If you are an entrepreneur or are in a leadership position inside a larger organization, at some point in your career you will initiate a strategy that requires you and your team to change how you’re operating. Specifically, entrepreneurs can fall behind their competition because of a delayed response to change, or their ideas of what to change were faulty. Often a decision made on a course of change, is not properly addressed in terms of managing clients, partners or employee’s feelings or aversion to change. Not addressing those individuals’ real concerns can lead to resistance, which leads to non-action. Being unengaged with your work associates and clients’ feelings does not create better thinking, and it does not create better customer outcomes. If you want to better predict what your customers’ needs will be — spend more time getting to know their motivations and less time expanding the tabs in your company’s spreadsheets. To close the gap between your goals and potential client’s wants and needs requires you to further develop the skill set of empathy.
Empathy: the ability to identify with and understand another’s situation, feelings and motives. What challenges are others having and how is it affecting them personally and in their work habits? How would you feel or handle their situation? What is the best way to offer support and suggest actionable steps?
Using this definition of empathy, it is clear there is an unfortunate lack of empathy in the majority of our government and educational institutions, businesses and the personal interactions we have every day. Doctors, teachers and sales people who are more empathetic have all demonstrated greater success in their occupations. They have patients who recover faster, students who perform better on tests and receive more repeat business and referrals for their business. If you own a real estate company, you will perform better as a recruiter and coach to your agents if you are more empathetic to their needs.
Using data as opposed to connecting to an individual’s personal motivations and fears is nothing new. We have been bored by excessive charts and graphs for some time. Yes, it is important to know your numbers and where your customer comes from, but if you want to successfully implement change, you are much better off working on showing empathy towards your team than showing them charts.
A prime example of overusing data to implement change was during the 1992 Presidential election. Ross Perot was the third party candidate who spent a great deal of money to gain an audience only to provide them with too much information at one point in time. You can relate his approach to the modern business meeting with PowerPoint presentations that have an overwhelming amount of data. I am not certain whether his charts and their predictions were right or wrong. What I am certain, is that the majority of people did not connect with the information and charts he was presenting. The election that year was won by a candidate with a slogan that was simple and to the point. Change in the economy was wanted and every candidate made this their primary focus, but only one message resonated with the majority of voters. What will your message be to your company on how to execute a new strategy of growth?
The idea of building empathy to properly implement change is not only for large corporations and government bureaucracies. If you are self-employed in a business, such as real estate, and you want to grow your income, the idea of implementing empathy will hold true for you. You are going to need to invest more time and money to develop a larger client list. Most real estate professionals have someone in their life who will want to know what will be spent in order to grow your business. How might your family feel about you working more hours each week or how the business change will affect their overall responsibilities to your household? Show them a chart about your potential income growth and you will probably receive reluctance. Show them a picture of a beach house you can own together and how they would feel about making sacrifices to obtain that, and you will most likely have a partner on your side.
Next time you are faced with implementing change in your business, with your customers or in your personal life, try to empathize with your employees, clients or family members on how they feel. After you do this, then you can demonstrate your proficiency in Excel and PowerPoint.
Want to learn more about how to discover what truly drives your motivation to succeed and positon yourself for abundant success in 2018? Please contact your broker about joining us at one of United’s national business planning sessions that will be held on November 9, 16 and 28. Together, we will build a plan that is more than a spreadsheet, and one that takes into account the changing consumer preferences. If you can get to the “heart” of what matters to you and your clients, you can enter 2018 with a plan that will inspire you to take the steps needed every day to be successful in effectively helping more clients and reaching your annual income goal.
A dream is a goal with a deadline. I look forward to helping each of you create the lifestyle you desire from the entrepreneurial opportunity that exists in working for United Real Estate.