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!


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.

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.


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.

 

 


Why We Blog at The Art of Love is Good Business

 

Together We Make A Difference

Together We Make A Difference

We thought it might be a good idea to remind everyone why we started The Art of Love is Good Business blog.

We started The Art of Love is Good Business blog to support people looking for a better way to do business; a way that brings more meaning and significance to their Life at work and greater success for their organizations.

At the very heart of our message is this:

Love is a practical tool for living a more wholesome and effective Life. There is energy in Love that gives us the oomph to be brave, resourceful, compassionate, creative, and most important, wise. And applying Love to the business world makes our planet a better place.

We hope that others will find our blog useful as they go about making a difference that matters in their businesses and, by extension, in their lives.

Balance Work and Life with Love

Work Life Balance

Balancing our lives–its easier with Love

Work Life Balance. This phrase seems archaic now with the steady blurring of the line between Work and everything else that is Life. But thinking about this imaginary line gives us the chance to look at how we do spend our time, and how we can spend it more successfully.

From our point of view, an attitude of Love always supports the best use of our time. When we can look at our work, our life, and our comrades with an attitude of Love our time is naturally spent acting in more wholesome ways, leading to greater success for everyone.

This article Work-Life Balance: Learning to Like and Live with Chocolate Milk by the guys at Fresh Milk from Contented Cows suggests some ways we can achieve these greater successes. And their suggestions are always well-grounded in an attitude of Love for ourselves and others.

For example, Bill touches on the value of “Me-Time”, and its increasing importance in an economy where everyone is taking fewer days off. We can help each other by addressing some of the downsides of taking “Me-Time”. What if we helped our vacationing associates by delegating or sharing their work so they don’t step into a back-log they feel they’ll never be rid of? Would this end up being a successful use of our time, as well as our associates’ time?

Read the article and catch some more ideas.

Together we can make a difference that matters.

 

Resilience

 

A Book Inspires Us To Be Resilient

You can't knock them down. They have Resilience.

Let’s be like Weebles – Resilient.

I wasn’t surprised when I saw that Eric Greitens’ book, Resilience, had been talked about at The Center for Courage and Renewal, a site whose philosophies are aligned with the practical value of Love in business.

In his book, Resilience, Eric shares the letters he exchanged with a combat veteran battling PTSD, and explores the value of simply being resilient when life’s challenges knock us for a loop. He sees Resilience as a state of mind. One that brings patience and kindness when we need it.

That sure looks like Love to us.

Nurturing this state of mind (Resilience) in our organizations helps us navigate the rocky roads we travel in our lives at work, wherever and whatever our challenges might be. Love makes us like Weebles-always bouncing back up.

Fostering Resilience and harnessing the power of patience and kindness for ourselves and others brings the Art of Love is Good Business directly into our workplaces.

Read the excerpt from Eric’s book here at the Center for Courage and Renewal.

Together we can make a difference that matters.