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Sunday, January 20, 2013

Five Rules About Social Karma and Business

I had a very pleasant conversation with a lawyer a little more than a week ago I’d like to share with you – this lawyer was a business contact of mine, and I had referred him to another person in my network, and it led to a business deal that didn’t benefit me in the slightest.

He called me to thank me.

The fact that this is remarkable, is unfortunate. It’s great from the lawyer’s perspective for having such great character to take time and reach out, and I certainly appreciated it personally because I knew that I had helped two different people I thought well of, but I certainly don’t think enough people are considering the power of having good manners.

I believe in social karma -- when you give to other people, it will come back, and if you are unpleasant or unkind that there are real consequences to those actions.  There is room for social karma in business, and here are some rules I try to live by, and I would encourage others to consider:

1. It Doesn’t Have To Be About You

We live in an age where we have terrific amounts of data available to us, and we often leech information off of the internet and our business colleagues, but when was the last time you gave back? How many people post “My Company Is Great, Use Me?” rather than share original content, or put something out there that will have a lasting net benefit to our community?

Sure, we’d all like our businesses to succeed, but we don’t have to tread on people to make that happen. If you see an opportunity to give back to someone else, by all means do so.

2. Your Competitors Are Not The Enemy

In fact, your competitors are real people who are talking to the same clients, and know mutual members of your professional circles. Don’t say anything about them that you wouldn’t want said about you. Your business can’t be everything to everyone, so if you find ways to be kind to your competitors, they may someday be working under, over, or beside you and you should do well to consider that.

3. It’s Okay To Disagree – But Play Nice

Recently, I had an online disagreement with Scott Stratten on the way to use Linkedin. He and I disagreed on how to start conversations for business – he believed a spontaneous question was better than a formal blog post, and he took the time to talk to me about it. I’ve read Scott’s books, and I think he’s a marvelous writer and an excellent thinker, but the awesome thing about conversations is that we *won’t* always agree on things, and we are totally different people, with different styles and personalities. He took the time to talk to me online, and he owes me nothing, won’t make a dime from typing that message, and knows little about myself. Rather than be aggravated because we disagreed, I enjoyed our conversation, and I tried to be open minded with what he was sharing with me.

4. You Are Not A Supreme Being

You don’t know everything – none of us do. We are all fallible, and we are all (hopefully) learning new things. Don’t be afraid to apologize if you do something wrong, or insult someone, and don’t be afraid to actually listen and learn something new from someone who might know more.

By the same token, don’t force your way of doing things down other people’s throats. They are going to work differently than you, and while you can work with someone, you can’t change their personality, work ethic, or the way they are hard-wired to work in certain areas. In other words, don’t bulldoze people who are doing things differently.

Of course, also don’t be afraid to cross-examine and challenge what you are being told is empirically true, and forge your own road.

5. Don’t Forget To Thank People

In a digital age, we don’t spend as much time face-to-face as we might, but that doesn’t mean we can’t keep those face-to-face courtesies alive. Remember to take the time thank people, acknowledge their accomplishments, or when talking about someone else, say something positive about them.

In the spirit of this article, I’d like to thank Jennifer Bulman, Alexander Masny, Paul Nazareth, Jayme Soulati, Rina Mancini, Jesse Hirsch, Alison Zinkie, John Nemo, Michelle Dunn, Michael Klozotsky, Nicholas McCabe, and Scott Stratten for interesting correspdondance, supportive or constructive criticism, or kindness they have shown me with my blog.

If anyone wants to speak with me, I can be reached at my direct line of 226-946-1730, or my email address below.

Thanks kindly,
Blair DeMarco-Wettlaufer
Kingston Data and Credit –
Cambridge, Otario


  1. good reminders - thanks for posting

  2. Blair, I love the way you think, and by extension, the way you talk!

    I'm gonna tweet this one!

    Leah M

  3. Appreciate all your points - and the thanks! So nice to bring intelligent conversation and real examples into online discourse. Incidentally, I do agree with you over Scott for business conversations on LinkedIn; because the "question kickoff" has been severely abused by people who don't understand it. For a sometimes terrific amalgam of the two styles, see Tim Tyrell of @TimsStrategy.

  4. Thanks Blair it is nice to know there is more people like me out there!!!
    My solutions are designed to help my clients and my concerns are always secondary. A happy client will tell there friends and my ball keeps on rolling.