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March 21, 2003

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QUOTE OF THE WEEK
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"If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors.  There is no other."
-- Carl Schurz (1829 - 1906)
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WHY EVERY BUSINESS IS LIKE A SMALL TOWN
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"A friend of mine has a theory that people behave differently in a small town from the way they do in a big town.  If you're driving on Main Street in a small town and accidentally run through a puddle and splash a pedestrian, you would stop the car and get out to apologize to the person you soaked.  That's quintessential small-town behavior because everyone knows one another in a small town.  And you behave differently when people know you who you are and you, in turn, know them and expect to see them again in the near future.

It's different in a big town.  If you drove down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan and splashed a pedestrian, you'd probably keep on driving.  That's quintessential big-town behavior.  It's very unlikely that you know the pedestrian or that the pedestrian recognizes you, and even less likely that you will run into each other again.  The different circumstances -- particularly the fact that most people are strangers in a big city and remain that way -- dictate different behavior.

I can't think of too many situations in business when big-town ways are preferable to small-town ways.  In my experience, every business is like a small town.  The people you deal with - from the regular customers and clients to the prospects who never return your phone calls - may seem like strangers, but they really are your neighbors.  And you should behave accordingly.  Think twice before you splash them.  And if you splash them apologize - because they'll remember if you don't, and they in turn will tell their neighbors who'll remember it as well, and that in turn will come back to haunt you (McCormack, 2000, pp. 259)."

Reference:  McCormack, M.H. (2000).  Never wrestle with a pig: and ninety other ideas to build your business and career. 
New York:  Penguin Books.
Provided by Beth Flynn of Ohio State University Leadership Center who can be reached at
flynn.61@osu.edu.
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COACHING CALL TO ACTION
WHY EVERY BUSINESS IS LIKE A SMALL TOWN
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In these days when providing great customer service is a way to clearly differentiate yourself in the marketplace, take note.
 

1.     What small moments are defining your character and reputation? 

2.     Are they defining you the way you want to be seen? 

3.     What one change will you make this week that will differentiate you and your business? 

4.     Who is your "buddy" in this process?  Who will you share your answers with to ensure completion of your commitments?

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