There are good companies and there are great companies. The good companies are led by competent people who are intelligent, have business savvy and are confident and competitive. Great companies are led by people who encompass all of these traits plus compassion.
Compassion is a missing component from companies that are good. While these organizations may perform well and keep stakeholders happy with the progress, they most likely will not progress much further without adding compassion and becoming great like the best companies out there.
Take it from Chade-Meng Tan, author of “Search Inside Yourself: The Unexpected Path to Achieving Success, Happiness (and World Peace),” who says that the trait the most effective leaders share is compassion.
“The practice of compassion is about going from self to others,” writes in his book. “In a way, compassion is about going from ‘I’ to ‘We.’ So if switching from ‘I’ to ‘We’ is the most important process of becoming an authentic leader, those who practice compassion will already know how and will have a head start.”
And Meng – as he is informally known – recognizes great companies because he was an engineer at Google for several years before starting their mindfulness training courses, which earned him the title of “Jolly Good Fellow.”
In his book, Meng cites research conducted by business consultant Jim Collins that differentiates between good and great companies. Of course, the common factor was great leadership. Leaders of great companies also had two apparently contradictory characteristics: ambition and humility.
“These leaders are highly ambitious, but the focus of their ambition is not themselves; instead, they are ambitious for the greater good,” writes Meng. “Because their attention is focused on the greater good, they feel no need to inflate their own egos. That makes them highly effective and inspiring.”
Indeed, what an inspiration it is to work with people whose goal is the greater good. This type of attitude can be contagious and influence others to let go of their ego. In this way, a new generation of leaders can develop and grow.
Compassion is all about shifting focus away from oneself and on to others. Those with compassion have the ability to empathize and see things from someone else’s point of view.
When you populate your organization with such people, you are on the way to creating a great organization.
Weaver, Thinker, Doer