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Boosting Business Relationships with a Civility Code of Conduct
An interview with Karen Brunger, BHEc, AICI CIP
Director, International Image Institute, Inc.
Out of nowhere, your client loses control and makes a verbally abusive comment that embarrasses you in front of colleagues during a dinner business meeting. A colleague who fails to give you credit for your work. A client is always late for meetings. These and other acts of incivility can ruin or compromise business relationships, create undue frustration or loss of income. The causes could be misunderstanding of roles and expectations or false assumptions about the operating principles and rules of conduct for doing business. Recently, while surfing the internet, I came across a website that listed the business owner’s values and operating principles on the homepage. The list mentioned respect for diversity, a commitment to understanding client objectives and helping clients achieve their highest potential. For me, the list embodied the spirit of civility and was a clear declaration of the owner’s guiding principles for doing business.
In my interview with Karen Brunger, Canadian based image professional and master trainer, we discuss why she developed a code of conduct for her business (which she calls a Creed) and made it part of her company’s operating procedures. Karen is Director of the International Image Institute in Ontario, Canada and provides training and resources to image consultants worldwide. Karen has worked with hundreds of professionals and companies, including Fortune 500 corporations.
Yasmin: What does civility mean to you?
Karen: Civility to me is not only treating others with respect, courtesy and honour, but being respectful, courteous, and honourable. I believe that as image consultants we can endeavour to achieve the highest degree of civility.
Yasmin: What is the main objective of your company Creed?
Karen: The main objective of the Creed is to provide focus and guidelines for how we conduct our professional relationships, and beyond that how to live in the process of self-actualizing.
Yasmin: When did you first develop the Creed?
Karen: It was developed within the first 5 years of my business, and came about as a result of a mastermind group. Even though at the time I was the only one in my business, the Creed became part of my Operations Manual.
Yasmin: Why did you develop the Creed for your company?
Karen: The importance of having a creed became apparent to me after working with one of my clients – a company that seemed to come from lower levels of ethics, integrity, honesty, accountability, cooperation and customer service, and higher levels of fear, judgment and control. I thought that if they held themselves to a higher standard of behaviour, they would not only be much easier to work with, but most likely attract more clients, be more productive and prosperous, and experience higher satisfaction and joy. It was very easy for me to create my Creed as a result of my experience of them!
Yasmin: What has been the response from your clients?
Karen: As the Creed is foremost in my business, it is always our intention to come from use the courtesy and respect approach. It is usual for clients to report that they appreciate our approachability, accessibility, helpfulness, friendliness and warmth. Some have been outright amazed at how giving we are. And certainly some are inspired to become clients or continue this relationship because of it. One of my favourite quotes is “however we act most often is what we tend to become.” Civility becomes a natural way of being – not something we need to put on as we would a different outfit. Our attitude is that we are grateful to our clients and will do whatever we can to serve. When we love our clients, they love us back.
Yasmin: Has using the Creed benefited your business?
Karen: Our business is a great place to work! The energy is high, positive, fun and productive. We all look forward to being together; everyone is inspired to think of new and better ways to enhance our services, products and business systems. We value each other, and everyone we come in contact with. We all have different personalities and strengths, and we value and honour those differences. We celebrate all of our successes, which helps attract more success. I feel blessed that I have the perfect team working with me. As part of my mission is to do the best I can for the image industry, I do whatever I can to enable the success of other image consultants. I hold my peers and colleagues in high esteem, and the respect I have for them has resulted in sharing, cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships.
We also benefit from respectful and valued relationships with our suppliers. We often appreciate discounts, quality supplies and efficient delivery time!
Yasmin: Would you recommend that other business owners use a creed or civility code of conduct for their business?
Karen: Absolutely! Even if you are the only one in your company, it can help you get clarity on how you conduct your relationships, and set a standard of conduct that can allow you to take your relationships to the highest level.
A company creed or code of conduct can definitely set the desired tone for business relationships while affirming a commitment to embracing civility, ethics and manners as the standard for all human interactions, whether in-person or via electronic communication. This would definitely raise the bar to a higher level of excellence in performance.
For more information on civility programs please visit http://bit.ly/ZUF1AK

