Compassion At Work and Lifeboats

 

Compassion and Love create lifeboats

Retain employees with Love and Lifeboats

 

Patty Carter appears again in our blog with another great story about an experience she had during her management years with an organization working with at-risk individuals.

Her story is a tale of two managerial candidates and how things ended up without the practice of Love in business; and explores what could have happened if Love had reigned. Patty’s story provides information, inspiration, and guidance to those of us who have discovered that the ‘practice of Love IS good business’ and are seeking to find our way forward on this pathway to Success.

Here is her story . . .

A few years ago, I was part of a panel that was interviewing for a middle management position. This was a particularly significant interview because the previous manager was blatantly abusive to staff and was not upholding the terms and conditions of the contract. This was a government contract that partnered with a State parole team that was being violated in many ways. The contract was in jeopardy and the organization’s reputation was being trashed. The situation had become emotionally charged and was in need of a strong leader with a firm hand but a gentle touch.

The office was a mess and staff had been traumatized to the point that the word “lawsuit” came up in nearly every conversation. Upper management was genuinely concerned and doing everything possible to resolve the situation – including having very open conversations with staff. Things were moving slowly because of the delicate nature of the situation – but final interviews had finally begun.

We were looking for someone that had good leadership skills, could think well outside of the box, was firm but able to bring about healing to staff, clients, peers, the parole team AND save the contract. Tall order and definitely not for wimps – or a tough manager that wanted to bully everything and everyone into shape.

We were down to two very strong candidates that could get the job done. One of the questions I asked was “What would you do with an employee that had become a problem or was not performing well?” The first candidate said, “Make sure they’re properly trained, talk to them and if that doesn’t work you go through HR to start the termination process”.

The second candidate said he would do everything he could to pull someone back into the lifeboat. I asked him to tell us a little more about what he meant. He elaborated by saying he felt it was important to know what was going on with an employee that had gone off the rails and detailed how he would handle the situation.

One answer embraced, the other one dismissed. One was focused on developing staff and one focused on getting an employee into line. I think both approaches can be used – but the dismissive approach needs a little tweaking.

My education, experience and training has taught me that people do what they do for a reason and it’s part of our job as managers to look into what is going on with an employee that is not performing as expected. I think you have to ask yourself some key questions before taking disciplinary action or contacting HR.

  • Has this person been fully trained?
  • Is this person clearly aware of expectations?
  • Are this person’s skills and strengths suited to the position?
  • Have there been recent changes in this person’s workload or job description that he or she may be struggling with?
  • Is there any indication that he or she may be facing personal challenges?

Once you’ve asked yourself those questions and been honest in your assessment, it’s time to talk to the employee. This should be a conversation not a berating session. State the facts, show concern and that you value him or her by asking questions. Then listen – not just with your head but with your heart as well. Head and heart are not mutually exclusive. One discerns, the other seeks to understand and heal. This is a powerful combination and from a business perspective, is a win-win for everyone.

Those who work for us are real people with real lives. Their work needs are not limited to training and a paycheck. They need to feel like a valued member of the team. Termination is not always the answer. While there are times when it may be necessary to terminate employment, it should not be the goal when dealing with struggling employees. When correction (or discipline) is necessary, use compassion and wisdom to pull the person back into the lifeboat. The employee will grow and learn and get better. And so will the rest of the team.

Interestingly enough, the candidate that focused on getting employees in line got the job and was eventually promoted again. However, he turned into a demanding, overbearing manager. It didn’t take long for that style to result in turnover and lower performance in his department . Had this manager taken a different approach or returned to a more caring and compassionate way of being, the entire region he managed would have gone in a different direction and been more successful.

The way we see and how we approach our employees (and everyone in our lives) will determine the success of our relationships. And when it comes to business, seeing employees through the eyes of kindness and compassion and approaching them from a place of love will determine an efficient and successful business.

 

Love matters, and it makes all the difference.

 

 

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 nearly 10 years’ experience in management working with at-risk individuals.

Check out her previous post here: http://loveisgoodbusiness.org/2016/03/

And remember, together we can make a difference that matters.

 

 

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.

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.

 

 


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.

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.

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!


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.

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.

 

 

Power Up Business with Love

Power Up Business with Love

Power Up!

 

 

At the heart of our ALGB message is:

 Love is a practical tool for living a more wholesome and effective Life at work.

There is energy in Love that powers an array of Human attributes: courage, insight, physical and mental stamina, and empathy, to name only a few. With Love we can do things we can’t otherwise do. And that makes Love a practical and useful thing; not just a whimsical over idealized notion about how we wish Life would be.

But, how do we bring Love into our world of business?

Choice. Attitude. Intention.

We choose to care about the well-being of ourselves and others, and even about the well-being of the places we work in, and the work we do.

Once we choose to care about well-being, an attitude of Love forms. Now we put the attitude into action and guide our actions with our intention for well-being.

We intend to support the well-being of ourselves and others, and everything in our businesses.

The steps flow, and suddenly it seems easier to see, feel, and use Courage, Insight, Stamina, and Empathy.

And these Human attributes bring great results into our workplaces.

A real-time story:

A manufacturer had a rule. Orders needed to be shipped within 10 days. But a lot of things got in the way of meeting that deadline. And as the deadline kept being missed, the increased anxiety and fear levels made all of the delays grow exponentially.

As the manager observed the fallout from the missed deadlines, he became more and more concerned about the well-being of his staff, customers, and the organization as a whole.

He chose to care. He brought a Loving attitude, and because he intended to improve the well-being of all, he had the Courage to ask: What is a more realistic shipment schedule?

And from that courageous and insightful question, they built a better shipping process.

The employees felt less stress and the customers were happy. Together they had powered up their business with Love. That’s a win-win in any playbook.

And illustrates our closing thought:

Together we can make a difference that matters.

 

 


Using the Power of Love to Change Business

On Being a Compassionate Irritant

Speak up!

Speak up!

 

The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.
- Rollo May

 

One of the most important points we want to make in this blog is that Love is a Utility, a source of Power, to help support business and Human success.

We recently found ourselves talking about how being too agreeable, being too willing to go with the flow, can hinder positive growth and success. And, so, we wanted to share our thoughts about how being a Compassionate Irritant can help people be catalysts for positive change.

In some ways, it seems a paradox, this idea about being a Compassionate Irritant. When we are talking about the Art of Love is Good Business it might appear that we’re talking about rainbows and unicorns–fanciful and unrealistic stuff. That could be interpreted as “Peace at any Price”, or don’t be an irritant, or don’t irritate people.

Actually, Love is what enables us to be a very special kind of irritant. A Compassionate Irritant. Love brings an energy of caring enough about our work, and our fellow Human Beings, to power greater courage to be authentic and express our opinions and ideas.

Expressing ourselves as a Compassionate Irritant could start with something as simple as saying:

I could serve customers better if I had this. What do you think?

I don’t understand why we do things this way. Can you help me understand?

I have an idea. Can we talk about it?

And if that didn’t get anywhere, would we give up? Nope. We would continue to be a Compassionate Irritant. Because compassionately bringing up issues, ideas, and solutions, are the first step on the path to making things better in our world.

By initiating collaborative conversations from our place of Love we can Power positive growth and success for ourselves and the organizations we work with.

We encourage you to be a Compassionate Irritant.

Share a story or comment about your experiences with being a Compassionate Irritant.

Together we can make a difference that matters.