Courtesy, riots, customer service and employee engagement

Over the last few days a series of reports by Parliament, the police and the press have been released looking into the cause of England’s August riots. You can read an overview in the BBC article: Were the riots caused by bad manners?

In each of the reports, one trend/word/observation/conclusion….call it what you will has emerged. Many people many jump in and guess that it might be ‘unemployment’ or ‘parenting’ or ‘greed’ or ‘criminal’. However, you’d be wrong. The word that has come up in all of the reports is ‘courtesy’ and, particularly, the lack of it by police officers conducting stop and search in many of the areas where the riots took place. The reports suggest that this was a “significant factor in sparking the disturbances”.

Now, I am not condoning the riots. Not at all. The destruction and lawlessness that took place was completely wrong and all perpetrators should be punished.

But, the reports made me think about the breakdown of relationships between the police, youth and local communities and, particularly, how if you don’t start relationships off on the right foot then it’s all down there from there.

Being courteous doesn’t mean you have to agree with someone it just means that you are being polite. Here’s how I think it all links together in a chain:

leads to
which leads to
Real conversation
which helps
to develop thus enabling
to be agreed and
to be delivered

Take one of these links out of the chain and it collapses or we get something that is a lot less than what we want

Now, you may ask what has all of this got to do with small businesses and customers? Everything, I would say. This chain could applied to customer service, team management, leadership, employee engagement, police and community relations, parenting, schooling, marketing….everything.

Time to be more courteous to everyone?

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