Kindness People: Richie Mehta

The Kindness People series is fortunate to interview  Richie Metha on this occasion, who is the Managing Director of School of Marketing.  Richie is a Senior Marketing Leader and Academic, that has worked with a range of leading brands such as HSBC, RBS, Direct Line Group, Toyota, Informa and Pearson.

Here are are some of Richie’s “Kindness” insights.

In your view – what is kindness essentially about ? 

“There is a simple golden rule that dates back centuries that says, ‘treat others as you would like to be treated yourself’. It’s a simple doctrine but has far reaching implications for us right now. We are at a critical moment in time where the world is going through a dramatic shift and the reality is it’s both physically and mentally very hard on people. It’s something I always remember in every conversation, every interaction and every situation. 

However, I think kindness needs to go beyond this. Many people will be driven by fear right now. Fear for themselves and their loved one’s health and well being, fear of job losses, fear of the future. So kindness to me is taking the age old doctrine one step further and not only treating others as you would like to be treated but rather going above and beyond for them without expectation. 

 We each have a responsibility in one way or another to help each other. This crisis has taught us one thing – nobody is spared and everyone is going through some kind of hardship at the moment (although I fully admit it is spread unequally). Therefore, if each of us were able to help another in a way that we can and in turn be helped by others where we need it, we will be much stronger as a community.

Today, I am also very grateful. Grateful for the kindness shown to me everyday by my team and my family for supporting me. I’m getting mentally fatigued after three months of “lockdown” and their kindness is demonstrated everyday not by words but by actions that helps me get through. 

 I would therefore say that kindness and gratitude are close cousins for its being genuinely grateful that brings out the best in you and others and making you more willing to help without expectations”

How is kindness linked to a growth mindset?  

“To me, we first need to consider the difference between a ‘fixed’ vs ‘growth’ mindset. The former is inward looking whilst the latter is outward. With a fixed mindset you would ask the question “how can I take advantage of this situation?” whilst a growth mindset asks “how can I help others take advantage of this situation?” Therefore, by its inherent nature a growth mindset needs to be linked to others in order to grow. 

 However, we must not forget that growth mindset too is a self development concept and therefore on some level must link back to the self. Whilst kindness on the other hand is an ‘others’ concept where it’s about helping others without expectation. 

 Can they be linked? 

 well, yes and what’s more I think it’s the only way to truly achieve ‘sustainable kindness’. We see this play out all the time in an organisational context where the link between ‘purpose’ (kindness beyond yourself) and ‘profit’ (how you grow yourself) is clear. It’s when you can bring these two concepts together that really creates magic in my view. 

 I think the world actually needs more of this marriage and in fact we are moving closer to it as time goes on (which makes me happy). We need to foster a clear link between the two in order to create a more sustained future for us all”

What is the kindest thing you have personally experienced recently?  

“This may sound cheesy but I actually think the kindest thing anyone has ever done for me is belief. People’s belief in me, in my vision, in my strategy, in my actions is really at the centre of my mindset. Each and every day a select few people believe in the (education) cause that I am fighting for and are there in the background to guide, push and council me when I need it. 

You only need a few people who really believe in you to change the world so it’s so important that everyone finds their believers”

Is it possible to apply kindness in your work life vs your private life? 

“They say you can either be loved or feared and I guess that is true in a work place (hopefully not at home).

Certainly being loved is closely linked to kindness, however at work I think it’s more important to apply fairness than kindness (if we stick to the definition I suggested above). This is because work is a two way street of value creation and based on the notion of give and take. Of course there are times that you as a manager or employee need to give more to the relationship, however, it’s always to some degree predicated on the notion that at some point it will come back in some way.

Therefore at work you certainly need to be kind to your staff and teams, especially at the moment where a high degree of empathy is required. However, I think we need to distinguish between ‘being kind’ (more related to empathy in my view) and the act of ‘kindness’ here. You can be kind at work but I think the act of kindness may not work in this context. 

At home is a completely different story and I see it each and every day. I have two young kids – a one year old and a three month old. I think the very foundation of my relationship is based on the notion of kindness. We need to show support, compassion and uddles of love and very often it just results in mummy taking all the glory! That’s absolutely fine and the way it should be. With family we need to recognise the best way to be is that they will always have expectations of you but it’s best if you try not to have expectations of them (speaking specifically in relation to children)”

Do you consider nutrition/healthy eating important to better business results?

“Yes, 100%. Perception is everything and the way we generate our perception is through our daily actions and context. Therefore, I think if we take positive actions everyday (in many ways) it in turn shapes the way we think and feel. Healthy eating is a major part of this and ofcourse it gives us the vital energies we need to see us through often long and stressful days. Though I must admit I do not over obsess on this as I also believe we must have our treats along side being healthy”



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