Magnus Research Consultants has been headquartered in the same location since 1996. In the first few years in our office space, the owner of the building also had an office in the same building. He retired, then passed away, leaving his family in charge of his vast business holdings. When the building owner moved out, we had no one on site to handle things that went wrong, making it difficult to have relatively simple maintenance tasks performed. Things changed for the best when, about 10 years ago, the long time manager of all the family’s properties relocated the property management office to our building. Prior to his becoming our work neighbor, we had a rather contentious relationship with the property manager, largely due to the fact that the only time he heard from us was when we had a complaint. Upon the relocation of the property manager to our office building, I decided to get acquainted with him. I have learned a lot about him from spending time talking with him both inside and outside the building. (He is a smoker and I often chat with him when he is on a smoke break outside his office.) He is a delightful person and I regularly go out of my way to talk with him about his time in the Navy, his early career working for a chain of liquor stores in the “cocaine cowboy” days of 1980s Miami, and his love for his family. The unexpected benefit is, as you may have guessed, that nowadays, any time we need something to be taken care of around the office, the property manager responds quickly and thoughtfully. This proves to me that, once again, Mom was right: A little kindness does indeed go a long way.
I wholeheartedly agree with Melissa. Ray is an interesting guy and, as with many relationships, it is beneficial to spend time getting to know people who impact one’s life, whether on a regular or infrequent basis. Running a business involves many moving parts, whether it is the property manager, the teller at the bank, the guy at the dry cleaners, the clients’ assistants, or the letter carrier. “Chatting them up” sincerely, has long term benefits. It’s hard to know when you will need help, the office door needs to be fixed, a shirt needs to be cleaned, or a check cashed. Developing and maintaining professional relationships with the powerful, and sometimes not so powerful (think cleaning crew) is worthwhile. It is the right thing to as a human, and it can pay off in unexpected ways. Don’t wait until something breaks to be friendly with the fixer. And, you might just make a friend.