Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval have moved to the top of the advertising industry by following a simple but powerful philosophy: it pays to be nice. Where so many companies encourage a dog eat dog mentality, the Kaplan Thaler Group has succeeded through chocolate and flowers. In THE POWER OF NICE, through their own experiences and the stories of other people and businesses, they demonstrate why, contrary to conventional wisdom, nice people finish first. Turning the well-known adage of "Nice Guys Finish Last" on its ear, THE POWER OF NICE shows that "nice" companies have lower employee turnover, lower recruitment costs, and higher productivity. Nice people live longer, are healthier, and make more money. In today's interconnected world, companies and people with a reputation for cooperation and fair play forge the kind of relationships that lead to bigger and better opportunities, both in business and in life. But being nice doesn't mean acting wimpy. In fact, nice may be the toughest four-letter word you'll ever encounter.
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September 19, 2006
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Excerpt from The Power of Nice by Robin Koval
For years, we have loved a particular security guard in our Manhattan office building. In fact, most of us at The Kaplan Thaler Group think the world of him. A large, jovial man in his mid-fifties, Frank brightens people?s days by giving everyone who walks into our building a huge, warm greeting. ?Hello, Linda!? ?Hello, Robin!? he?ll say. ?Happy Friday!?
Frank?s engaging banter changed the way we started work in the morning. Instead of simply flashing our passes anonymously and making a beeline for the elevator, we found ourselves seeking out Frank and making sure to say hello. He set a positive tone for the entire day. But we never considered how Frank might be helping our business, other than preventing intruders from entering the premises.
That is, until the day Richard Davis, the president and COO of U.S. Bank, the sixth-largest bank in the United States, came to see us. For months, our entire team at The Kaplan Thaler Group had been working to create a pitch that would wow Davis and win us the huge U.S. Bank account.
At the time of Davis?s visit, it was down to the wire. We were one of two agencies still in the running for the account. Davis and his team were flying in from their executive offices in Minneapolis to meet personally with us. We didn?t realize it at the time, but in fact Davis and his staff were a bit apprehensive about the kind of treatment they?d get in New York City. The furious pace and hard-bitten ?out of my way? attitude of the Big Apple had become part of the mythology of the city. They were afraid we would be too cold, too aloof.