote…

    “I can answer the question with one word, “Apathy”
    Nobody cares anymore. Professionalism is gone from the work place. Bullish and vulgar language permeates the work place. Oh, how I wish my grandkids would have a good world to grow up in as I did.

    I could be totally wrong but I believe that liberal attitudes are the cause behind most of it. If you don’t like the rule, gather a few that want to change them and take it to court. Gosh it only took one woman to get prayer taken out of schools.

    Alas, I am afraid the days when folks cared how they talked, how they acted and having manners are gone forever.”

    Like

  14. Tim Bryce said

    An R.J. of Dunedin, Florida wrote…

    “in 2011 I launched http://www.rediscovercourtesy.org to address these same issues. To date I have been on CNBC.com and Marketplace with Kai Ryssdal and I am a writer/speaker on this topic.I shared your content on facebook.com/rediscovercourtesy and re-tweeted. SO NICE to find a kindred spirit. I would absolutely enjoy chatting with you more should you have the time.”

    Like

  15. […] THE DEATH OF PROFESSIONAL COURTESY […]

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,490 other followers

%d bloggers like this: