Empathic Understanding

wearing someone else's shoes

Learning Who Our Employees Are through Empathic Understanding

 

Our philosophy behind the Art of Love is Good Business draws on several key ingredients. One of these is Empathic Understanding. The following is an excerpt from our upcoming book. In one chapter, we explore Empathic Understanding and its relevance to how we manage our employees. We hope you enjoy this short exploration. . .

An essential part of optimizing our effectiveness at achieving our management goals, is to manage our employee for who the employee is, not who we think the employee should be.

We all likely understand, at least to some degree, that we can’t use a one-size-fits-all approach to management. We need to manage employees as individuals​. This means working with each employee differently​ based on who they are as an individual person–someone with all the knowledge, skills, hopes, fears, weaknesses, and aspirations unique to them as an individual Human Being. This is critical information we need in order to be effective mangers.

Of course,  managing employees individually seems like a great idea. However, if you have tried to do this, you have likely found it very challenging, if not impossible, to do very well.

The key to doing this successfully​ is in discovering ​ who our employees truly are. As managers, we tend to see our employees only in terms of our expectations about the work they do and how they should do it.  This limited perspective of our employees obstructs our ability to manage them as individual people. It leaves us without vital details and nuances that give us a fuller context to the situation at hand, as well as a suitable awareness of their unique strengths and weaknesses as individuals. All of which is the kind of information we need to support them, as unique individuals, to be at the top of their game.

Context is everything. Without​ the right context, we don’t stand a chance of doing our best work as managers.

Context plays an essential role in optimizing the effectiveness of our management efforts in this area. The knowledge and insight we gain through Empathic Understanding brings context to the content of our interactions with our employees. Context gives us the back story to what the employee is doing and saying. We need the right context to know the full meaning and significance of employees’ actions, gestures, and words.

When we attempt to manage our employees without sufficient information and context, it leads to a lot of miscommunication, frustration, disappointment, and conflict with them. It usually causes a waste of energy and a loss of productivity in their work. This tension and stress can eventually lead to burn-out and disengagement for both them and us. This is also how we end up losing our passion and the vision of the difference we want to make for our organization and the people work with.

Empathic Understanding is a key part of the answer to how to manage our employees as individual Human Beings​. Empathic Understanding​ is how we can know our employees as individual people. It gives us access to the knowledge we need to manage our employees for who they are, not who we think they should be.

Looking beyond our expectations to see our employees as whole individuals doesn’t take anything away from the work we need them to do or the results we want them to deliver. It only changes​ how well informed we are about how to support and empower them. It provides us with the subtle details and context to know how to make the difference we want to make.

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Pass It On – The Art of Love is Good Business

 

Pass it on - Love is Good Business

Pass it on – The Art of Love is Good Business

Part of our mission at The Art of Love is Good Business blog is to share the stories of others who have found that Love is truly Good Business.

Here is one such story from Alim Thompson.

 

LOVE IS NOT A COMMON TOPIC IN BUSINESS – IT NEEDS TO BE

  • Published on September 20, 2016

Alim Thompson

Business and Leadership Mentor, Visionary Entrepreneur, Global Networker, Former CEO

I have always loved what I do, and it has been a powerful force for my success. My love for what I do is so strong that I could not contain it even if I wanted to – and I don’t. That’s not to say it’s always fun and games and a bed of roses. But challenges are much easier to face, if you love what you’re doing.

I also choose to work with people I can love. I’m not talking about touchy, feely, but people I look forward to seeing and being with every day. Again, challenges are much easier to face if you love the people you’re facing them with. If you don’t love your spouse, your home life is hell. Same for your work life. You’re spending a good chunk of your life with your workmates. I have passed up many talented people for people with perhaps less talent, maybe not quite as smart, but people who would be a fit with me. This is how I have created loving, caring cultures, and have had people who have consistently gone above and beyond to fulfill the objectives at hand.

Many leaders don’t believe this is practical for routine, drone work. My first business was wholesaling which was mostly a warehouse operation. People loved working the routine warehouse jobs because they felt respected and cared for. They contributed many great, efficiency improving ideas. Turnover was very low for such work. Loving them was much more effective and efficient than lording over them with threats.

