Why do I care?
“It’s not personal, it’s just business…..”
Running a business is the most personal thing you can do outside of your family life. And especially when it is your own business, that business becomes an extension of yourself. It is always personal. Yet I often come across those who do not believe that caring is part of good business.
Why is caring good for business
To be a true leader requires a level of emotional intelligence. To have emotional intelligence, you need to have the capacity to care about people. Ultimately, if you want to be a true leader in business, you will have caring as part of your values.
In terms of your business, embracing caring as one of its values can impact the type of business you will have. It can drive behaviours that will give your business characteristics that will set it up for success. And what are these characteristics?
Is part of your business about providing a high quality product?
Whether you produce goods or services, measure quality by finish, customer service, constancy, on time delivery or on budget. All businesses aim to provide a product that meets or exceeds expectations.
“A quality product.”
How do you motivate your staff to provide this quality? Is it simply their job and that is what they are expected to do? Is it bonuses or recognition? Is it the threat of losing their job?
And how does this resonate on your values? Is one of your values providing a quality product, but you have to use the “carrot and stick” approach to get your staff to deliver it?
Whenever I have received a true quality product, it is because it has been delivered by someone who cares. Be that a waiter at a table, a tradesman at my house or a new pair of shoes. I believe that an essential part to delivering quality is to care about what you are doing.
To care means going that extra mile, not cutting corners and doing what is needed. It is embedded in the behaviour, the values of the individual. By extension, if an organisation wants their employees to be motivated to deliver quality, the best motivation is to want them to care.
And how do you get your employees to care. Most of what you need to do is give them permission to care. Just let them and they will.
A business that has caring as one of its values is more likely to deliver a quality product than one that doesn’t care.
Another aspect business should drive for is an ability to come up with creative solutions.
“To have ingenuity.”
To do this, businesses spend money on funky office layouts, employee retreats, and often some kind of financial incentive. Businesses that can come up with out of the box thinking have a greater chance to succeed. Therefore, it is in their best interests to motivate this type of thinking.
Yet, when faced with business decisions they approach it with objectivity and hard facts only. Leaving no room for the personal aspects of the decision making process.
For example, in the case of a business downturn you may have to look at laying staff off. It is a situation like this where you are taught to have a level of detachment as it makes the process easier, and often feeling clinical.
What if you came to this same situation with a level of care? And more importantly allowed yourself to care. Your first response wouldn’t be how do we minimise costs in laying people off. You care about the impact this will have on people’s lives and careers. So you would ask another question….is there another way?
Right there is the creation of the room for ingenuity to happen. Caring enough to ask one more question, to see if there is one more option not yet considered. No matter how crazy. Because you care.
One of the strongest motivators for ingenuity is caring about the outcome. Asking, is there a better way and be willing to always ask one more question.
A business that has caring as one of its values has more opportunity for ingenuity than one that doesn’t care.
Why do I care?
“I care because that is who I am.”
It is also my belief that to be a true leader in whatever you do, one of the qualities you need is to have the ability to care.
And for business, the importance of quality and ingenuity is only increasing. Both of these characteristics of business can be derived from having caring as one of your core values.
Caring is both the right thing to do ethically and it provides your business with an edge over the competition.
The chance to make it, where others fail.
Because you care.
About the Author
Justin Hogg is the founder of Right Source. He is passionate about driving change in the expectation of what an Accountant is and does, and at the same time raise the bar on what we expect of and from Accountants.
He is an advocate for strong corporate governance, keeping solutions simple and most importantly bringing people together in highly effective teams.
Justin is a Member of CPA Australia and a Fellow of the Governance Institute of Australia.