Culture | Management

How Compassion Can Transform Your Workplace [TED Talk Video]

Natalie Davis

VP of Talent, Co-Creator of IMPACT's Core Values, Vision, and Culture Code

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How Compassion Can Transform Your Workplace [TED Talk Video] Blog Feature

Published on June 29th, 2018

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I’ve always considered myself a generally happy person and, pun not intended, I’m glad.

We talk about this at IMPACT quite a bit; How a person’s mood can really affect the team around them and we take it very seriously.

If there’s something bothering you that’s work-related, talk to the proper person.

If it’s personal, work from home or take some time off. 

Even with this culture, I never considered the fact that you can actually measure someone’s overall happiness.

I just assumed it was determined in the moment; and even if you do notice someone is habitually in a bad mood, I figured it wasn’t something in our power to change... 

However, what if there was a key to happiness that you could actually help improve?

After watching Chade-Meng Tan’s TED Talk, I’ve come to believe that happiness is directly linked to compassion.

Tan talks about Matthieu Ricard, a person who scored off the charts for happiness, and is technically “the happiest man in the world.” (Yes, that’s a thing!)

He states “Matthieu's own experience is that compassion is the happiest state ever” and when he was measured for happiness,  he said he was meditating about compassion.

Watch the video to find out how they measure.

Tan goes on to say treading the story behind Matthieu Ricard was one of the pivotal moments of his life.

But that’s not all.

Tan also dives into how compassion can create a better workplace, better leaders, and overall happier people.

If you haven’t seen this before, check out the video!

What Does Compassion in Business Look Like?

When he started looking for ways that compassion looked like inside a business, he looked no further than the company he worked at, Google.

Taking a closer look at the compassion initiatives at Google, he saw the same pattern:

  1. Googlers take the initiative to do something. (They don’t have to ask for permission so the can just go for it.)
  2. Other employees join in.
  3. The group gets bigger and bigger.
  4. When it gets big enough, it becomes “official.”

He also provides some great examples of this pattern in action, noting that most ideas almost always go from the bottom up.

He says there are three things that initiate compassion in a corporate setting:

  1. A culture of “passionate concern” for the greater good
  2. Autonomy to your team
  3. Focus on inner development and personal growth

At Google, they’ve gone as far as to create a 7-week training on emotion intelligence.

They do this training focusing on three different steps:

  1. Attention Training: The goal is to “train attention to create a quality of mind that is calm and clear at the same time.”
  2. Developing Self-knowledge and Self-mastery: The goal of this step is to come out of this step “being able to observe our thought stream and the process of emotion with high clarity, objectivity, and from a third-person perspective.”
  3. Create New Mental Habits: This goes along with step 2. Once learned, Tan states that it “changes everything at work.”

I’m hoping that this overview as well as watching Tan’s talk will encourage you and your company to make compassion a priority. I know this is something we are always trying to improve at IMPACT.

What are some examples of how you have incorporated compassion into your company? If you haven’t yet, how can you? Let me know in the comments below.

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