“All you need is love

All you need is love

All you need is love, love

Love is all you need” (Beatles)

 

We hope you found Alim’s article inspirational. Feel free to share with others. We did.

Remember, together we can make a difference that matters.

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The Art of Love is Good Business can be The Best Medicine

 

Using the Art of Love is Good Business

Love Helps in the Art of Medicine

This is the winning entry from our recent contest. The Best Medicine by Megan Gregor is so good we just have to share it and the wonderful things illustrated here about the philosophy of The Art of Love is Good Business blog.

From our perspective, this story is about Love as a well-spring of resources for delivering customer service above and beyond in circumstances that seem insurmountable. The story shows how Love informs our intuition, excites our creativity, and gives us the courage to go beyond our barriers to find answers.

Insight, courage, and humility all play a role in how Megan’s actions were successful.

Enjoy. And we hope you find inspiration in Megan’s story.

The Best Medicine

By Megan Gregor

I’m old so my story is old. Back when I was twenty six, I got a job as an adherence specialist for people living with HIV and AIDS. I was fresh out of grad school. I had no experience. I barely understood the job title. I was lured by the idea that I could help people who were really in need.

My passion to help others is part of who I am. It’s how I was raised and how I want to live; it’s what I teach my kids, and how I want to be remembered. I took the job to help people in need…but the problem was that they did not want my help.

This had not occurred to me when I took the job but it made a lot of sense when I thought about it. As adherence specialist, I was to go to all the public clinics, look at the records of med pick-ups, and determine who was not on track taking their meds. I was supposed to identify, reach out to, and problem solve with those individuals. The key to HIV/AIDS drug therapy is adherence. If you skip doses the meds become less and less effective. And at that time, there were only so many options for meds. If you wore them all out, then you had no options for treatment.

I tried a lot of intervention styles to reach out to my clients. They were a tough bunch because they were the noncompliant. They missed meds, and often appointments. It was hard to get a working phone number and harder to meet up. Once I’d get someone on the line or in a meeting room, I tried to explain the importance of the meds. I tried to identify barriers to their picking up meds: transportation, privacy, time off from work, mental and physical health problems. The lists were long. Progress was slow and difficult. There was a lot of backsliding.

I knew they saw me as a young whippersnapper who had no clue what they were going through. I think some met with me out of pity and others were bored. It was hard to break through this perception because I believed it was mostly accurate.

Then I had a brainstorm. I was really worried about a client who had kids and was living in an abusive home situation. She had no job, money, or car. It seemed like some of those things needed to be helped before I could really expect her to pick up and religiously take her meds. She needed a safe place. Yet she would not listen to my suggestions. My brainstorm was when I realized who she would listen to.

She didn’t need me. She needed peers. While I had sincere love and compassion for her situation, and for all of my clients, I wasn’t able to connect meaningfully. Once I could admit that, I worked hard to get approval, funding, and cooperation for what they did need.

They needed each other. A safe place to complain about: side effects, jilted lovers, the counselors, the system, the cruelty of fate. They needed to hear each other out and then offer reality checks. Their reality. Not mine.

What I did was connect the dots. In their lives, where was the money? The drug companies had the money. I wrote a simple grant to the pharmaceutical company that made the most popular of the HIV/AIDs meds. It was in their best interest to have clients take their meds accurately, thereby showing the efficacy. With the funds, I lined up a meeting place, staff (to be in the background providing info and security), and incentives like the occasional raffle, or attendance prizes.

I won’t bore you with the stats, but just having a place to go and talk helped their adherence rates rise. The correlation was strong. The more meetings attended, the more accurate the med pick-ups were. Meds, a support system, education, and case management were important to helping these individuals improve their adherence. But it was the love and compassion of their peers that made the biggest difference in their overall health trajectory.

As I mentioned, I’m older now and I haven’t had a paying job in a while. But the lesson learned has stayed with me. Being heard and understood with love and compassion can sometimes be the best medicine.

The End

    Bravo, Megan!


    To further explore the philosophy that Love is the best medicine, we recommend this newsletter article from Unlimited Love called Love Heals http://unlimitedloveinstitute.org/newsletter/giving-tuesday-2016-2.html.

 

Remember, together we can all make a difference that truly matters.

