In John Niven’s book, The Second Coming, God returns from holiday to discover the world has gone to shit. And he’s none too pleased about it. So he sends his son, Jesus, back down to Earth to sort it out. Along the way via much debauchery and swearing, we see JC come to prominence through the modern cathedral – the talent show. In his journey, JC also reveals that there was actually only one commandment. It’s just that Moses thought one was too simple and decided to write some more. And add more complexity and confusion.
The original commandment was: Be Nice. Two simple words that everything hangs off. If you subscribe to Be Nice, you don’t need any other rules or nonsense.
Sounds simple doesn’t it?
I was reminded of this recently when working on a multi-agency, multi-country pitch. Locked in the bowels of an agency meeting room in Torino for 4 days straight over a weekend, I was an outsider to a team that had already been working on the pitch for the past week at least. Be nice – drop in, say hi, ask how you can get involved, listen and learn. Go out for dinner even though you’re knackered and would rather curl up in the hotel? Yes. Because that’s nice and you really get to know people over dinner. And also a very strange mountain drink that you pass round and keep drinking until you pass out.
Be nice and offer opinion in a constructive, non-confrontational manner. Debate, listen and discuss. Be nice and learn from those with a different experience, different culture and point of view and enrich your own experience along the way.
Be nice and surprise and delight people when you take their words and really focus on making the presentation as best you can. Be nice and make sure everyone feels comfortable, prepared and ready to go. Join in, be collaborative and immerse yourself fully and commit to the cause. Be nice and send a note of thanks for the experience and make new friends along the way who you never know may be the gateway to future opportunities. Because people like to work with people they like which is a fundamental principle we have at Team Eleven.
I write this because I also experienced the opposite of Be Nice that weekend. Of people who would arrive late, be aloof, detached and not be part of the team. With some distance its easy to see but only vindicates what you believe in when you see the opposite. Being part of a team means you commit to it and behave with professionalism and dignity.