Nice Companies Finish First

05.29.2013 | Jaymelina Esmele

At Communiqué PR, we’re big fans of Peter Shankman and the Help a Reporter Out (HARO) service he started years ago. So when Peter released his second book, Nice Companies Finish First: Why Cutthroat Management is Over and Collaboration is In, we were excited to pick up a copy.

CEOs are often lauded for their winner-take-all approach: They do whatever it takes to move up the corporate ladder, manage with iron fists, and answer to no one all without regard for the casualties they may leave in their wake. Often this attitude permeates throughout an organization’s culture which, while making the company financially successful, also makes for a toxic atmosphere for employees. In Nice Companies Finish First, Shankman paints an entirely different picture of leadership, one that calls for leaders to take the complete opposite approach.

According to the book, the new standard for leadership is one that builds “productive, open, innovative and positive workplaces.” In turn, a positive workplace benefits customers, employees, stockholders and the bottom line. Throughout the book, Shankman profiles well-known “nice” executives and weaves in their experiences as he explores the nine traits that set these leaders apart.

All of the nine traits are standards to which we should all aspire, but trait no. 6, “Glass-Half-Full POV,” really resonated. At various points in our careers, we’ve probably all worked with a “Debbie Downer” – they are not particularly inspiring to be around. Now, imagine if a Debbie Downer is at the helm of your team or organization. Leadership sets the tone and I would guess that most of us would find more inspiration from someone who views life and business with more optimism. To be clear, the book does not contend that leaders should adopt a Pollyanna view. Rather, leaders who are glass-half-full people exhibit the ability to remain positive, but are not blind to the realities of their business.

If you’d like to hear more about Shankman’s thoughts on the positive impact of being nice in business– and for that matter, in all areas of our lives – check out his inspiring TEDx Talk:

Nice Companies Finish First is a refreshing take on management and leadership and shows that the lessons we learned as children to share and to play nice with others aren’t just meant for the sandbox.




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