What Draws Me To People? - John Maxwell


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Understanding the qualities you enjoy in others


The basis of life is people and how they relate to each other. Our success, fulfillment, and happiness depend upon our ability to relate effectively. 

The best way to become a person that others are drawn to is to develop qualities that we are attracted to in others. Just as I was preparing this chapter, I received an anonymous card from a member of my congregation. It was especially meaningful because it reflected the importance of warm, rewarding relationships:


When special people touch our lives then suddenly we see how beautiful and wonderful our world can really be. 

They show usthat our special hopes and dreams can take us far by helping us look inward and believe in who we are. They bless us with their love and joy through everything they give. When special peopletouch our lives they teach us how to live.


Does that reflect the kind of person you are to others? It was a humblingblessing for me to receive such a greeting card. I realized how appropriate it is to this chapter as we consider what qualities we need to develop in our lives – the qualities we enjoy in others. 

This poster in a Nordstrom’s department store once caught my attention: “The only difference between stores is the way they treat their customers.” That’s a bold statement. Most stores would advertise the quality of their merchandise or their wide selection as what sets them apart from the rest. 

The difference between Nordstrom’s and other stores, according to an employee of the competition, is that other stores are organization-oriented; Nordstrom’s is people-oriented. Their employees are trained to respond quickly and kindly tocustomer complaints. As a result, according to writer Nancy Austin, “Nordstrom’s doesn’t have customers; it has fans.”


A study by TARP, Technical Assistance Research Programs, in Washington, D.C., shows that most customers won’t complain to management if something goes wrong with the purchase.


But TARP found out that, depending on the severity of the problem, an average customer will tell between nine and sixteen friends and acquaintances about his bad experience.


Some 13 percent will tell more than 20 people! More than two out of three customers who’ve received poor service will never buy from that store again and, worse, management will never know why.


Every company is bound to goof now and then, but from the customer’s perspective, what’s important is that the company responds. This is the secret of Nordstrom’s success.


The TARP study also shows that 95 percent of dissatisfied customers will buy from the store again if their problems are solved quickly. Even better, they will each tell eight people about the situation’s happy conclusion.


The trick for managers and salespeople is to give customers ample time to offer feedback on the service they receive. This chapter certainly isn’t about department stores and customer satisfaction, but there are some principles from these reports that should speak to us about our relationships with others:


Are we quick to respond to others’ needs? Do we run from problems or face them? Do we talk more about bad news or good news? Do we give people the benefit of the doubt, or do we assume the worst?


The Golden Rule What’s the key to relating to others? It’s putting yourself in someone else’s place instead of putting them in their place. Christ gave the perfect rule for establishing quality human relationships.


We call it the Golden Rule, a name it got sometime around the seventeenth century. Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Christ summed up a series of profound thoughts on human conduct by saying, “Therefore, treat people the same way you want them to treat you” (Matt. 7:12).


In this brief command, Christ taught us a couple of things about developingrelationships with others. We need to decide how we want to be treated. Then we need to begin treating others in that manner. Recently I took my daughter Elizabeth out to a restaurant for lunch.


The waitress, whose job it was to take care of people, made us feel that we were really inconveniencing her. She was grumpy, negative, and unhelpful. All of her customers were aware of the fact that she was having a bad day. Elizabeth looked up at me and said, “Dad, she’s a grump, isn’t she?” I could only agree with a look of disdain.


Halfway through our experience I tried to change this woman’s negative attitude. Pulling out a $10 bill, I said, “Could you do me a favor? I’d like some change for this $10 bill because I want to give you a good tip today.”


She looked at me, did a double take, and then ran to the cash register. After changing the money, she spent the next fifteen minutes hovering over us. I thanked her for her service, told her how important and helpful she was, and left a good tip.

As we left, Elizabeth said, “Daddy, did you see how that lady changed?” Seizing this golden opportunity, I said, “Elizabeth, if you want people to act right toward you, you act right toward them. And many times you’ll change them.”

Elizabeth will never forget that lesson because she had seen a noticeable change take place right before her eyes. That grumpy woman didn’t deserve to be treated kindly. But when she was treated not as she was, but as I wanted her to be and believed she could become, her perspective suddenly changed.

Whatever your position in a relationship, if you are aware of a problem, it’s your responsibility to make a concerted effort to create a positive change. Quit pointing your finger and making excuses, and try being a catalyst by demonstrating and initiating the appropriate behavior. Determine not to be a reactor but an initiator.


Be a People Person, John Maxwell pg. 9-12

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