Our frontline people don't work for us; we work for them.

Our job is to support them in their job.

—James F. Nordstrom

Respect is defined as “a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.” Isn't that what every business desires?

Robert Spector grew up working in his father's butcher shop, Spector's Meat Market, in Perth Amboy, New Jersey. As a young boy, he would occasionally accompany his father, Fred, to the abattoirs, where he would find himself standing in a large walk‐in meat freezer with his dad and his dad's suppliers. Even though Robert couldn't have verbalized it at the time, he could sense that these suppliers respected his father. (Of course, it helped that Fred Spector paid his bills on time.) It was clear to Robert that respect was essential to conducting business.

The best companies are generous with their respect—for colleagues, vendors and, of course, customers.

Does everyone in your organization have respect for their colleagues? Do they appreciate the unique role each individual plays in their collective success? That's the essence of teamwork. Sometimes in competitive sports and in business, there are teammates who might not necessarily like or love each other, but who nevertheless respect each other's contributions, which enables them to work together for the greater good.

We once gave ...

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