Of Another Wed, Jul 29, 2015
The ability to understand and share the feelings of another.
It’s easy to dismiss a focus on empathy as being touchy-feely or impractical. Today’s business world stresses that you should be a Machiavellian personality who ruthlessly exploits every person and resource you can get your hands on. Personal feelings aren’t quantifiable. They don’t have a dollar value. Nevertheless, empathy is one of the most important skills for a business person, as well as a person in general, to have.
For example, the main reason that Google defeated some of its older, more established competitors - like Lycos and Altavista - was because it focused on what users wanted. What’s that? You’ve never heard of Lycos or Altavista? Yeah, kind of my point. Whereas these other search engines focused on a raw number of results, Google focused on relevancy and context. That meant creating an algorithm that was smart enough to anticipate a searcher’s intent when they used the engine. Nowadays, we take Google’s search strategy for granted.
Don’t fall into the common trap of making assumptions about what other people want and feel based on your own prejudices! Making a conscious effort to be considerate of others can be difficult (and annoying!), but it yields great rewards.