Written by Scott Kriens.
When first asked to speak at the upcoming Compassion and Business conference, I was struck by how seldom we hear those two words in the same sentence. Why? I think it’s because we think of compassion too abstractly, and we’re probably equally guilty in thinking of “business” too clinically.
Even if we can’t count it, we all know compassion is real. We’ve all felt its power and influence. We also know there is more to achieving business success than market strategy and financial objectives. Where do these paths cross? People.
In my business experiences I have been tasked, as have we all in one setting or another, with getting the most productivity, creativity, and excellence with a team of people. Most often in the business world, success is measured by external shareholders with target metrics like profit margins, market share, and revenue generation.
Within such a frame, it would seem like the hard-driving, competitive, results-oriented business environment has little room for such concepts as compassion. While this seems like an easy conclusion to draw, many leaders believe that it narrows our understanding and leads to less-effective business leadership.
Peter Drucker used to say that all employees are volunteers, that business success was becoming more about the ability to attract top talent and then motivating that talent to do their absolute best work. Nowhere is that more true in my experience than in Silicon Valley, where the next possibly more attractive job offer and more exciting project is only a few miles down the road on any given day.
So what really holds people and teams together? Relationships.
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