The critical gap often missed when it comes to building empathy is confirming one’s understanding of the situation. You can try to put yourself in what you believe to be the other person’s shoes, but you are making an assumption that you know ‘their shoes.’ All you know is how you think you would feel if you were in their situation based on your lived experience, but that does not mean you understand what they think or how they feel. This is where the concept of building empathy as is often discussed does not fully stand up. It does not work if it is one-sided. It does not work if your interpretation, your assumption, is not correct. It takes two to build empathy.
Alexander Grosse, Director of Engineering for BCG Digital Ventures, and David Loftesness, the Head of Platform at eero, have both lived through the brilliant and bleak moments of scaling teams. In this interview, they look at five areas where startups can either take action to deactivate destructive factionalism or even prevent them from forming in the first place. They share concrete processes for regaining the efficiency that leaders might not even realize they’re losing to competing mindsets and poor communication. Through these tactics, they show through specific scenarios why empathy is just as vital to a startup’s success as innovation.
Article by First Round
The idea that empathy is the secret to business success is a far cry from the dog-eat-dog corporate mentality that has prevailed for so long. But recent research from The Empathy Business suggests it might be time to rethink that approach. In fact, those leaders and companies that embed empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others – into their business models perform far better than those that don’t.