TAMPA — Businesswise, R. Dean Akers had it together. The chief executive of Ideal Image Laser Hair Removal would send at least 50 handwritten notes a week to his colleagues, employees and friends. When a buddy had a birthday, the Tampa resident would drop a card in the mail. If he came across a book he thought an associate would enjoy, he'd buy it.
At home, however, it was another story. He provided financially but rarely showed appreciation for his wife, Debbie.
When she filed for divorce in 1998, Akers had a revelation: "I figured out that I disconnected. I (asked myself), 'Why do I never disconnect with my customers and my team members?' That's because I always show them the utmost respect and I always keep in touch with what's important to them," said Akers, who at 55 is back on the dating scene.
To enlighten other guys, last month Akers released 52 Wows: A Relationship Guide for Men (available at 52wows.com). The book encourages men to commit one random act of kindness, or "wow," every week for the women in their lives. Some suggestions: put the toilet seat down; surprise her with new sheets; give her a pedicure; or mail her a "thinking of you" card when away on business.
He dedicated 52 Wows to his ex and gave her the first copy.
"She likes the book," said Akers, who in his dating life keeps in mind the business lesson he says would have saved his marriage: "The No. 1 motivation for an employee, statistically, is a feeling of appreciation."
Dalia Colon can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.