This spring, Stanford University’s Center for Compassion and Altruism, had a sold-out conference on a topic that seems very unthinkable, business and compassion. In fact, one of the speakers wrote in a blog how rare it is to see those two words used together. The author, Scott Kriens, was CEO of Juniper Networks.
Scott proceeded in his blog to discuss the importance of building a compassionate business to become a high performance business. He cited his own experience at Juniper Networks. The key to the success of Juniper, he said, was building relationships.
Scott reported everybody initially was enthusiastic and worked together to make it a success but they also realized that if they were going to continue to be successful they were going to have to do something else and that was to build relationships based on trust. One of the ways to do that, he said, was to have a better form of communication by actually listening to each other to understand what was being said.
In our last two blogs, we talked about the importance of listening to understand the message as well as the need for feedback to check on that understanding. The one thing Scott talked about, and this is important, it takes time. Not everyone can understand the message at the same time so they had to be deliberate in planning their message which was something else we pointed out in our blogs. He said the more they worked at it the better the relationships developed.
Scott also mentioned science has proven that organizations that have low trust levels and low respect with employees do not perform as well as organizations that show value for their employees and have high trust levels. Dr. James Doty, from the Center of Compassion and Altruism, also discusses this concept in his blog. He talks about the need for employee engagement on the part of the employer and the need for emotional intelligence on the part of the employee. Both go hand in hand.
If these concepts have been proven to work, shouldn’t all organizations work at developing strong relationships with their employees – especially now while we’re still struggling with the current economic conditions. Yes, it takes time but the end result is well worth it. Time takes patience and that is difficult especially in this instantaneous society we live in but what is it that’s been said before about practice? It has to be done over and over again to perfect it. It doesn’t happen overnight but the benefit outweighs it.
The links to the articles are on the CALMC Facebook page. The full articles have some very interesting ideas. They really work!
Doty, Dr. James R., Feb. 25, 2013, Science of Compassion: Business and Compassion Part 2, The Huffington Post
Kriens, S., Mar. 21, 2013, Compassion and Business?, The Huffington Post