Archive for June 24th, 2009


#9 – Don’t Panic Call Tim

Combining Acts of Kindness to
Win Friends and Motivate Strangers™

33 Ideas that will empower you with your coworkers, peers, family, friends and strangers

I’m sure you’ve heard the quote from Sir Isaac Newton, “To every action there is always opposed an equal reaction.” Or from President Jimmy Carter, “Good intentions, beget good intentions.” The analogy I’m pushing here is “what we give, we usually get back,” and hence the premise of my book.

Over the years I’ve had the pleasure of working with some remarkable entrepreneurs, innovators of technology and captains of industry. Some of my employers and some of my clients proved to be outstanding managers and business people. Others failed miserably at being managers and business owners, and even worse at possessing any people skills. “Combining Acts of Kindness to Win Friends and Motivate Strangers” will document some of the events that happened during my career, and how a simple act of kindness can trigger combining acts of kindness and change a person’s life. While my book is in development, I thought I’d share some of the highlights in my blog, and welcome your comments.

#9 – Don’t Panic Call Tim

It was a beautiful summer morning, and the beginning of a work week at our start-up electronics company in Silicon Valley. I was employee #30 of 55, in charge of marketing communications as the company’s product was still in beta stage. If any of you’ve worked in a start-up, you know that the job description given you is only a suggestion, and most likely you’ll be handling a myriad of other tasks to get the boat afloat. So I pretty much jumped in to support others in the company where I could, from stacking boxes to handling the phones, to helping in client product demonstrations.

The prior week we hired our first field technician/engineer, a young guy named Remi, who had three years of work experience at a larger, well established company. Remi was still a bit green in experience, but what he lacked in experience, he made up in enthusiasm.

Remi, reported directly to the VP of Engineering. She was a real no-nonsense straight shooter, who was brilliant at engineering, but lacking any social skills, was a true “ball-buster” type of manager. She would routinely degrade her employees if they failed to complete a task, and she would do it in front of the entire engineering team during her weekly staff meeting.

After sitting through his first staff meeting the previous week, I’m sure Remi was thinking “what did I get myself into?” His assignment to have been completed by Monday was not going to happen, and of course, he was panicked at the idea of what he would endure at staff.

That morning I met up with Remi in the company breakroom and asked how things were going and if he was getting settled in. He sheepishly answered he was settling in, but thought he might not make it through the week. I was shocked at his answer, and asked why?

He confided that the VP of Engineering handed him an assignment, but didn’t give any direction on how to get it done. I laughed and told him it was typical and her way of delivering her now infamous “trial by fire” method of training. I told him not to panic and I’d connect him with someone who could help. Walking him over to Tim, one of the co-founders and key engineering gurus for the company, I made the introductions and explained that Remi needed some help in getting a project done. Knowing Tim was the go-to guy for our company, and the fact he was a great coach and mentoring type person, I knew Remi would do just fine.

The Kindness of Others.

The next day I asked Remi how things went at staff. He smiled and said “thanks for the introduction to Tim, he helped me get my project on track and even though I didn’t complete it in time, he gave me great advice on presenting the facts to the VP.” “He probably saved my job!” he said. We both laughed, but down deep I’m thinking Remi was really thinking he was going to get fired, or worse, quit because he was so embarrassed in front of his new peers.

Remi stayed with the company another eight years, and was promoted several times to a final title of Director of Engineering. The company was successfully sold and he started up his own technology company soon after. We’ve stayed in touch over the years since and remain friends. He’s also helped me with introductions to new clients and has helped me in my business. As for the VP of Engineering, over the next two years I worked with her, she lost all respect from her team and the rest of the company. Ultimately, she lost her job because she was extremely ineffective as a manager.

Bright Idea!
When you meet a new employee, take time to get to know them. Take the lead and make introductions around your department or even around the company where you have connections. Don’t let them feel like strangers. Give advice sparingly, as not to be a “know it all,” and become a good listener, so you can learn about them as a person, not just a co-worker.

Get on the list!

The book will be out later this year, if you’d like one of the first copies, drop me a note and I’ll put you on a list for a personalized copy. Write me at

©2009 Allan Linden. Bright Idea is a service mark of Allan Linden Global Marketing Consultants. Combining Acts of Kindness to Win Friends and Motivate Strangers is a trademark of Allan Linden. All rights reserved.

June 2009
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