Dr. Bruno Cignacco’s latest book – entitled, The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise – is one of the only textbooks about the importance of love at work. He chats with Kevin Monroe about the book and why love is good for business.
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Kevin says that he was surprised that Bruno’s book is a textbook. Bruno responds that it’s both an entrepreneurial book and a textbook, about how companies can be more humane in the business environment. His research goal was to gather some principles about human-oriented enterprises that could be applied to any company, regardless of size, sector or nationality.
Love Is Good For Business
At the heart of compassionate business, Bruno says, is the principle of love. Business is based on relationships, so if you only focus on KPIs, you’re dismissing an important part of your business activity: the human aspect. If your business treats stakeholders – employees, customers, community, even the government – in a loving way, your KPIs will improve automatically as they are a natural result of a healthy relationship between your company and its stakeholders. He is gratified that there is a new generation of businesses that adopt a human-oriented approach.
Holistic vs Fragmented
Kevin quotes Bob Chapman’s book, Everybody Matters, to point out that employees would give their best if they are respected and cared for. Bruno agrees that leaders need to see their employees as whole human beings with different needs. He says that the principle of reciprocity suggests that how you treat your employees influences the way they treat your business. If you adopt the fragmented approach, where you only see them as cogs in your organizational wheel, they would take a defensive mode, and only do the minimum. However, treating employees in a loving way by embracing their humanity, encourages them to give their best.
A Definition of Love
Bruno says that there are two incompatible polarities in business: love and fear. Some workplaces are full of fear, while others operate through love. When you’re focused on love, you connect with others, you feel that you belong, and you’re warmer, kinder and more supportive. Love is much broader than romance, Bruno points out. It includes care, empathy, respectfulness and willingness to help. Love people because they are human, he says, because we’re all interconnected. Kevin mentions that there are over 30 definitions of love in Bruno’s book. He asks Bruno which is his favorite. Bruno replies that he likes the definition of love as service to others.
Love vs Fear
“Love is the natural heightener of people’s human qualities,” Bruno writes in his book, a quote which Kevin shares. “In other words, when people adopt a loving attitude, their positive human side is gracefully enhanced. On the other side, when people adopt an unloving attitude, even their greatest human qualities are degraded.” Love is always expansive, Bruno adds: it helps us to connect with and trust one another; it helps us cooperate better and think more creatively; it makes us more intelligent. Fear, on the other hand, makes us focus only on a narrow set of factors when we perceive a threat. It is immobilizing and does not bring about any positive change within a company.
Bruno offers some practical tips for leaders to build a loving environment. He hopes that love and the idea of embracing the whole human being in the world of work, become common practice. Focus on growing your relationships, and your business will naturally flourish, he advises. When you focus on the people, they will help you achieve your objectives.
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