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Nice Guys Don't Finish Last

by Lewis Green  |  
March 8, 2007

For those of you too young to remember or who don't follow baseball, before Yogi Berra, Leo Durocher was known as the baseball philosopher. Although the phrase was taken out of context, he is best known for the following: "Nice guys finish last." Not true....

CK inspired this blog in a post in which she discussed P&G's mantra: It isn't about telling and selling, it is about relationships.
So true, yet how many of us have faced blank stares when we tell clients and potential clients that they need to focus less on telling about their products and services, thinking that is selling, and listen more to their customers and talk with them, not at them. Because at the end of the day, people (the who) come first, and everything else (the what) follows.
Within that same post, CK praised and thanked several bloggers who during that week had helped her and/or given her opportunities and/or just were good friends. She didn't need to do that publicly but she knows that public praise helps others to build their brand. And she is secure and smart enough to recognize that helping others who may be vying for some of the same work doesn't do anything but help her brand.
However, I believe CK would share and help others even if it didn't result in "pay it forward." She is nice, and that means something in life and in business.
We want to work with and do business with people who we like, who we trust, who make our lives easier and who are nice. They make us happy, and there is enough sadness in the world. Who needs it in our lives or our businesses?
Here are some other successful business people who are not only good at what they do but are nice and who are relationship builders. They understand that building businesses is about serving people's wants and needs and not about what we make or what we sell. People have choices in products and services of every kind; the differentiator among businesses is who we are, not what we are.
My list of bloggers you should know:
1. Logic + Emotion's David Armano: A smart guy, a good writer and a caring person, who I read everyday to learn something new.
2. Toby Bloomberg: Her blog is smart, she is easy to get along with, and her "Friday Fun" makes my day.
3. Paul McEnany: Paul is a good-ol' boy, and that is high praise from this writer, who learned to appreciate the honest and fun loving rednecks making up the Southeast. Texas (and much of our planet) during my nine years on the Florida Panhandle, and living and working in Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas. My BS is from the University of Florida, where I drank lots of Dixie Beer and learned life the old-fashioned way--by living it.
4. Cam Beck: A straight shooter, a patriot and one of the smartest people I have ever read. He also is unrelenting in commenting on others' blogs, a trait to be emulated.
5. Valeria Maltoni: Who doesn't love Italian women? But in addition to being of good genes, Valeria is also a great commenter and a wonderfully cogent writer, who cares deeply about her audience. She can also be audacious and is always a straight talker.
6. Gavin Heaton: If you haven't discovered Gavin, you are missing out. I once had the moniker, "the conscience of Starbucks," given to me by the VP of Communications. Gavin is that kind of guy: he is caring, a good writer, helpful and smart.
7. Tim Masi Guy Jackson: You don't have to ride a bicycle to read Tim. He has a great sense of humor, is self-depracating and darn funny.
8. Mack Collier: Mack challenges us to be better, whether it's his Z list, his weekly top 25, or his posts calling out stuff we ought to know... Mack is a must read.
Finally, we have this forum because of Ann Handley. Not only is she the content editor of the Daily Fix (along with MarketingProfs itself), but she is a daily fixture in our lives -- always willing to share, to be a friend or to be a smart writer.
And what all these people have in common is the ongoing effort they put into reaching out to others to build relationships. Yes, they are smart, great at what they do, and good at writing. But they don't tell and sell, they share, they build, they help, and they do all that asking nothing in return. In my mind, that is the lesson of this blog: building business, marketing products and services and selling widgets, when done right, puts people first.
P.S. I left off others: Gianandrea and Elaine Fogel, for example. You know who you are. God bless you. There's just not enough room to say thank you properly.

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Lewis Green, Founder and Managing Principal of L&G Business Solutions, LLC, ( brings three decades of business management experience. L&G Business Solutions, LLC, represents his third company. Additionally, he held management positions with GTE Discovery Publications, Puget Sound Energy and Starbucks Coffee Company.

In addition to his business experiences, Lewis is a published author and a former journalist, sports writer and travel writer. His feature articles have appeared in books, magazines and newspapers throughout North America. He has taught in public schools; lobbied for organizations both in state capitols and in Washington, D.C.; delivered workshops, seminars, and training programs; and made presentations to audiences in colleges, businesses and professional organizations. Lewis also has served as a book editor with a large publisher, the Executive Editor overseeing four magazines, and a newspaper department editor. Lewis served eight years in the U.S. Air Force, where he received the Air Force Commendation Medal.

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  • by Cam Beck Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    Lewis - If my baby hadn't smiled at me this morning, your endorsement would be the highlight of my day. Thank you. I don't believe it for a second, mind you, but that won't stop me from being grateful for your friendship. :) Compliments notwithstanding, the timing of your article is appropriate for me. It's true what you say - that companies need to consider not what they want first, but more about what the consumer wants. You know - it doesn't matter how much the market demonstrates this maxim to be true, there will always be people who insist on putting up a dozen barriers to membership on their Website because they want a bunch of consumer data - even though they are not giving anything comparable in return to entice users to supply that data.

  • by Paul McEnany Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    mmmmm, dixie beer. :) Lewis- Thank you so much for the good words. It's a pleasure to be included in a list of so many incredible bloggers like those guys. Really, great stuff. Keep up the great work!

  • by Bill Gammell Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    Lewis, Thank you for writing "nice guys (and gals) don't finish last". I truly believe this as well. A sincere "Thank you" needs to be phrase that is heard much more often in the world, especially in business.

