When you think about what makes for a valued relationship between two people, I think EMPATHY has to be a key factor.
Empathy Invites Emotional Engagement and Commitment
Jane Wurwand, Founder of Dermalogica wrote an article and cited author, Daniel Pink who argues that empathy is a right-brain quality. Jane feels empathy is more ‘feminine’ than ‘masculine’ and it’s why, more often than not, highly successful business people seem to possess this quality and exercise it liberally.
Empathy Is a Key Factor in Business Success
Wurwand’s article reminds us of how both the masculine quality of ‘assertive energy’ as well as the feminine quality of ‘connective energy’ are necessary for reaching effective decisions and building consensus to implement them effectively.
Gertrude Bell’s Legacy: Rim-Walker
Gertrude Bell was woman ahead of her time. A graduate of Oxford University in England, she was an advisor to Arab kings, European heads of state and spoke several dialects of Arabic.
Her ability to connect with her clients was incredible. She knew how her clients saw the world because she lived as they did. After graduating from Oxford, she learned Arabic by living with the Bedouin tribes in North Africa for several years. When King Faisal of Iraq (it was 1921) sought her counsel, she not only understood Arab culture, she spoke his language.
If western culture was in one ‘bowl’ and arab culture was in another, Ms. Bell was able to ‘walk the rims’ of each — seeing what both had to offer (or, protect!). Her role as advisor and liaison to powerful world leaders resulted from her being highly effective at providing empathetic counsel and using it to gain consensus from extremely disparate parties.
What You Can Learn From Happy Clients
Ask clients of highly regarded / desired advisors, “What do you like most about your advisor?”. They’ll tell you. Usually, it’s some variation on “S/he understands our business, our culture, our industry, our competitors but most of all . . . me”.
This makes it easy to ensure any recommendations you may make will be more acceptable and more likely to be implemented. But it all hinges on your ability to understand your client’s world, hopes, fears, concerns and desires.
Get out of your world long enough to get into your clients’ world and business