About Empathy

What Is Empathy?

Empathy = the ability to understand and share the feelings of another (Source: Oxford Dictionary)

A Little Story…

John has an idea for a new product. He has thought about it long and hard; he has looked at existing solutions, he has analysed the potential for improvement and has come up with solutions to unlock it. He is really ready to go now.

Then John finds himself in a bizarre situation: he interviews potential customers and shows them the product – and they are not impressed by its features. Worse, they don’t even see why they would even need it!

What Happened?

Has John missed the quality standards? No, the product is of even better quality than existing solutions. Is it too expensive? Maybe a little, but nobody mentioned that. Does it have the wrong functions? They all seem useful, and yet nobody seems to see that. Is it the fault of the customer that they simply do not get it…?

The last argument – the users simply do not get it – is one of the most common explanations aspiring entrepreneurs come up with; they blame their customers. It is also a clear symptom of lack of empathy.

Empathy is One of the Most Important Success Factors in Business

Businesses which implement empathy throughout their organisation truly understand their customers, and build better products as a result. Also, they are able to grow a stronger, more collaborative culture This improves the relationships between their employees by helping them build human interfaces with each other and increase awareness for their different mindsets.

Many companies, however, focus almost solely on hard metrics which neglect these important relationships, and as a result do not succeed. Other companies, such as Apple, have built an empire based on a deep understanding of their customers, to the point that customers feel that these products were built for them – products which are truly you-centric.

This realisation has led me to focus intently on the immense potential and the difference empathy can make in an organisation. All my products and services are build with empathy at their centre, and I can help you discover what empathy can do for your business.

Some links to what others have to say about it:

HBS Blog – Empathy: The Most Valuable Thing They Teach at HBS

Clay Christensen’s Milkshake Marketing

“Feeling”, an essential leadership skill

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