  • by Toby Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    Lewis - I don't have a bebe but Max (my Westie) did wag his tail today; however your kind words made my day! Your friendship and generosity of spirit is an inspiration - as your Thursday post dedicated to the people who served our country clearly demonstrates. Looks like you might be close to claiming Tim's "King of Group Hug" status ;-)

  • by Lewis Green Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    Thanks all. I think so many of us have so much to offer, and it can be provocative, narrative, educational, informative or any of a variety of ways of expressing ourselves that are available to us. (Man, that's a clumsy sentence.) What I struggle with is creating a tone that isn't arrogant or negative, as much of my writing calls upon me to be a straight-shooter and in print that can be misunderstood. My point: We (I) need to focus on tone as much as content and understand the reaction it will engender. And since one of my primary objectives is to engage readers, encourage sharing, and elicit other thoughts. I need to understand that objectivity can play better than total subjectivity. In this post's case, I tried to use examples of bloggers who offer a variety of styles, hoping that our readers will discover someone they relate to.

  • by CK Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    Lewis--what a kind post and a terrific variety of great blogs for readers to review. In my book (and I think many, many others) the nice guy/gal finishes first. Not sure why 'nice' got such a bad wrap. As momma says "it's nice to be important but far more important to be nice." (and momma is never wrong ya know ;-). Even in biz, clients often remark how great it is to be around positive, nice energy. P.S. Thanks for really making my week.

  • by Lewis Green Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    CK, Having been raised by a tough Mom and a superstar athlete Dad, I got the message late (like yesterday). Clients do want to "be around positive, nice energy." That is why you are so successful (plus you're good at what you do).

  • by Mack Collier Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    Thanks for the mention Lewis, an honor to be included with you so many other bloggers that are smarter than I. But I think you hit on something important, bloggers you should KNOW. This is what's go great about blogging, you get to KNOW these wonderful people and you can meet/talk to them and get to know them, and in the process learn so much.

  • by Elaine Fogel Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    Thanks, Lewis. I learn from this group every day. As a latecomer to blogging, I find the experience refreshing and inspirational.

  • by Lewis Green Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    Mack, Several of you recently ran posts about relationship building through blogs. I have known you and the others I mentioned here for only six months, and have personally met Ann and CK. I feel as if each of you is a confidant, a friend and a peer to whom I can not only share but also outsource word or provide referrals and leads. That is the power of relationship building. When that begins happening, our blogs also serve as a networking tool to grow our businesses. And that is the power of "and" vs "either/or. Although we may not start out blogging as a means to grow our businesses (although that was one of my three goals), the power of "and" means that when we use marketing/communications tools correctly and honorably, they result in multiple returns, such as the gifts of sharing, the gifts of learning, the gifts or relationship building, and the gifts of business growth.

  • by Valeria Maltoni Thu Mar 8, 2007 via blog

    Lewis: Very kind of you to share the space with all of us. People remain a big differentiating factor. I'm reading "Designing Interactions" by Bill Moggridge as I'm reading "The Origin of Brands" (I know CK reads this;-) and I'm fascinated to see how the whole technology industry started. The 'who's who' group of people who made things from scratch -- those same tools we take for granted today. The sheer passion for doing what they were doing comes through the pages. Yes, we're back to the renaissance of relationships and productive conversations. Not that any of us ever left...

  • by David Armano Fri Mar 9, 2007 via blog

    I'll keep this simple. It feels very nice to be "part of something". Good post Lewis.

  • by Tim Jackson Fri Mar 9, 2007 via blog

    Dang it! I was in a meeting with a parts supplier of mine all day yesterday- though we did get a ride in and sushi (of course). I missed out on this entire conversation yesterday! I have to defend my title as Group Hug Guy (first Gavin and now you)! Seriously, this is an honor to me to be listed with this group. I am a reader of each of these folks, one way or another- either directly through their blogs or through the conversations that happen here and elsewhere. I am truly humbled by sharing space with them- thank you my friend. [Well, except for maybe Paul. He smells funny... ;-)] It is my belief, as I say so frequently, that having a relationship with my customers is the best way for me to serve them and in turn serve my own selfish desire to stay employed. They tell me what they want and need because they believe I am listening and interested in their feedback. It's true too. Anyway, as I ramble on- thank you my friend. I am very honored.

  • by Lewis Green Fri Mar 9, 2007 via blog

    Tim, You are the best Man! I wish in my younger days we had hooked up for a long bike ride. David, Your posts are unique and special. Valeria, Passion, renaissance of relationships and productive conversations--doesn't get better than that.

  • by Gavin Heaton Sat Mar 10, 2007 via blog

    Thanks for the kinds words, Lewis. I think Mack has a great point ... the bloggers that we come to love, the ones that we come back to post after post, week after week, are those whom we come to know. We come to know them through their blogs and pick up on their thoughfulness, their willingness to share/be generous and their desire to play a part in an amporphous "community". If we believe that we can make the world a better place one person at a time, then what better way to activate this than through a blog? You never know where in the world that person may be.

  • by Lewis Green Sun Mar 11, 2007 via blog

    You perfectly paraphrased Margaret Mead: "If we believe that we can make the world a better place one person at a time, then what better way to activate this than through a blog? You never know where in the world that person may be." She says "it's the only way we can make a difference." And Gandhi adds, "We must be the change we wish to see in the world." Those I read and love all have the ability to do so.

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