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The nice ones will be rewarded - in business

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September 24
10:52 PM 2015

"Good guys finish last" is a common saying, but is not necessarily true when it comes to handling business, or so as others would like to believe. 

To some, a firm hand and a cold resolve would make for a fine CEO, whether that CEO is a man or a woman. However, kindness is beneficial to the businesses' customers and employees.

Forbes uses plus-size women's clothing line Ashley Stewart's approach as an example of how being a jerk in business doesn't always pay.

After facing her second bankruptcy within three years in 2013, Ashley Stewart stepped down as CEO and was replaced by James Rhee. The new leadership quickly turned the table around with one simple decision, which is to be nice. 

Rhee is a Harvard graduate who founded private equity company FirePine Group, which invested in Ashley Stewart.

In Rhee's personal account in Harvard Business Review, he said Ashley Stewart didn't even have WiFi in its office for its employees. This is such an irony as it considers itself as a leading eCommerce business.

He said Ashley Stewart advocates for values like respect, joy, and empowerment. But, ultimately, for Rhee, Ashlee Stewart stands for "kindness and embodied community."

Transparency and honest communication among customers and its employees are also very important for Rhee. More than two years after the bankruptcy, the company is finally seeing big gains through Rhee's strategy, which involves kindness.

Forbes suggests staying true to the company's core value, for Ashley Stewart its respect, joy, empowerment, and kindness. The leadership and the employees should make sure that they are carrying out these core values in everything that they do. Even during challenging times.

Stepping beyond your comfort zone is another strategy that Ashley Stewart took. It coordinated with other companies who already tapped markets in the eCommerce business through mobile devices.

Engage with the customers and the employees and listen to them. Ashley Stewart pulled this off quite nicely by creating a strong social media initiative.

Putting employees first is an important strategy to practicing kindness in business. Employees who are given importance will in turn put their customers first.

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