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Client Horror Stories

Building a Culture of Kindness and Authenticity with Anika Jackson

Building a Culture of Kindness and Authenticity with Anika Jackson

This article was based on Episode #39: Anika Jackson’s crazy experience shared with us here for a new episode of your favorite podcast: Client Horror Stories, led by the one and only, Our Beloved Host, Morgan Friedman. Please watch the complete episode here!


“Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.” – Anika Jackson

We all want to find the perfect client, but sometimes it’s just not possible. What’s worse is that sometimes, we feel like we’ve been properly matched with “the one,” and later we realize that things don’t always seem as they are.

Today, we’re going to be talking about our recent podcast with Anita Jackson, an expert strategist, as she shares with us her client’s horror story full of amazing twists and turns. To give you a quick background, during the pandemic, Anika was introduced to a particular client who gave her the craziest experience ever.

She and her team were, at first, tasked to do significant work on this client’s project who was a huge spiritual guru. The client was impressed with their work and later on, assigned them to multiple projects at a time, making it hard to coordinate since—surprise, surprise—no one really knew who was in charge.

After months of hard work and thousands of dollars later, the client suddenly ghosted her and stopped their contract immediately. The client told her that their work wasn’t on par and that the client wasn’t happy about them. Wow, shocker—as many other marketing firms have also worked with the client and were given the same excuse.

Later on, Anika found out that the client was having illicit affairs online with someone on Instagram and the client was being blackmailed by her then “lover.” There’s so much more to this story, but it’s something you wouldn’t want to miss! 

Keep reading as we dive deep into what Anika learned through this experience.

The Importance of Authenticity in the Workplace

Ah, authenticity—the magical unicorn in the enchanted forest of the workplace! We all crave it, yet it often eludes us, hiding behind jargon-filled emails and stiff, formulaic team meetings. But as Anika Jackson pointed out in our recent podcast, “Why not be genuine and authentic in what you do in the workplace?” Seriously, making mistakes is how you grow; it’s like life’s auto-tune, making sure you stay in key.

You see, being authentic is like being the office plant that not only brightens the room but also purifies the air. Authentic individuals help foster environments where people feel comfortable being themselves—making it a win-win for everyone! Teams become more cohesive, communication flows more freely, and guess what? Productivity tends to go through the roof.

When composing an email that seems robotic, it is crucial to pause and reconsider. Authenticity is not just a trendy term; it is the key to a gratifying and prosperous profession. During your career, you will encounter clients who may or may not be compatible, and who may or may not be pleasant, but it is essential to remain true to yourself and your beliefs. 

Creating a Culture of Accountability

While accountability sounds like a serious business meeting where everyone’s in suits, it’s more like the awesome backstage pass to a rockin’ corporate culture.

Take it from Anika Jackson, who says, “I’d rather own up to my mistakes and show that I’m fallible and that I’m human.” Own up to those blunders, and you’ll find that not only does the sky not fall, but you might get some backup vocals from your team.

But how do you make this catchy tune of accountability a chart-topping hit in your workplace? Well, you could do what Morgan Friedman does in his firm and have everyone share a mistake they made every week. If the big bosses lead by example (just like in a rock band, the lead singer sets the tone), then everyone else feels safer admitting their off-notes too. And the result? A culture where people are accountable, collaborative, and—dare I say it?—even a bit joyful.

Kindness Over Niceness

Ever found yourself stuck in the “nice” zone? You know, that place where you’re polite but just not quite…real? Well, guess what? We’re waving goodbye to “Niceville” and set our GPS for “Kindlandia.”

As Anika Jackson says, “I just always try to come from a place of kindness in my actions, even when I’m dealing with nightmare clients.” Yep, kindness isn’t about being a doormat; it’s about standing up tall, sequins and all, and doing what’s genuinely right.

But wait, isn’t being nice the same as being kind? Nope! Anika lays it out for us: “Kindness also means that you’re gonna say things that you might have to have hard conversations, but you can still do it kindly.” So, while “nice” put on a show, hoping for applause, “kind” is your trusty stagehand, making sure everyone shines—even if that means having to change a few light bulbs during intermission.

In the grand theater of life, we could use a few more stagehands and a little less drama, don’t you think? Choose kindness over niceness, and you won’t just be winning Oscars; you’ll be winning hearts. As Anika puts it: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible.”

Navigating Client Relationships

Navigating client relationships is a bit like a roller coaster. There are ups and downs, and sometimes you’re just hanging on for dear life. And no, screaming is generally not advised. Thankfully, Anika Jackson has got some insights that can make the ride smoother.

“I think you and I are both people who are in the nicer space than the not-nice space,” Anika points out as she speaks with Morgan. This emphasizes that you don’t have to be a pushover, but maintaining a professional and kind attitude can go a long way in making your business relationships more pleasant.

And Anika also gets real about making mistakes like when she forgot to send her class the work assignment that they went over in class last week until today. This shows that it’s okay to mess up; what counts is your willingness to make it right.

The essence here is to strike a balance between professionalism and authenticity. The goal is not just to make a sale or close a deal but to build a relationship that’s both lucrative and satisfying. So next time you’re on that client roller coaster, remember Anika’s advice, and you just might enjoy the ride!


This article was based on Episode #39. Please watch the complete episode here!