Justin Ricklefs


Nice guys don’t win

Nice guys don’t win.  Heck, they don’t even come close to the medal stand.  They accept mediocre jobs in cubicles while the real business men and women get ahead.  The sharks, ruthless, power hungry.  There’s no room for love, hope or encouragement in a corporate setting.

Right?  Or only partially right?  Or more than that, only if you allow yourself to believe that bold-faced lie?

Over the past ten years in big business (NCAA, NFL, major healthcare settings), I’ve seen these lies take root in nice, well meaning people.  And I’ve watched those people roll over and let the stereotype play out.  They’ve stepped aside, let the power brokers push them around, and ultimately accepted ‘good enough’.

But does it have to be that way?  Can nice people, honest people, loving people climb to the very top of the ladder too?  I’m still working through these lies myself as a recovering people-pleaser, but I’d argue the answer is yes.  And more than yes, I believe that the corporate world is shifting, begging actually, for love to intersect business in meaningful ways.

I’m certainly not talking about sappy, huggy, kumbaya stuff.  I’m talking about authentic love in the corporate setting.  Love that puts your employees’ needs above yours.  Love that drives a sales cycle with a potential client and creates deep, meaningful value and relationships.  Love that seeks to serve not simply take.  Love that owns up to mistakes and doesn’t back-stab, point fingers and posture.  What if our office culture shifted from political positioning to honesty, transparency and love?

Have you ever cried with a co-worker when he went through a divorce?  Did you have a lump in your throat calling a client to tell her you were leaving that current role because you accepted another one?  In a closed door meeting, did you ever ask “no, how are you really doing?” to someone and then listen for 30 minutes as the flood gates of pain, confusion and doubt poured out?  I sure have.  You spend so much time at work, arguably too much but that’s a different post, that you are missing one of the most amazing places in your life for love to take hold.

We’ll spend a great deal of time on this blog talking about the intersection of love and business.  But if my gut (and my experience) is right, love intersecting with your business can not only transform you but also everyone you encounter.

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