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PERSONAL MASTERY - The Power of Kindness

Several months after being elected as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Body Corporate at an Estate that we lived at; the gardener was having problems with his employer. He was also unhappy because one of the condo Owners was giving him a hard time, over what appeared to be peripheral issues. As a result, his productivity nosedived into freefall, which showed in his performance. As he was grossly unhappy, he rationalized emotionally and considered quitting his job.

My wife Zeenie asked me to intervene but I told her that my hands were tied because the gardener worked for our contractor, and not the Body Corporate, so it would be inappropriate to get involved with the Contractor as we couldn’t tell him how to run his business. As a retort, Zeenie gave me an emotional sermon; that what use was I to the world if I could not leverage my Leadership expertise in mediating matters to achieve an amenable outcome for all.

Some days later, I convened a meeting with the Contractor, Gardener, and a Trustee. In our first statement, we made it clear that our objective was to mediate a solution to the impasse, and not to tell the Contractor how to run his business. We explained to him that the greenskeeper was unhappy because he had been promised a bonus at the end of their financial year, that was four months ago, that he had still not received. He apologized for that and undertook to include the bonus in that month's salary. We continued that his employee was also concerned because he was promised an increase in his salary that he not received. He again apologized for that, and besides increasing his salary, agreed to backdate the increase. Listening attentively, the landscaper sighed with huge relief and immediately dropped his defensive guard. Within ten minutes, we were done with the meeting.

Thereafter, we knocked at the door of the condo Owner that was giving the horticulturalists a hard time. She explained to us what her problem was, and the gardener did the same. It became apparent that a personality discord existed between them, so after getting to the crux of the matter that was merely a misunderstanding caused by a break in communication, we resolved the matter. Like the previous engagement, we were done in a few minutes.

A fortnight later, I got home and was received by a glowing Zeenie who beamed a smile that could have illuminated the world. She explained that the Transplanter received his salary that day, which was almost three times the three previous months' salary. Naturally, he was over the moon on that moonless night, given the “small fortune” that he had bagged. I didn’t get what the big deal was, because Conflict Resolution was a function that we dealt with on a periodic basis, and that issue was a relatively simple thing to resolve. Also, it only took a few minutes.

That evening as I put my head down to sleep, I thought of what had transpired and realized that what we had done was inexpensive to me, yet invaluable to our Gardener. I resolved that not trivialize efforts, because what may appear small and inconsequential to me, could be a behemoth of a boulder removed from the path of another, and that someday, it will come back and benefit us in ways that we could never imagine.

A few years later when Zeenie and I decided to emigrate; we calculated that the property had grown handsomely and that selling it would be a good way of unlocking the funds that we needed to reach our goal. However, as we were in a buyers-market we were getting low offers from Realtors. Then one day out of the blue, we got a call from a prospective Buyer who asked to view our Condo. He loved the place and put in an immediate offer. His offer was higher than that of everyone else. Naturally, we were over the moon and accepted it. That evening, as we calculated the difference between his offer and the highest previous offer, our hair-stood and we got goose pimples. We just worked out that the difference was equal to ten times our Gardener's monthly salary. Proof that service to Mankind is service to The CEO of the Universe; that no good deed goes unrewarded, and we receive what we sow at the time we need it most.

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