Some Shiny Yellow Rule and Whatnot

Treat others like you would want to be treated. Simple enough no? Every relationship or interaction you’re in involves 2 people. Ordering coffee at Starbucks with your barrista or having lunch with a friend or shopping with Mom. The best and easiest way to get more out of them, or out of anybody really, is to give more to them. Sounds crazy right?

– WTF is he yapping about. I gotta give what?! –

 At a restaurant, you’re nicer to the server, you get better service. You help a friend move, he happily helps you back. You take care of your clients, they keep doing business with you. It’s a GIVE and take, not a take and give. I always find it so interesting how the way people conduct businesses is so correlated to how people treat relationships. So many of the subtle nuances can be transferred interchangeably between the two at all stages. I had a mentor when I was at Business Objects and he always preached that in order to be truly wealthy, you need success in both work life and personal life, a perfect balance of both with neither defining who you are entirely.

– WTF? I have to master both?!?! I’ll NEVER be happy! –

No you chump. The secret is to master one and see the similarities between the two. Follow one set of rules for both work and personal.

Tony Hsieh is the CEO of, Inc. During the past 10 years, the company has grown from almost no sales to more than $1 billion in annual gross merchandise sales, driven primarily by repeat customers and word of mouth. Below is an excerpt from Tony’s book that describes how Zappos approaches vendor relationships. I’m going to put an * next to the nuances. Make the connections as you see it.

This goes to show that any relationship you carry whether it be professional or personal, can be as successful or as horrible as you wish it to be with the Golden Rule.

The typical industry approach is to treat vendors like the enemy. Don’t show them any respect, don’t return their phone calls, make them wait for scheduled appointments, and make them buy the meals.

It’s a wonder people don’t realize that business doesn’t have to be done this way.

Ultimately, each party is out for the same thing: to take care of the customers, grow the business, and be profitable. In the long run, it doesn’t behoove either party if there’s only one winner.* If vendors can’t make a profit then they don’t have money to invest in research and development, which in turn means that the products they bring to market will be less inspiring to customers, which in turn negatively affects the retailer’s business because customers aren’t inspired to buy. People want to cut costs and negotiate aggressively because there’s a limited amount of profit to be shared by both sides. As a result of this “death spiral,” most retailers fail.*

We wanted Zappos to be different. We decided to create collaborative relationships in which both parties shared the risks, as well as the rewards.*We found it much easier to create alliances when partners aligned themselves to the same vision and committed to accountability, knowing we’d all benefit from achieving our goals. Not only does this approach get both sides pulling in the same direction, it creates an environment and culture where people are inspired and passionate about what they do.*

We implement this partnership mentality in many ways at Zappos, but it all begins with the Golden Rule: Treat others as you’d like to be treated.* When vendors fly to visit our offices in Las Vegas, they are greeted at the airport by one of our Zappos shuttles. If it’s their first time visiting our office, we give them a tour. We offer them drinks and snacks to make them feel comfortable. This is all far from industry standard, but if we were in their position, I’m sure we wouldn’t mind being treated this way.

2 responses to “Some Shiny Yellow Rule and Whatnot

  1. I agree. I like to look at it as being humble, no matter what level you are, or what industry you’re in, even customer to barista.

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