Be a Class Act…DON’T Knock the Other Guy

Some days life is a bit confusing. Just when you think everyone in the world should know one of the simplest rules of business (and life), something happens to prove you wrong.

This happened to me and my middle son, Dan, today. It involved a newly arrived fitness club up the street.

Dan just signed up yesterday for the summer college break, but realized after his first workout that the club probably wasn’t the best fit to his needs. In fact, his disappointment with their equipment and rules had already prompted him to call some other clubs last night.

As a result, this morning after his second workout, Dan asked them if he could cancel. Fortunately, he was within their 3-day cancellation window.

As you might expect, the club attendant who was helping him asked why he wanted to cancel. Dan was honest and told him about another club that had a summer offer at half the cost, but yet had more equipment.

That’s all it took for the attendant to launch into a list of negatives about the other club. Little did he know that I’d been a satisfied member of the other club in the past and that Dan’s younger brother was currently a member there.

When Dan told me the story, I just had to shake my head. Why would a new business that’s looking to add members and build a positive reputation allow this to happen?

I felt a little bad for the attendant because it was obvious he hadn’t been given proper training. Clearly, the club’s management team failed him on this aspect of handling disappointed customers.

The situation reminded me how lucky I was to work for 25 years for an equipment company that took the position that we were never to talk poorly about a competitor. I remember learning these two excellent reasons for staying mum about the competition:

  • It’s always best to be a class act. Stay above the fray. Leave the bad mouthing to someone else.
  • Your energy is better spent talking up what’s great about your company. Why give the other guy free advertising?

In my mind, rule #1 is just as applicable to our personal lives as it is to the world of business. Always be a class act and focus on finding good things to say about others out in the world!

“A compliment is verbal sunshine” Robert Orben (Magician and comedy writer)

Question: In what ways will you be a class act today?