When JoAnn and I heard Jack Nicholson’s character in the movie A Few Good Men shout from the witness stand, “You can’t handle the truth!” we were shocked. Although this man believed himself to be our protector, he had no respect for the American people. Our shock was at this officer’s disrespect for those he served.
I had always thought respect was about being polite and courteous with people. Yes ma’am, no sir—we were always respectful. But I came to realize when putting clients first that respect is about letting people make their own decisions. The clients’ decisions are sacrosanct, and whenever you take that away from people you’re acting disrespectful. How can you allow your clients to base their decisions on less than a full understanding of the facts and the freedom to deliberate? Honesty shows respect.
Can you do a poor job for someone and then say at the end of the day that you respect your client (i.e., your employer)? No. When you work for others, you should respect their money as if it were yours. You should respect their time as if it were yours. You should respect their situations as if they were yours. You should do these things because, when you care, you become the client.
How many times do we see people treated differently because of the way their circumstances are perceived? People who are thought to be financially successful are treated better than those who are thought to be impoverished. We are all shocked when the big shot turns out to be a crook ...