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Emotional Intelligence and Empathy - In Your Customers’ Shoes

Working Resource sis a  San Francisco Bay Area Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Firm Helping Innovative Companies and Law Firms Assess, Select, Coach, Engage  and Retain Emotionally Intelligent Leaders; Executive Coaching; Leadership Development; Performance-Based Interviewing; Competency Modeling; Succession Management; Culture Change; Career Coaching and Leadership & Team Building Retreats

 

Emotional Intelligence and Empathy

I recently met with the director of human resources at a Silicon Valley company regarding providing executive coaching for the company’s CEO. The director of human resourcesasked some very insightful questions to determine whether we were a good fit. She specifically wanted to know how I worked with different personality styles, and my methods for initiating behavior change. She was very interested in my executive coaching work with helping their senior leadership creating a more empathic organization.

The director of human resources and I spoke about my approach to coaching, and my belief that possessing a psychological understanding of human behavior and specifically empathy are important leadership competencies. We also spoke of the need for her organization to work with a management consultant to help their company create a culture where creativity and innovation thrives.

The director of human resources is interested in partnering with me in helping their CEO become more emotionally intelligent and empathic. We further discussed how other company executives could benefit by working with a seasoned executive coach.

The more an organization can understand and empathize with the key motivators of their employees and customers, the more likely that organization will have sustainable success.~ Chip Conley, author of Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow

As we cope with the daily challenges of an increasingly fast-paced world, we need to reclaim our basic empathy abilities, which often get lost in the shuffle of stultifying business routines. Organizations can learn to become empathic to forge connections with customers and employees.

In Your Customers’ Shoes

Modern technological improvements in data-mining provide strategic plans, sales forecasts and manufacturing reports. Companies become so dependent on these models that they can lose touch with reality.

Firms use all of this information to create maps—market segmentations, research reports—of how customers use their products. But these maps are poor substitutes for actual human contact. Many managers make critical decisions based o n numbers, without any personal feeling for the people they serve. They fail to spot new opportunities and innovative solutions for customers.

Nike has built an entire culture that celebrates the potential for athletic greatness in each of us. The company’s headquarters resemble an athletic center; its employees take breaks for running, basketball and soccer games. The people who develop running shoes are usually runners themselves. They possess a basic intuition that cannot be captured in any market report.

Other major companies have learned the value of empathy:

· IBM helps customers keep their information technology up and running by staying as close to them as possible.

· Microsoft succeeded with the Xbox because it was designed for gamers by developers who love games.

· Apple makes computers, iPhones, iPads and iPods for people who covet cool, easy-to-use products. The company’s organizational culture reflects its customers’ lifestyles.

Business happens on the street, in stores and in homes. When companies have a real connection with end users, they come up with better product designs. Harnessing the power of empathy closes the gap between abstract data and reality.

Consumers don’t buy goods based on demographics. Nobody, for example, opens his wallet because he’s a 25- to 30-year-old white male with a college degree. As people go about their daily lives, problems arise that beg for solutions. Consumers are willing to spend money on solutions that will get the job done. Your ability to empathize with them and anticipate their needs determines whether your product or service will sink or swim in the marketplace.

It’s worth noting that Sony cofounder Akio Morita and Apple’s Steve Jobs were famous for never commissioning market research. Instead, they’d just walk around the world watching what people did. They put themselves in their future customers’ shoes.

Are you working in a professional services firm or other organization where executive coaches provide leadership development to help leaders become more empathic? Does your organization provide executive coaching for leaders who need to learn how to develop more empathy? Enlightened leaders tap into their emotional intelligence and social intelligence skills to create a more fulfilling future.

One of the most powerful questions you can ask yourself is “Does my company value empathy as a core emotional intelligence competency for leaders and employees?” Emotionally intelligent and socially intelligent organizations provide executive coaching to help leaders restore their energy and commitment.

Working with a seasoned executive coach and leadership consultant trained in emotional intelligence and incorporating assessments such as the Bar-On EQ-I, CPI 260 and Denison Culture Survey can help leaders build high performance organizations where empathy in business is a virtue. You can become a leader who models emotional intelligence and social intelligence, and who inspires people to become fully engaged with the vision, mission and strategy of your company.

About Dr. Maynard Brusman

Dr. Maynard Brusman is a consulting psychologist, executive coach and trusted advisor to senior leadership teams. He is the president of Working Resources, an  executive coaching and leadership development firm. We specialize in helping San Francisco Bay Area companies and law firms assess, select, coach, and retain emotionally intelligent leaders.  Maynard is a highly sought-after speaker and workshop leader. He facilitates leadership retreats in Northern California and Costa Rica. The Society for Advancement of Consulting (SAC) awarded Dr. Maynard Brusman "Board Approved" designations in the specialties of Executive Coaching and Leadership Development.

For more information, please go to http://www.workingresources.com, write to mbrusman@workingresources.com, or call 415-546-1252.

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