I take regular email newsletters from Dan Pink, the American author, journalist, and television host. His most recent Pinkcast was based upon incivility in our society.  He cited “Trolls. Road rage and social media weaponized to destroy. We face an epidemic of incivility.” 

The Pinkcast had a simple antidote from Professor Christine Porath, a Georgetown University Professor of Management, and the USA’s leading researcher on civility. Porath claims that when the atmosphere is civil, people feel respected, feel valued have a sense of belonging and feel part of the team.  This leads to them being much more productive, focused, creative and helpful.  The antidote is called the “10-5 Rule”. It’s simple.  If you are within 10 feet of someone you make eye contact and smile; within 5 feet you say, “Hello.” Used in a hospital system in the USA, patient satisfaction scores rose, and more people were referred to the hospital.  

The video clip interested me.  Remember the old saying, “Civility costs nothing?”  I had just watched this clip when I visited a number of hotels on business.  In each one, I was struck by the way that members of staff acknowledged me, as I passed, with a smile and a word of welcome.  Of course, I reciprocated.  It gave me a feeling of welcome and warmth. “It’ll be part of their training,” I can hear you say.  That’s as may be, but is it part of the training for staff in your organisation?  Also, it shouldn’t just be for the public/customer facing staff either.  Porath’s point was about developing a positive culture throughout the organisation, so it is for everyone to use with everyone – visitors and colleagues alike.

Try that smile thing.  It’s a reflex.  Mostly you will get a smile back.  Also, a word of greeting should bring a response.  See how it makes you feel… 

As Brucie used to say, ”Nice to see you; to see you nice!”

Iain White 23rd November 2019

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