Q&A with Author Kristin Tillquist
1. What gave you the idea for the book?
I’ve seen the best and the worst in people — as a lawyer, a political official, and a business entrepreneur. I’ve always been interested in interpersonal communication, psychology and fascinated by what makes people think and act the way they do. I’ve had many opportunities to work and travel abroad and analyze intercultural communications.
Unfortunately, few professionals or corporations currently boast kindness on their resume, in their professional biographies, in their advertising, or on their websites. When asked for strengths or corporate values, few brag that kindness is their forte. I think they should, and Capitalizing on Kindness aims to make that happen.
2. What is “Kindness Capital”?Kindness Capital is generated by a person when they apply kindness, consideration and caring in their personal and professional interactions. Kindness capital is what is built up when you consciously set out to be more kind, to develop your skills at applying kindness. Kindness capital exists in the individual, in a company, and in our society. Making kindness one’s modus operandi has been scientifically proven to be both a good and a smart thing to do! Being kind creates wealth and prosperity.
3. Why has kindness received a bad rap in the business world?
There are a lot of myths about kindness that make people shy away from embracing it as a business strategy. The “nice guys finish last” and “no good deed goes unpunished” myths are pretty prevalent. In business, especially in the North American business world, a mindset of “better, more and faster,” combined with complex technology, and an ever-increasing global economy, fosters fierce competition. In a culture where the winner is “king,” kindness is a second class citizen. It’s thought to be akin to being a wimp or pushover. However, being respectful, cooperative and considerate is the most effective way to make one’s mark. It fosters strong and lasting business relationships: it garners the best and brightest employees to ones ranks, creates customer loyalty, and develops referrals.
4. What are the 5 keys powers to success you mention in your book?
Success comes from being trusted and building a strong reputation. A sure path to success is applying certain “powers” that increase one’s desirability and marketability. The five powers I talk about in my book are:
- The power of Reputation – building a caring reputation, being known for have others’ best interests in mind;
- The power of Reciprocity – doing favors to assist others, and then garnering reciprocal kindness from others;
- The power of Personality - developing a positive, likeable personality.
- The power of Thanks - being gracious and appreciative of others;
- The power of Connecting - connecting, networking and cooperating with others.
5. In your book you talk about how some of the most successful people using these “powers.” Please explain.
Oprah Winfrey, Rick Warren, J.C. Penney, Colin Powell, Sandra Bullock — They all have developed kindness capital in building their success and reputation in business. They understand that kindness is not only the right thing to do, it is the most strategic. Answer these questions for yourself and you’ll get a notion of what the Five Powers of Kindness covey:
- What is the best way to win someone over to your way of thinking, or to do that task you need them to do? Through the use of anger and instilling fear or by being firm, but kind?
- Is the best way to build a business and top-of-mind recognition in the community through constantly taking from others, or by giving back and mentoring?
- Would you trust someone you met a few times online to service your business account, or would you give the account to a person whom you know and like instead?
6. How can a person build their “Kindness Capital?”
Each of the Five Powers will build kindness capital. One way is through the Power of Connecting, which includes building a network of supportive friends and colleagues. Below are some examples of how to achieve this.*Show you care. Take a sincere interest in your colleague, associate or employee. Find out who they are, what motivates them and see if you can help them meet their goals.
*Build reciprocity by doing favors for others. Help out with that report, stay late for someone who has a conflict, ask what you can do to help.
*Keep an upbeat, positive attitude even in the face of diversity. Meet challenges with dignity and determination. Put yourself in that person’s place.
*Be friendly. People like being around someone who is nice.
*Show appreciation. Make that thank you call, return that favor, and recognize employees, and all stakeholders for their good work.
* Don’t procrastinate! “The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.” (H. Jackson Brown).
7. Why is it so important 21st century businesses learn to build their kindness capital?
Today’s professionals have lost the personal in interpersonal communications. In today’s challenging economic times combined with a myriad of new technologies and applications (i.e. the scope of e-commerce, cyber-infrastructure, and information technology), is changing the way we do business; business style looks very little like it used to. The focus on efficiency and productivity that typifies the 21st century business environment can be a big distraction from creating and building relationships. The scale of everyday technology use is massive – the use of blackberry phones and the social media via the Internet.
And the global economy creates a sense of urgency, scarcity and a zero-sum attitude. It is more important now than ever to buck this trend and focus on cooperation rather than competition. It is absolutely imperative that 21st Century business professionals create and foster more personal ways of working together and relating in their business relationships. Go to that networking event, meet for breakfast or lunch, do a favor, or find a mutual activity to enjoy (“Golf, anyone?”). To really cement a multimillion dollar business deal, it takes more than a few emails.
8. What are your goals for the book?
My goals for the book are pretty ambitious! To start, I would like to see it create a cultural change in the North American business world, and ultimately effect business practices globally. My goal is for professionals to be able to “come out of the closet,” so to speak and be proud of their kindness and caring. Rather than seeing it as a possible impediment to business success, kindness is truly a business asset — which needs to be acknowledged and fostered — especially in the 21st Century!Return to Main Press Page
To find out more about Kristin’s appearances, lectures, and other programs, also visit the Training page.