 

 


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Love: The Missing Piece in Management

 

Love: The Missing Piece in Management

The Missing Piece – Love

We recently ran across this interesting article in the Harvard Business Review on W. Edwards Deming (1900-1993), a business management icon from the latter part of the 20th century. The article, written by Joshua Macht, is The Management Thinker We Should Never Have Forgotten.

Macht wonders: Why do Deming’s ideas seem to be lost in time? Why didn’t they catch on to a greater extent?

Even though the underlying philosophy of Deming’s management method certainly resonates with our Human Centered way of doing business, we believe his ideas missed an important component. Love. Love, a deep and abiding Compassion for workers as Human Beings, is the missing piece we believe kept his method from being fully realized. Deming himself would likely agree with our premise about the importance of caring for the worker. But we think he didn’t put enough emphasis on it. So we thought we would do that here.

If we take Deming’s ideas and drop in the concept, Love Your People, the path to greater business success really lights up. It fits very well with the rest of his ideas. Dare we suggest adding it as the 15th point, to Deming’s ‘Fourteen Points of Management? (Click link: Deming’s Fourteen Points of Management.)

Not to put words in Deming’s mouth, but if the shoe fits. . .

Why do we suggest this? First, by using the power of Love in interactions, we make it safe, possible and worth it for our workers to bring the full measure of their discretionary effort to work with them, as well as their passion for work well done, commitment to the success of the organization, and greater collaboration with team mates in taking care of our customers’ needs. These are a vital part of the Human Assets Deming intended to harness and put to work.

And second, it just makes life at work a lot more fun. When we care about others and others care about us, it reduces stress, and makes work much more pleasant and rewarding. All of which optimizes productivity. And works to achieve what Deming’s method aimed at accomplishing. Of course, this names only a few of the benefits of incorporating Love into the frame work of Deming’s Management Method.

Check out the article. https://hbr.org/2016/06/the-management-thinker-we-should-never-have-forgotten.

When you finish reading Macht’s insightful article, remember to write a comment or share a short story about how Love, the missing piece, created a better way to do business.

Together we can make a difference that truly matters.

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Congratulations to the Winners

 

Essay Contest Announcement of Winners

And the winners are:

1st – The Best Medicine by Megan Gregor

2nd – Un-rapped by Rich Lagomarsino

3rd – Working Happy by Kathy Quatraro

Honorable Mention – The Hospital Experience by Sheela Jaywant

 

All of the judges were impressed by the quality of entries. Thank you to everyone who entered and shared their stories.

 

Together we can make a difference that matters.

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Contest Update

 

Contest Entry Thank You

Thank You for Your Contest Entry

Thank you to all of our contest participants.

If you did not receive an email acknowledging receipt of your entry, please let me know via email to  contest@loveisgoodbusiness.org.

We are beginning the review process now.

Good luck to everyone.

Michelle

 

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The Closing Date Approaches for our Essay Contest

 

Love: A Better Way to Work with People Essay Contest

Reminder for the Art of Love is Good Business Blog Essay Contest

LOVE: A Better Way to Work with People Essay Contest

Reminder: The closing date is Saturday July 30th, 2016 for our Essay Contest.

Remember that the submissions must be submitted as a Word document attachment to an email.

The response to our Essay Contest has been fantastic. Thank you to all of the writing websites and blogs who let people know about the contest.

We can’t wait to see what Saturday’s emails bring and we’re looking forward to reading all of your wonderful submissions.

Thank you to everyone who has already submitted!


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Essay Contest

 

Love: A Better Way to Work with People Essay Contest

Announcing our Essay Contest

 

The Art of Love is Good Business Blog is running a writing contest

LOVE: A Better Way to Work with People Essay Contest

There are no fees of any kind to enter and win. We are looking for personal essays up to 750 words that share a true story about how Love and Compassion helped solve a work or business problem.

First Prize: $100

Second Prize $75

Third Prize $50

Deadline for submissions is July 30, 2016. Please check the rules at The Art of Love is Good Business.

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Why do we call our Blog: The Art of Love is Good Business?

 

Art Makes Love in Business

There’s an Art to Love is Good Business

What’s Art got to do with Love in Business?

It’s really quite simple.

