Mark, I'm sure I'm not the only one who would love to know the story about how you discovered (late) that kindness in business is the way to go. Would you consider sharing it?
I'm from Canada, and I guess we have something of a reputation for politeness in general. It just never occurs to me to be anything other than nice, to ask my directs to do things instead of demand it (at least the first 2 times), to say please, and thank you, and to smile at people at every opportunity. Don't get me wrong, I've worked in the energy business for 15 years, and have seen more than a couple of jerks in that time, but by and large I would say there are more people like me than not. Is that really so unusual?