There’s a common perception that nice people finish last. But according to Dawna Stone, winner of The Apprentice: Martha Stewart and founder and publisher of Her Sports + Fitness magazine, this conventional wisdom is dead wrong. “Being genuinely nice can help you get ahead in your career, open doors that may have previously been shut, and create powerful opportunities that may have been otherwise unavailable,” she contends. In her new book, Winning Nice: How To Succeed In Business and Life Without Waging War (Center Street, August 29, 2007), this successful athlete, executive, entrepreneur, and public speaker shares her secrets to achieving extraordinary career success by “winning nice.”
Whether looking for a first job, seeking more responsibility at work, making a career change, or pursuing a passion, Stone’s “winning nice” philosophy—which has driven her own swift rise up the career ladder—holds the keys to success for anyone coming up through the ranks. Fundamentally, it’s about having confidence, respecting others, and doing the right thing. In Winning Nice, Stone reveals how to put these values into practice, creating positive results for everyone involved, and paving the way for accomplishing great things. “Being nice doesn’t mean you’re a pushover or weak,” Stone explains. “You can be powerful and nice, confident and nice, influential and nice, and even authoritative and nice.”
The winning nice philosophy begins with believing in yourself. By including powerful anecdotes from her own life as well as from the lives of such inspirational people as Katherine Graham—who was suddenly thrust into the role of publisher of The Washington Post when her husband died—Stone offers potent insights and actionable tips for staying positive, overcoming doubts, finding the silver lining, and embracing the small things.
Winning Nice also addresses communication skills—which become increasingly important on the road to success. Stone offers specific tips on becoming an active listener, dealing with interruptions, conveying energy and enthusiasm, and writing an email that gets noticed. Stone’s “winning nice” building blocks also include:
- Giving Recognition. Praise is a powerful motivator. Stone explains how to offer affirmative, sincere, and specific recognition—whether it’s sending an email thanking an old boss or employee, calling someone who made a difference in your life, or dropping by a coworker’s office to let the person know you enjoy working with him or her.
- Taking an Interest in Others. “You never know when you’ll meet someone who will become a future business associate, client, customer, or close friend.” Stone provides concrete tips for getting to know the people you come into contact with, including asking questions, inviting someone to coffee, hosting a party, and using such small gestures as a phone call just to say thank you, or walking someone to the elevator.
- Be Part of the Team. Before becoming a leader, you must be an effective team player. This means going the extra mile—being willing to do what needs to be done, even if it isn’t in your job description, being someone the team can depend on, and learning to get along with others, even those you’d never choose to spend time with.
Stone also deals with issues that become essential as careers advance, including managing nice (offering constructive criticism, keeping an open door, and even firing employees), dealing with customers and clients (taking a personal interest, staying in touch, and handling mistakes), and becoming a great leader (communicating vision, leading by example, and exuding confidence, not arrogance).
“Winning isn’t about how much money is in your bank account, but rather how you conduct yourself and how you inspire others to be better. And when you are proud, happy, and excited about waking up every day and eagerly look to the future, personal and financial success usually follows,” writes Stone. In Winning Nice, she offers concrete advice and dozens of examples to help people take control of their future and make a positive impact—while achieving remarkable career success.
Dawna Stone is publisher of the award-winning Her Sports + Fitness magazine and has worked as an investment banker, management consultant, company president, and senior executive at a publicly traded company. Her business skills as well as her calm, professional demeanor enabled her to win The Apprentice: Martha Stewart. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida, with her husband, Matt, and two dogs.
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