We discovered that bringing Love into the business arena calls for many of the key elements found in art: intuition, innovation, and adaptability. By using “Art” in our title, we encourage our readers to see the creativity needed in applying the idea of Love is Good Business. It’s about going beyond following a recipe to creating our own way to practice the use of Love in the workplace.

Getting to the point where we could appreciate that it’s the Art of Love is Good Business has developed over time. Four years ago we started our Blog with the title Love is Good Business and felt that was kind of risky. At that time, a search on the internet for “Love in Business” brought up only a few items before dissolving into something unrelated, and somewhat pornographic.

However, today, the idea that Love and Compassion leads to greater business success, isn’t strange or alien. Universities and Colleges have expanded their business degree programs to include compassion and Humanism. Books devoted to the subject crowd shelves. Articles on the internet are plentiful. People are really getting on the band wagon about the role that Love can play in business.

And we are very happy about this.

However, in all of this festive “get on board” energy there isn’t a lot out there about how to apply the idea; taking the idea from concept to application, and helping people use their Love every day, and in every situation.

We’re working at filling this gap by focusing on application. That’s why we seek out stories about how people have used Compassion in business settings to solve problems and meet challenges. And these stories aren’t just an exploration of how one person or team used Love and Compassion in business success. By sharing our stories, we can help each other see new and better ways to approach and solve our own challenges.

We believe that when we use Love in business effectively we unlock innovation, adaptation, and intuition in ways that echo the creative process of the Artist. We believe the stories shared here show how each writer brought their “Art”, their finesse and creativity to the use of Love in their workplace. This finesse and creativity are our writers’ artistic interpretation of what will work best in their environment and within their vision.

The Art of Love is Good Business is about the Universality of our individual ways of putting Love to work in our Workplaces, and about using the key elements found in art: innovation, adaptation, and intuition to do just that – harnessing the power of Love in the workplace.

Let’s harness that power together and make a difference that matters.


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Love is Good Business by Patricia Carter

 

Dare to Care and Show You Care

Dare to Care and Show You Care – Love is Good Business

 

Love is Good Business?

I hear people saying, “You Can’t Be Serious!”

But I am serious. As a matter of fact, I’ve never really understood why this is such a difficult concept.

Let me tell you my story: As I moved up the proverbial ladder from worker bee to management I became very aware that relating to co-workers and my staff with a loving, caring heart wasn’t how things were done–especially in my line of work.

Since 2004 I’ve worked in treatment and supervision of the homeless and those involved in the criminal justice system.
It’s a tough job when you’re not wired to be the tough guy all the time. I seemed to be in a constant battle with bosses that believed being hard on clients and staff was the ticket to success.

But, listening closely in weekly conference calls when results were reported and issues discussed, I saw that my office and team did not have the same kind of issues. We had excellent results, one of the best in our state. And our office was bringing in new business. We had good relationships with county probation, law enforcement and other community partners. Our clients were doing good things and were involved in the community in positive ways. I had a great team who were focused on achieving great results.

Then, I went to my staff and clients and started asking questions. Interestingly enough, their answers were the same – they all said it makes a difference when someone cares what you think or how you feel. Staff said it made them want to learn and grow and do more. Clients said it helped keep them on the right path, especially when no one was looking. Maya Angelou said that people will forget what you say to them but they will never forget how you made them feel. This is so very true.

Caring or coming from a place of love doesn’t mean being a pushover. It means that you’re interested in the well-being of the people that work for you and the clients that use your products and services. It means saying “How are you?” and waiting for the answer, remembering a birthday or the fact that someone has a very sick family member at home. It also means that you clearly communicate your vision to your staff and make sure everyone understands what is expected of them. It means coaching, mentoring, disciplining and training people to move to the next level.

Great leaders (and bosses) care. They don’t assume, and they don’t allow ego to get in the way of developing staff and developing good relationships with those who do the work that produces results. You want great results and outcomes? Open that place in your heart that cares and see what happens. When you dare to care – people respond.

John Lennon was right – Love is all you need.

Author Patricia Carter has a passion for training and developing staff for excellent, positive outcomes and has been successful in creating an environment of learning and growth for the benefit of her teams and employers. She has over 10 years experience serving at risk individuals.

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