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.

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.

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!


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.

Love is Great Customer Service

Great Customer Service

Employees serve up Love is Good Business

 

Here’s an interesting statistic:

Americans tell an average of 9 people about good experiences, and tell 16 people about poor experiences, according to an American Express survey in 2011.

So, we at ALGB want to buck the trend and tell you about a great customer service. Because this experience gives a real time example of what The Art of Love is Good Business looks like.

I wrote a letter to Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks. This is part of it:

Hello, Mr. Schultz.

 I wanted to tell you about an excellent experience I had at Starbucks in Boulder City, Nevada on September 28th.

 Even though my previous experiences with Starbuck’s Coffee had been disappointing because I couldn’t seem to get the kind of coffee I wanted, I decided to brave the Starbuck’s system once again. Your actions as CEO were a big reason for me to try again—you really seem to care about improving the lives of everyone your company touches. If I had not been aware of this, I’m not sure I would have pursued the kind of conversation I had with the associate who greeted me that morning.

 I approached the counter and explained to your associate that I needed help with ordering a coffee because I didn’t understand Starbuck’s menu. So, I just described what I was looking for: a weak coffee that’s sweet and creamy, with a touch of chocolate. Could she help me?

 She paused and thought for a moment, then enlisted the aid of the associate who prepares the coffee (do you call them baristas?). Between the two of them they came up with a coffee that fulfilled my wishes. And the barista wrote it down for me so I could order it next time.

 Now that’s a great customer experience. . .

 If the associates had not cared about helping me have what I wanted, the experience would have been very different, and maybe, more typical of a lot of customer/business interactions. I am grateful that my interaction with Starbucks was a kind and compassionate one.

 I trust you won’t mind if we expand a little on my Starbuck’s experience in one of our future blog posts. It was certainly for me, an example of the role Love can play in business success.

 I applaud your leadership and the people of your company.

 Thank you!

 Michelle R. DeLaBarre, Editor

The Art of Love is Good Business Blog

So, what went on in this encounter?

As a customer, I was aware that CEO Howard Schultz wants his associates to care about the customer’s experience. It seemed to me that I would be safe expressing my need; that I wouldn’t be a “bother” to the Starbucks’ associates, so I was brave enough to go “off the script” of a typical coffee ordering process.

And, sure enough, the associates were very responsive. They took my needs into account, and, ultimately, adjusted their actions to make my experience very satisfying.

I believe they also had a good experience too because they were given the opportunity to help, and were able to successfully apply their knowledge to create a happy customer in a real time situation.

We all parted ways smiling!

What great customer experiences have you had where The Art of Love is Good Business was at play?

 

Share your story so together we can make a difference that matters.

 

 

Love is Good Business for Every Business

Love is Good Business for Every Business

Love is Good Business is for Every Business in our World

Every business is about people relating to each other.

The Art of Love is Good Business is true for every business we work in, from the mega-corporation to the mom and pop corner store.

We were happy to see an article recently that shows that very point.

Here’s a quote from Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

“We’re not in a coffee business serving people. We’re in a people business serving coffee.”

This simple twist on how we think about our businesses helps build the framework we use to relate with our customers, vendors, co-workers, and each other; and, is a big part of what we hope we are sharing here.

To see this coming from the CEO of a large corporation is encouraging.

Read the entire article here:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/howard-schultz-giving-college-educations-his-employees-daniel-roth

Together we CAN make a difference that truly matters.

Working with Difficult People is Possible with Love

Love is key to working with difficult people

Difficult people can be the key to success.

 

When we find useful content, we like to pass it on to our readers.

This article The One Technique to Get What You Want From Difficult People by Kate Matsudaira is worth sharing.

Kate encourages us to see what’s really behind difficult people and their behaviors by opening our perceptions to other possible motivations. Difficult people really are trying to help even when they contradict or disagree with us.

Her technique changes challenging meetings into collaborative and creative conversations. By bringing our Love to these conversations, we encourage “difficult people” to do the same.

Check out the article: The One Technique to Get What You Want From Difficult People
[Read more...]

You Don’t Have to Step Out of Your Comfort Zone – Expand It!

 

Feeling Exposed and Vulnerable?

Stepping out of our Comfort Zone can feel risky.

 

We’ve all experienced this:

We ask a co-worker or subordinate, “How are things going with that project/employee/problem or ___________________ (fill in the blank)?”

        “Fine,” he or she replies.

        But we know this is not the reality we see.

So why are we often reluctant to ask for help or discuss challenges we are facing?

Vulnerability. Exposure. Risk.

What it boils down to is: we’re not sure how to have conversations that discuss challenges, or ask for help, and still feel comfortable and safe. And, yet, it is these types of conversations in the workplace that will ultimately lead to break-through solutions that transform challenges into opportunities for success.
[Read more...]

Guide Passion with Love and Wisdom

Guiding Passion to Success
Guiding Passion to Success with Love and Wisdom

It seems to me that while having a passion is essential to business success, not all passions are created equal. Some are more wholesome than others. Passion without Love and Wisdom is like a locomotive without a track to guide it. Love guides our passion and creativity to what is profitable for both the organization and its people.         Arlen Pauler

What challenges and successes have you faced in using Love to guide Passion in the workplace?

Now it’s your turn. . .

Share your comments and stories about how Love creates a better way to do business.

Together we can make a difference that truly matters.

Defining Love for Business Success

Each of us sharing our experiences and thoughts about how Love leads to business success.

Under Construction – Love Defined

 

We updated our Love Defined page and wanted to share the current state of our understanding with you, our readers.

By sharing your insights and reactions, you become a part of this on-going journey of discovery about the nature of Love and its role in the success of business.

 

What do we mean by the word Love and what does it have to do with business success?

From our hands-on experience working in the business environment, we have come to the following explanation of Love and the role it plays in the success or failure of business organizations.

In its most basic definition:

Love is a heartfelt commitment to the well-being of a person, place, or thing.

It is the power that is released when we allow ourselves to truly care about what is good and wholesome for ourselves and others.

So what does this have to do with business? In the business environment, Love takes the form of real commitment to the Well-Being of the organization and its people, and the fulfillment of their mission. The presence of Love in the work place stirs authentic interest in customer happiness, the desire to help each other grow professionally and personally, and a passion for the success of the organization. [Read more...]