What Goes Around Comes Around—Finding Gold in the Golden Rule

by: Mary Lemmer

Growing up, my parents always taught me to “treat people the way I would like to be treated.”  Maybe your parents taught you a similar lesson.  Of course, as an elementary school-aged kid, treating people how we wanted to be treated mostly involved choosing whether to name call, share, tease, or go to birthday parties.  The intent of the rule doesn’t change with age, but the specific actions do evolve.  For instance, treating someone how we’d like to be treated today is more likely to mean we respond to an email quickly or give someone a raise.  Still, we make decisions related to sharing, teasing, or going to birthday (or other types of) parties.

Entrepreneurs make lots of decisions and interact (hopefully) with lots of people, from customers to employees.  How often do you think about your actions coming back around to you?  When making decisions and interacting with others, do you ever consider how you would like to be treated?

Consider these scenarios:

  • Someone asks you to be her/his guest of honor at an upcoming event.  You have to (a) decide if you will go and (b) let her/him know that you will or won’t attend.  Do you respond immediately, giving that person the most advanced notice possible, or do you delay?
  • An employee of yours has been exceeding expectations for the past two years and is surely worth more than her/his current compensation.  If you were in her/his shoes, you’d expect a raise.  Do you give that person a raise?

Those situations seem awfully harmless when compared to hiding information about upcoming layoffs, corrupt decision making in a company, or big geographical moves.  Those decisions and actions are of a bit larger magnitude, but does that mean we should treat them any differently?  Some of the most recognized companies for culture, best places to work, and employee happiness are some of the most transparent companies.  Where would you prefer to work?  A company that hides everything from its employees, or a company that shares important information with its team?  I know my answer and it does influence how I lead and the cultures I have built and will build in the future.

It’s easy for us to take action in our best interests, but are those really the best actions?  Challenge yourself to be more mindful of your decision making and interactions with others.  Are you treating others the way you’d like to be treated?  If not, do it.  It’s guaranteed to spread good karma to come back around.

About the author Mary Lemmer @melemmer
Mary is an entrepreneur, having been through the trenches, starting, building, and consulting for companies since age fourteen. She is also an Associate for an early stage VC firm, RPM Ventures, & she knows what venture capitalists really look for & the skills necessary to be a venture backed entrepreneur. In addition to her entrepreneurial ventures, Mary trained at The Second City & improvises through group jams, comedy writing, & Improv 4 Entrepreneurs workshops. Read more from Mary at her blog, Venture Gal.

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