Can compassion be good for the bottom line? According to Emma Seppälä, author of The Happiness Track, the answer is a clear yes. In the following excerpt from the book, Seppälä tells the story of someone who used compassion to his competitive advantage.
Drake is a happy, generous, and other-focused person. He is always interested in helping others whenever he can. He and his wife support a number of causes focused on improving the lives of children around the world who are at risk because of the poverty and violence that surround them. Kindness pervades his life.
So when Drake joined Bear Stearns, he was shocked by how the other managing directors mistreated the junior bankers — analysts, associates, and vice presidents. They had only their own best interest in mind and worked the junior staff into the ground — even abusively. For example, they would insist — after returning from a weekend in the Hamptons — that their staff go to work at 11 p.m. on Sunday evening and finish up a presentation or report by the next morning, even though it was not due to the client for days. The staff was then expected to work through the rest of the next day.
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