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Golden rules for creating a BE NICE culture

Winn Claybaugh is the author of Be Nice (Or Else!) and "one of the best motivational speakers in the country," according to CNN's Larry King. A business owner for over 22 years, with over 8,000 people in his organization, Winn is the co-...

Play nice at the office

Because people spend a great amount of their time and energy at work, they long to belong to a company that makes them feel better about themselves and makes them feel that they do more than just earn a paycheck -- they want to feel like they have a purpose and make a difference.

Happy woman at work

The "Golden Rules" code of conduct is who we are together as a team. It's what we all believe in, what we strive for.

1Always be on time

Spell out for everyone in your company exactly what "being on time" looks like. If customers arrive at 9am, then perhaps a frazzled, rushed employee who also rushes in at 9am. would not be on time.

2Always be in a great mood (fake it when necessary)

A very good friend of mine says he has two reasons for firing an employee from his company: if they steal from him, and if they show up to work in a bad mood. If someone comes to work in a bad mood, he'll fire him or her on the spot. But he'll rehire them five minutes later if they leave and come back in a good mood.

I'd like to propose that on the day we all decided to enter the workforce and take on a job with any company, we gave up the right to ever come to work in a bad mood.

There are days when you leave work and all those things that make you wonderful is drained and empty. But maybe you go home and you don't fill your "reservoir" back up, which means you're now tempted to come into work the next day in a bad mood. What do you do on those days? You fake it. When you walk through those doors, it's show time. And you gave up the right to be in a bad mood.

3Come to work prepared

Coming to work prepared means that you're ready and available to work as effectively as possible -- whatever that may look like. Perhaps it means you eat a great breakfast and do yoga before work so your mind is clear and ready to focus. Perhaps it means you lay out your clothes the night before, so your image matches the product you represent. Or maybe you arrive early enough to unclutter your workspace and start the day fresh.

4Be informed: Read all memos and information

We used to have a disorder in my company that we called the "But I didn't know" syndrome. People would fall into that pattern often: But I didn't know we had an early staff meeting Tuesday morning. But I didn't know I had to fill out that paperwork. But I didn't know that was the company dress code. Ignorance is not an acceptable defense in your BE NICE culture. Let people know that it's their job to know.

5Gossip is not allowed

Gossip is a serious cancer in a company. Gossip has many faces, and it can destroy a community. It's a sneaky, clever, subtle, and unnatural side of human nature -- and you'll want to proactively recognize when gossip exists and have the courage to do whatever it takes to eliminate it from your company.

6Hold each other accountable

Let's face it -- you're going to screw up on occasion, and you therefore need a system to keep your BE NICE culture intact.

First, the accountability session must take place within twenty-four hours of the infraction. Second, all infractions are shared privately, behind closed doors. And finally, the intent and motive behind the process of holding each other accountable is that everyone grows and that everyone is accountable for the overall success of the company.

Up next: More ways to "play nice" at work >>

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