There is ample evidence to support the idea that companies whose leaders create a culture of caring and compassion actually make more money. Here's how.

I’ve noticed an encouraging trend in the world of business. Organizations are making an effort to become more conscious, self-aware, caring, and loving. The result is healthier, happier, more productive employees. This is good news for all of us. Let me explain.

Not many years ago, if you or I mentioned the word “love” in relation to business, we were marginalized or dismissed as crazy. If we suggested compassion or caring as a business strategy, we were laughed out of the room. Trust me! I speak from experience.

Historically, the foundation on which business strategy has been built consists of the following tenets:

  • The business world is cutthroat.
  • Business is a limited sum game — to win, someone has to lose.
  • Competing with and outperforming your teammates gets you promoted.

Even today, most marketing strategies are built around scarcity. “Limited time offers” or “Get it while it lasts” are the norm. We’re driven to make hasty decisions in fear of losing out.

“Love is for wimps. If you want to succeed, you can’t be soft. The toughest, most hardcore competitors become the leaders in their industries.”

But the world is changing…

Early in the 21st century, the world went global and digital. People and businesses started connecting virtually and at breakneck speed. Technology has been advancing so quickly that what used to take years, months, or days, now takes minutes, seconds, or nanoseconds.

I first joined the corporate world as a data scientist for a small credit card bank in the early 90s. Prior to that, I had been an entrepreneur, Earth mom, and spiritual seeker. My husband’s health was suffering. So I took a corporate position to support my family. The culture was so fear-based that I thought I had landed on a different planet. I really wanted to connect with people, but it didn’t feel safe.

My statistical work was groundbreaking, so my career advanced quickly. Over the next few years, I worked for several different credit card banks. I noticed quite a difference in cultures between banks. I even survived a few mergers where leadership kept everyone else in the dark about our status in the new company. It was disastrous to the bottom line. But no one seemed to care. The banks where management seemed to care about our wellbeing had much higher employee engagement and productivity.

Over the next few years, I saw this scenario play out again and again. I noticed that companies who really seemed to care about their employees were more successful. As a data scientist, I wanted to see if my theory translated into higher profits. So I dug into the data. To my delight, I found ample evidence that companies whose leaders create a culture of caring and compassion actually make more money. I share the results of my research in “LOVE@WORK, The Essential Guide to a Life of Inspired Purpose” (2018, Quantum Love Press).

After setting out to understand how to create corporate cultures based on love, I have figured out a few requirements.

Conscious workplace cultures demand audacious leadership.

In these times of economic and global volatility, success demands audacious leadership. And given the level of complexity and specialization, we are all leaders now. We may not manage a team, but we have to think of ourselves as thought leaders because what we do may not be well understood by others. We must understand the impact of our work on the entire organization.

Audacious leadership is only possible if we each connect to our hearts. Through this connection, we exhibit more compassion, caring, and vulnerability. The result is greater trust, which enables deep connection to our teammates and fuels collaboration and innovation. Our heart connection also gives us greater access to our intuition and creative genius.

Conscious workplace cultures demand conscious humans.

In today’s economy we, as human capital, are our company’s greatest asset. So for a conscious culture to succeed, each of us must become conscious. Some key aspects of being conscious are self-awareness and self-confidence or self-love. This presents a huge challenge for many fear-based organizations who want to thrive going forward.

Company culture starts at the top. So not only will the leaders have to become more conscious,  they will have to support the conscious growth of each of their employees. Given the immense size of some corporations, this could have positive effects across the entire planet. Count me in!

Olivia Parr-Rud

Olivia Parr-Rud is an international best-selling and award-winning author, thought leader, and data scientist. Her unique approach to business success draws on her passion for data science, holistic leadership, and personal growth using quantitative and qualitative research. Her latest book, “Love@Work: The Essential Guide to a Life of Inspired Purpose“, unveils the relationship between loving behavior (i.e. compassion, connection, and caring), long-term corporate profits, and personal happiness.

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