Empathy. Care. Learning
A new era for businesses
After almost a decade of entrepreneurship, we look back and attempt to draw some conclusions about what it takes to make it business wise. We live in times of rapid change, strong competition and pressure; succeeding seems more difficult than ever. It is often resumed to a matter of survival with success more as “wishful thinking” rather than an achievable goal.
We use our own experience and the observations of others to identify how business trends shift. Our conclusions here should act as kind reminders to us and other creative small businesses out there to never lose sight of what’s important.
First of all, for whom is it important? Your everyday activities, the overall mission of the business, to whom do they matter? The first in mind is the owner, of course. Who else? The consumer, obviously. And who else? Your team, naturally.
Second, what makes it special? Oh, that’s the USPs you’re talking about, you’ll surely think. Yes, it’s true; that, too. But there is more.
Let’s take a short voyage into the history of management, to understand how businesses evolved in their relation to their peers and where we are heading.
At the beginning of the XX century, the focus was on productivity. Adam Smith had only introduced the concept of management and other personalities such as Frederick Winslow Taylor (“father” of Taylorism) and Henry L. Gantt (creator of the Gantt Chart) were bringing productivity principles into the spotlight.
So what happens now? It is still about quality, although it shifts from a rather technical characteristic to a softer one. In the XXI century quality and productivity are translated into building good, lasting relationships with both the customers and the team.
As put by Professor Rita McGrath in this article for the Harvard Business Review, we are entering an era of empathy in which “many are looking to organizations to create complete and meaningful experiences.” Emotions weigh more in decision making from both the customer’s, as well as the employee’s perspective.
From where we stand, by analyzing our past experience and looking into the future, we acknowledge the growing importance of building quality relationships with customers and employees equally.
There is a good reason for the use of “care” in customer care. And we intend to unveil its full sense in every aspect of our work.
In parallel, carrying about customers cannot be separated from carrying about employees. With an entire generation of Millennials joining the workforce, in search for a purpose in their daily activity, it becomes essential to meet their expectations.
One approach is continuous learning. This benefits multiple players: employees – as they have a stronger sense of gain; customers – as they can have better experiences due to better-prepared employees; ultimately – the business as a whole.
Speaking of continuous learning, here’s an interesting infographic about workplace learning put together by Teamfluent, a startup specialized in helping teams to develop a culture and behavior of continuous learning.
Infographic by Teamfluent.com
To sum up, empathy and care are what it takes to make it these days as a business. The focus shifts from products and services towards customers and team. Whoever keeps up with it can be a winner.