On Being Thoughtful
“you simply can’t think efficiency with people. You think effectiveness with people and efficiency with things.” ― Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
In a world full of hacks to save time for the sake of being more productive and efficient, thoughtfulness is an underrated super power.
Many people are forgetting about what it means to be effective, especially when it comes to being effective with other people.
Automation is efficient, but is it effective?
Canned responses are efficient, but are they transactional?
Email blasts scale and would get the word out fast, but would some personal phone calls have made more impact?
One way of being effective with people, is simply being thoughtful.
It's the thing you do to show your customer, a partner, a colleague, spouse, or friend that you've taken the time to process a tiny detail about them, and taken actions in their best interests.
It could be a referral. It could be a check-in to see how things are going. You could go out of your way to make sure they get what they need. Asking deep questions to try to understand them better while trying to solve a problem for them is an act of thoughtfulness.
If they're your customers, thoughtfulness can also be how you design their journey with you. Does their entire experience live in your automation machine, or are there personal, human touch points along the way? Are you saving them time? Are you reducing friction for them to work with you? Do you follow up on what you delivered? 2 weeks later? 3 months later? 1 year later?
While there is some validity to not worrying too much about what others think or doing too much people pleasing, the person who chooses to be the most thoughtful person in the crowd can often separate themselves in someone's mind by delighting them with the unexpected.
And isn't separating yourself from the rest, what business and personal branding are all about?
All things being equal in price, quality, or function, the most thoughtful business or person wins.