The Power of Empathy
So, what’s the big idea? I believe empathy is the key ingredient to sustained growth because it enables you to create a better solution for a lower total cost and adapt to the changing needs of your customer faster than the competition.
What is Empathy?
I’m glad you asked. Empathy is not to be confused with sympathy which is having a feeling of pity and sorrow for someone else’s misfortune. Empathy is the ability to understand and share the positive or negative feelings of another.
Why does it matter?
Your business is not about you. It’s not about your solution. I try to keep my business philosophy simple because I’m just not that smart. Every business has the same two goals: One, attract, retain and grow ideal customers that are willing to pay a premium for your product or service. Then two, attract, retain and grow an ideal workforce that knows how to create what they value most for the lowest total cost.
As entrepreneurs, it’s only natural to fall in love with your solution and lose sight of what matters most. Remember, your business is about serving others and getting them to give you something in exchange. The more value you create, the more they should be willing to pay, but remember they shouldn’t have to pay for waste.
How does empathy work?
Empathy is the secret sauce that keeps you from falling in love with your solution and focused on the problems and unmet needs of your target market. It’s what helps you identify activities that customers don’t value so you can eliminate them, lowering costs without sacrificing quality. It’s what enables you to identify what they value most so you can double down on those bets and increase revenue. More revenue, lower cost, more profit. Everybody wins.
And as a bonus, empathy creates a self-less work culture. It serves as a reminder to everyone in your organization that they’re working for something greater than self and it can inspire them to go above and beyond the normal call of duty which creates raving fans. If you haven’t read that book, you should.
There are 4 keys to building empathy and they spell the word LEAN.
- “L”, look and listen for what customers value most because they’re not always able to tell you, but they can usually see it.
- “E”, eliminate waste where it is thought not to exist because the worst waste is that which you don’t see.
- “A”, always engage, enable and then empower people in that order because empowerment alone is abandonment in disguise.
- “N”, never stop learning what customers and workers value most.
Your business is not about you, it’s about solving problems for customers. If you can learn to empathize with your customer’s situation by walking in their shoes and feeling their pain and joy, then you’ll be better able to create what they value most and develop a workforce that knows how to deliver that value for the lowest total cost so your business will grow without heroic effort.
That’s all for today. If you like what you saw, read or heard please like, share and leave comments and until next time, think big, start small, grow right.