Business leaders are starting to recognize that compassion and kindness in business can get you more clients and even more than that- it can help save the world.
We are living in uncertain times. The economy is being challenged. People are losing their jobs and their houses. Fewer people are able to buy goods and services. Independent small business owners and entrepreneurs- more than ever-are looking for new and better ways to connect with people who need and want what they offer.
I deeply feel that more caring in small businesses can build trust and streams of authentic connections while increase profits. This may be the best way to attract an abundance of customers and clients with whom we can authentically relate. And, being authentic and kind in business can lead to more harmony- personal and universal.
Business guru Tom Peters says, “Kindness is free and turns a profit.”
To give you more insight for this new paradigm in business, watch the following 2 minute video in which Deepak Chopra talks about compassion in business.
In the seventies, I joined a Dale Carnegie speech class inPittsburgh. There were three corporate bosses in that class of 22 people. I was very young and inexperienced. But I kept winning most of the awards. People voted for me because I may have been the only one naive enough to believe the instructor when he said to speak from the heart and show kindness.
The corporate executives in that particular class didn’t seem to value what was heartfelt, or compassion in the workplace. Today it seems as if the big corporations keep showing us the way NOT to do business. There is too much suffering, negativity and stress that comes from emphasizing profit as the only bottom line.
Not being considerate of people is an ineffective way to do business as usual. Being more considerate of people, building a culture of compassion, can help turn things around, especially if we business people come from our strong and authentic hearts rather than our wallets.
You may be asking “How can I have more compassion in my business so my products and services can both help people and still make a good profit?”
It’s important to know how valuable entrepreneurs are in our society. I personally feel business owners and entrepreneurs are more powerful than big companies because they drive the economy and generate a majority of new jobs– at least 60%.
They employ approximately 50% of the private sector workforce, represent 97 percent of the exporters of goods, represent approximately 95 percent of all employer firms and generate a majority of the innovations that come from U.S.companies. Many of them value heartfelt connections with employees, customers and clients.
As more experts are highlighting compassion in business, it’s important to know that this brand of kindness does not mean being wimpy or a pushover. It means talking straight, being authentic, sharing the glory, going out of the way to help a customer and being willing to do the job that is needed.
Susan Cramm lists 5 steps for more compassion in business in her blog in the Harvard Business Review: Five Ways to Lead with More Compassion
Assume the best in others -
- Understand what makes them tick
- Serve their needs
- Accept responsibilities
- Assume the best intentions
On a personal note– I feel that women may just be the ones to lead with more kindness. They seem to have more of a knack for it. The Dalai Lama said in a talk in Vancouver in 2009 that western women will save the world.
Some people may call me a feminist… [Biologically], females have more sensitivity towards others’ pain or suffering. Scientists also [are] saying that. Now, in the 21st century, is the time we really need more effort for promotion of human compassion.
Never before have women had so many tools, resources and freedom to lead fulfilling lives and in doing so, help evolve the world. The Dalai Lama recognizes that business women have the money, education, technology and the savvy to make a difference in the world and all of this teamed up with compassion is very powerful.
Yesterday one of my male friends said, “Yes, I believe the Dalai Lama and I’m here to back you women up. This really should be explored. Let me know when you ladies are ready, I’ll even stay home and bake cookies,” He then laughed and said it would be hard for men to give up the power.
I don’t think kindness in business has anything to do with that kind of power. Both men and women can recognize that compassion in business is win/win. And that means win/win for both women and men. Everyone can benefit.
After doing some research on the Web and Facebook, I am finding proof that there are people already putting compassion in their business, making a good profit and attracting good customers. And yes, many feel they are helping to save the world.
What do you think of this perspective? Do you agree that compassion in business is win/win?
Dee Gans is a partner in Authentic Abundance.
Flickr Photo – hugs by Julie McLeod