If there is one thing every business should embrace, which is also a rule every executive should follow, it is this: Personalize the services you provide, with compassion and wisdom, so your supporters can be the beneficiaries of your leadership and the champions of your respective organization.
Nowhere is that principle more important, because the stakes (both psychological and physical) are so high, than within the world of treatment for drug and alcohol addiction.
In this situation, a leader must combine intelligence with sympathy – he or she must possess a bedside manner that goes well beyond the confines of a single room or meeting place – since the services a guest receives depend on more than following a particular regimen or reciting the tenets of a specific philosophy.
I write these words from experience, where, as the Founder and Executive Director of La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, I can attest to the value – no, the necessity – of customizing a recovery plan for each individual.
This approach is both practical and smart because addiction is a disease of many forms; its power strikes with different degrees of ferocity, with different types of substances, poisoning the body and polluting the soul among a diverse array of people.
From the otherwise serene-looking lawyer to the troubled college student to the forlorn spouse or parent, the road to recovery is, instead, a collection of roads (plural) with a common destination.
The larger point – the one that should transform the way companies operate – has its roots in the work I oversee and the help my colleagues provide. Call it the maxim of “Compassionate Care,” in which each person enjoys the aid and counsel of a professional with a vested interest in a fellow human being’s success.
In this regard, success is freedom from addiction and a return to daily life. That transition is, in many cases, a monumental advance for a patient . . . and a monument to patience.
The latter is a strength every business should adopt, and a habit every worker should display, because, without the willingness to listen to your supporters, you will never fully understand what they need or want.
Imagine a company governed by impatience, where consumers get curt replies to complex questions and endure the dismissive attitude of managers and staff.
No executive would knowingly encourage such an atmosphere of arrogance and contempt; but, unless that same executive emphasizes the indispensable value of being a patient listener and an attentive professional, a culture of negativity can quickly spread throughout an office or series of stores.
The Kindness Principle: A Universal Lesson of Acceptance
The overriding theme to this discussion involves the principle of kindness.
Treat the people who seek your assistance with more than an obligatory display of respect.
Exceed people’s expectations by proving, through your own words and deeds, that you have a commitment to upholding everlasting virtues like honor, decency, compassion and excellence.
These actions will be the source of praise and referrals, word-of-mouth marketing that no advertisement can equal and no amount of self-congratulatory press can accomplish.
This universal lesson about acceptance – the willingness to take people as they are, free of criticism or condemnation – is not only a path to individual recovery; it is a guidepost for leadership and longevity.
So, yes, kindness is a blessing unto all of us.
It rewards are many because its dividends accrue to men and women from all walks of life.
These symbols of renewed health and prosperity are the ultimate examples of recovery.
Manny Rodriguez is the executive director of La Fuente Hollywood Treatment Center, a treatment center for men in the heart of Hollywood, California, that offers an integrated approach to overcoming drug and alcohol addiction through clinical therapy, 12-step involvement, nutrition, fitness and community support.