Is chivalry dead? This is a common question that haunts the cerebral code of ethics in
family, romance, community, business, and person relationships. So we ask ourselves, is
chivalry really dead, as many entrepreneurs have stated? More importantly, do we bring
to business chivalry in mind, courtesy in expression, and generosity in activity? Courtesy,
generosity, and a chivalrous attitude must exist if commerce is to flow, deals are to be
made, and relationships are to be maintained.
Rude behavior is on the rise and killing our businesses. There is a high cost to this
incivility, and it damages business prospects. Have you ever walked into a business and
were met with rudeness, poor customer service, a lack of political correctness, or
improper etiquette? I’m sure we all have, and, as a result, we decided not to return. Yet,
because we don’t speak out or report the incident, the problem persists, creating an
environment in which a lack of respect, courtesy, and customer service flourish.
We have to take personal responsibility in demanding the restoration of what has been
lost or thought to be dead: chivalry in the workplace and in business. An entrepreneur’s
essential code of conduct and ritual is to be kind, polite, customer friendly, and
responsible for civility in the businesses that we run and patronize. It is important that
we consider the needs of the customer and that we treat others as we would want to be
treated. When someone is rude or acts completely out of character, refuse to partake in
the incivility or to respond with like sentiment. It is unacceptable, and rudeness should
be politely acknowledged and filtered through a courteous response that signifies the
entrepreneur’s creed of character, morals, and values. Good manners open doors that
position and money cannot.
As entrepreneurs, learning the importance of interpersonal skills based on courtesy,
knowledge, and respect for others can generate opportunities, build relationships, and
create a solid costumer base. Chivalry isn’t dead, nor should any business owner or
customer allow it to be.
Entrepreneurship Etiquette Series: Rules to the Game
Ken L. Harris serves as the President/CEO of the Michigan Black Chamber of Commerce with access to more than 79,000 black-owned businesses in Michigan. Commissioner Harris was elected to the Detroit Charter Commission in 2009. Harris currently serves on the U.S. Black Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors in Washington, DC and as Midwest Director for the US Black Chamber over 12 states. Harris is an active life member of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and a 33rd Degree United Supreme Council Prince Hall Mason. Harris received the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) 2007 Minority Business Advocate of the Year Award in Michigan and was inducted into Crain’s Detroit Business Class of 2007 40 under 40. Harris was also featured in DBusiness Magazine 30 in their 30’s Most Influential and Ebony Magazine in 2011. Harris a former NCAA Basketball Academic All-American point-guard for Clark Atlanta University graduated with a B.A. in Psychology and M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Clark Atlanta University (HBCU) in Atlanta, Georgia and an Educational Specialist (EDS) Degree from Wayne State University in Educational Leadership and Policy Studies. Ken Harris is a PhD candidate at the Michigan State University in African American and African Studies and the Eli Broad School of Business Program.
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