In this book Marie Miyashiro details a proven and repeatable method for developing and practicing empathy as a business skill, and shows the significant role this skill plays in the productivity of teams and organizations.
Based on Marshall Rosenberg's model for compassionate communication (see interview in the Jan/Feb 2006 issue of Networking Times), The Empathy Factor takes his work into the business community and provides a framework you can use to understand and effectively meet the critical needs of your organization without compromising your own needs or those of your team members and customers.
In the introduction, Miyashiro describes how most organizations are two-dimensional in that they require and reward people for two functions only: thinking and doing. "The dialogue goes something like this," she says. "If we think hard enough about our problems and goals, we will be able to develop a plan to do all the 'right' things to be successful."
The problem with this kind of two-dimensional culture is that people can easily become disconnected from what's alive in them—their feelings and their needs. This book advocates for a third dimension, Connect-Do-Think, placing a primacy on engaging with one another in our full humanness before we work or do business together.
Miyashiro distinguishes three levels of empathic connection that are constantly at play when we engage in business activities: our relationship to our own internal state, our relationships with our business partners, and our relationships with customers. In many situations, the quality of these connections does not meet critical human needs, such as trust, respect, autonomy, understanding, and meaning. Because people are essential to organizations, when these universal human needs go unmet, productivity, services and profits also suffer.
Since our entire global economy is shifting to one of complex interdependent relationships, the value of connections and empathy in business continues to increase. The Empathy Factor shows how today's leaders can build teams and organizations where empathy is the core driver of their success, where engaged and inspired people meet with increased profits and better results.
With over twenty-eight years of experience working with Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses, Miyashiro has dedicated her career to transforming work cultures where human needs remain unmet in the name of profits and productivity.
Building from the latest research in brain science, emotional intelligence, and organizational theory, she offers both real-world insights and a practical framework so you can strengthen your own empathy muscle and bring the transformative power of empathy to your business and entire organization.
Paperback, 270 pages, $19.95;
Puddle Dancer Press, 2011.