(Time to read this Blog article is about 90 seconds)

Greetings fellow ‘quarantiners’.  Hope you’re still safe and sane.  Before we get to the ‘advertised’ topic of this week’s Blog, here’s a thought about the dozens of emails that you’re probably getting from businesses reaching out to tell us whether they’re open or closed, how they’re looking after their staff and how they will continue to serve us (or not serve us) during this Covid mess.

In my last few Blogs I’ve suggested that you should reach out to customers, followers and fans to keep them informed and to lift them up.  But most of the emails that we’ve received are way too long, poorly laid out and badly written.    

Most of them start out with something cold, weak and robotic like, “We would like to take the opportunity at this time to update you about….”.  Here’s a tip; avoid conditional words like ‘would’, could and ‘should’.  They’re weak and wishy washy.        

Last week we (my wife, actually) received an email from Laura Shops, a family-owned ladies fashion chain that’s been around since 1930.  The subject line of the email said, “How are you doing?  We’re thinking of you! ❤️”  In the body of this short email was a lovely photo of a nicely dressed lady contentedly sitting on her couch with her big fluffy dog, along with an invitation to post pictures of yourself at home on their site.

At the bottom of the email there were a few pics of their Spring collection with links to their online store, but the email was mostly about caring, sharing and emotional connections.  This is brilliant!     

Now for the ‘advertised’ topic about the crazy myth of ‘lean & mean.  In the past few weeks I’ve read several interviews with business leaders in which they’ve described what they’re doing to survive this Covid mess.  Several of them stated, bragged actually, that they’re  focused on becoming ‘lean and mean’.  This makes absolutely no sense.

‘Lean’ I understand.  Too much inventory or overhead can kill a business, especially in these challenging times.  So, I get ‘lean’.  But ‘mean’ is just wrong.  More now than ever, every business has to make difficult decisions.  But please commit to make them with class and caring.  

Think about the incredible goofiness of ‘mean’ businesses.  They want their customers to stay loyal and buy more, they want their staff to work twice as hard or go home for weeks or months and then come back excited to do a great job, and they want their suppliers to serve them twice as diligently and then wait twice as long to get paid.  And they’re going to achieve all of that by being ‘bastards’…by being mean  It absolutely flies in the face of human reality.

I understand why this nutty phrase caught on years ago and why it’s making a come-back now.  It rhymes and some people think it’s cute.  But here’s the problem…‘We become what we speak’.   

At a time when we need more humanity and more caring in our business and our personal lives, ‘mean’ just makes no sense.  What would be wrong with ‘lean and kind’?  It doesn’t rhyme…get over it.


Stay calm, stay safe…stay well and remember, ‘JOY’ is contagious too!        

Donald Cooper 


For info about booking Donald to deliver his bottom-line insights on management, marketing and profitability at an Industry Conference or Corporate Event…or to discus our Business Coaching program, contact us at donald@donaldcooper.com or by phone at 1 (416) 252-3703 in Toronto, Canada.

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