The sun is shining in Pennsylvania. It is spring, it has rained, and the grass is green and growing. It is that time of year where you pull out your old lawnmower, get the blade sharpened, and get ready to mow your lawn every week. Or you ask your friends for a recommendation for a Landscaping service.
For the past four years we have pushed our little John Deere up and down the hill in the backyard every week. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. Did you get bored reading how many times I went back and forth with the lawnmower? Me too.
This year we hired Toolan Landscaping to mow our lawn. Why? Why did we hire them? It relates to the most important quality to have in a business. See if you can figure it out after the end of this little anecdote.
At the end of last summer, I was pushing my mower up a steep hill, slipping on the grass, when I noticed Greg Toolan from Toolan Landscaping trimming the grass with a high-powered weed-whipper in a neighbors backyard a few doors down. Oh, maybe I can pay him to trim the grass beside my sidewalks. My weed-whipper lay in parts in the garage, the spring needed to put it back together missing. I don’t know that I would have been able to emotionally handle going all winter with random grass blades touching my sidewalk. I have severe anxiety about my sidewalks not looking neat. I have been tempted to go and cut the grass that touched the sidewalk with a pair of sewing scissors.
“Greg, can you trim the grass beside my sidewalk. I will pay you.”
“You don’t have to pay. I will do it for you. Do you want the outside of the house trimmed too?” (This dialog is from memory. I didn’t have a tape-recorder playing while we talked. But the essence of the conversation is accurate. I may have said, “Hi, or excuse me.” He may have said, “Hello.”)
He trimmed the sidewalk without payment, and he even cleaned up his mess with the machine that is very loud and blows away the little pieces of grass that were cut.
Three things in human life are important: the first is to be kind; the second is to be kind; and the third is to be kind.
― Henry James
Henry James may not have been talking about a Landscaping business when he said what three things in life are important, but kindness is always good advice.
What did you guess? Did you guess kindness?
Kindness is the most important quality to have in a business.
Mr. Toolan did not pay me to write this, or offer to give me a tree. This is not a paid endorsement. Isn’t it nice to just be nice?
And you might even be thinking, “Hodges, what are you writing about a landscaping business? I don’t even live in Pennsylvania? I live in Canada. I can’t hire the guy.”
The story appears to be about cutting grass, but it is really about being nice. Or that the good guy wins.
Do you tend to call the manager more often when you get bad service? Or do you like to call the manager to tell them someone was nice to you? Mr. Toolan owns his own company. So I can’t call his boss and say, “Hey, this guy Greg who works for you did a great job. You should give him a raise.” But, I can tell you, so I will. “Hey, if you want your lawn mowed, or you need a tree planted, or you want ideas of how to make your yard look great, call Greg Toolan.”
Toolan Landscaping, 610-256-9054, or send him an email, firstname.lastname@example.org.
What do you think is the most important quality to have in a business? Please tell me in the comments. I would love to chat.
If you can’t hire Greg to put a couple of trees in your yard, or mow your lawn, because you live on a boat off the coast of Italy, then today when you go shopping for an ice cream cone, tell the manager that the sales clerk who helped you was kind. Take a minute to write a note, call the manager, or do an on-line survey. Today follow the advice of Henry James: be kind, be kind, be kind.
Just be kind. Be kind to your dog. Be kind to your husband. Be kind to your kids. Be kind to your wife. Be kind to the telemarketer. And, be kind to yourself.