By Doug Fabbioli
Kill ‘Em With Kindness
As spring approaches, I recognize that we are very fortunate to work in an industry where – overall – things are happy. People like to consume wine and generally they are in good spirits while doing it. Our staff enjoys serving the customers, growing the grapes, and making the wine. I realize that not all businesses, industries and work environments are that fortunate. I also realize that on busy, stressful, understaffed or ill managed days, even the bright and cheery tasting room can have an edge for a moment or two. We as humans have been given the gift of intelligence and self-awareness to be able to effect the spiral of negativity! In this day and age, I believe it is our responsibility to do just that.
Try approaching a negative situation with a positive outlook on improving the climate and learning something in the process. Here is an example. In one of my community meetings here in western Loudoun County, we have been discussing the challenge of traffic on our numerous gravel roads. We have visitors that have not driven on roads like this before. We have tractors, horses, wildlife and walkers to be mindful of as well as experienced residents who do not want to be stuck behind a person driving 5mph down the middle of the road. So here is an educational opportunity for all to learn more and improve our culture. A “Drive Gently” campaign is beginning to evolve in order to teach all about driving here. And it will not stop with our western Loudoun gravel roads. As many of our corridors are overwhelmed with commuter traffic, it is important that we stay aware, courteous, and thoughtful to avoid conflicts, accidents and frustration. We can be better and happier if we make a commitment to do so.
Another thought on this is the concept of finding a way to “Disagree Agreeably.” This is something that our political leaders used to be rather good at and have lost their tactfulness over the years. There is much more of an “Us vs Them” mentality rather than understanding that a representative is elected to represent all, rather than just those that voted for him or her.
The social media review system is a way that feeds this fervor as well. As folks that are not pleased with their experience at an establishment, such as ours, find it much easier to send out a review from the parking lot of the establishment rather than talk with the management about their experience and how it could be improved.
Having new tools to address a need is great, but we should not easily dismiss the old ones. Simple common courtesy, positive outlook, human contact, empathy and self-awareness will go a long way toward keeping us connected with one another. This is one planet, and we are one country upon it. Individuals can show leadership, and we as Americans can show others and ourselves just how good we can be. Enjoy this spring season as Mother Nature shows us all about how great renewal can be.