Boosting Business Relationships with a Civility Code of Conduct
An interview with Karen Brunger, BHEc, AICI CIP, Director of International Image Institute, Inc.
Out of nowhere, your client loses control and makes a verbally abusive comment that embarrasses you in front of colleagues during a dinner business meeting. A colleague who fails to give you credit for your work. A client is always late for meetings. These and other acts of incivility can ruin or compromise business relationships, create undue frustration or loss of income. The causes could be misunderstanding of roles and expectations or false assumptions about the operating principles and rules of conduct for doing business. Recently, while surfing the internet, I came across a website that listed the business owner’s values and operating principles on the homepage. The list mentioned respect for diversity, a commitment to understanding client objectives and helping clients achieve their highest potential. For me, the list embodied the spirit of civility and was a clear declaration of the owner’s guiding principles for doing business.
In my interview with Karen Brunger, Canadian based image professional and master trainer, we discuss why she developed a code of conduct for her business (which she calls a Creed) and made it part of her company’s operating procedures. Karen is Director of the International Image Institute in Ontario, Canada and provides training and resources to image consultants worldwide. Karen has worked with hundreds of professionals and companies, including Fortune 500 corporations.
Yasmin: What does civility mean to you?
Karen: Civility to me is not only treating others with respect, courtesy and honour, but being respectful, courteous, and honourable. I believe that as image consultants we can endeavour to achieve the highest degree of civility.
Yasmin: What is the main objective of your company Creed?
Karen: The main objective of the Creed is to provide focus and guidelines for how we conduct our professional relationships, and beyond that how to live in the process of self-actualizing.
Yasmin: When did you first develop the Creed?
Karen: It was developed within the first 5 years of my business, and came about as a result of a mastermind group. Even though at the time I was the only one in my business, the Creed became part of my Operations Manual.
Yasmin: Why did you develop the Creed?


Karen
: The importance of having a creed became apparent to me after working with one of my clients – a company that seemed to come from lower levels of ethics, integrity, honesty, accountability, cooperation and customer service, and higher levels of fear, judgment and control. I thought that if they held themselves to a higher standard of behaviour, they would not only be much easier to work with, but most likely attract more clients, be more productive and prosperous, and experience higher satisfaction and joy. It was very easy for me to create my Creed as a result of my experience of them!
Yasmin: What has been the response from your clients?
Karen: As the Creed is foremost in my business, it is always our intention to come from use the courtesy and respect approach. It is usual for clients to report that they appreciate our approachability, accessibility, helpfulness, friendliness and warmth. Some have been outright amazed at how giving we are. And certainly some are inspired to become clients or continue this relationship because of it.
One of my favourite quotes is “however we act most often is what we tend to become.” Civility becomes a natural way of being – not something we need to put on as we would a different outfit. Our attitude is that we are grateful to our clients and will do whatever we can to serve. When we love our clients, they love us back.
Yasmin: Has using the Creed benefited your business?
Karen: Our business is a great place to work! The energy is high, positive, fun and productive. We all look forward to being together; everyone is inspired to think of new and better ways to enhance our services, products and business systems. We value each other, and everyone we come in contact with. We all have different personalities and strengths, and we value and honour those differences. We celebrate all of our successes, which helps attract more success. I feel blessed that I have the perfect team working with me. As part of my mission is to do the best I can for the image industry, I do whatever I can to enable the success of other image consultants. I hold my peers and colleagues in high esteem, and the respect I have for them has resulted in sharing, cooperative and mutually beneficial relationships.
We also benefit from respectful and valued relationships with our suppliers. We often appreciate discounts, quality supplies and efficient delivery time!
Yasmin: Would you recommend that other business owners use a creed or civility code of conduct for their business?
Karen: Absolutely! Even if you are the only one in your company, it can help you get clarity on how you conduct your relationships, and set a standard of conduct that can allow you to take your relationships to the highest level.

A company creed or code of conduct can definitely set the desired tone for business relationships while affirming a commitment to embracing civility, ethics and manners as the standard for all human interactions, whether in-person or via electronic communication. This would definitely raise the bar to a higher level of excellence in performance.
For more information on civility programs please visit http://bit.ly/ZUF1AK

1 comment

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