Why Your Compassion is Bad For Your Business

As you probably know if you are a loyal reader, there is definitely a point behind the headline.  So keep reading…

One thing that I hear from client after client is that they are TIRED:

– Tired of working all day, every day for what seems like little reward (this may shock you, but some business owners are not even paying THEMSELVES);

– Tired of dealing with employees who seem “unmanageable,” as the employees do not do what they say they will do or follow instructions;

– And Tired of hiring what they THOUGHT were good employees, only to have these employees seem to be different people once they get hired.

Why does this happen?

Unfortunately, it often comes from what I call “misplaced compassion.”

Let me give you a simple example.

A client of mine had a Sales Manager whose performance was, to put it mildly, below expectations.    This person would often show up late, giving different excuses all of the time.  The Manager could not account for his time; and he had not sold anything on his own in months.  When we tried to put some accountability measures in place, the Manager would ignore deadlines and give incomplete reports.

When I pointed out the facts about this lack of production; the business owner said that he felt like he needed to be compassionate.  After all, this employee had a family, a lot of debt, and counted on the paycheck.

Here’s the problem:  the owner has others who depend on the business.  People like his family; other employees; some charities he supports.

So, by trying to be “compassionate” to this employee; he was actually being CALLOUS to so many others.  This is just one example of many similar stories we have handled (how many times have YOU had an employee or co-worker who seemed like it would be a common-sense move to fire; but kept working..often “poisoning” the environment of those who WERE trying to be a part of the team).

As a business leader, compassion is not you being “soft” and giving uncommitted employees chance after chance, even as they continue to ignore commitments.  REAL compassion is building a business that supports you and those who depend on you, while delivering to your prospects the product/service you have that they truly need.  To do this, you must:

– Put in place a structured process to make sure that you hire the RIGHT employees; a process which involves specific interviewing techniques AND behavioral/motivation profiling;

– Set and commit to performance standards and expectations from the beginning, and then pay people for meeting and exceeding those standards (not just for working);

– Be willing to make a change with employees who are not willing (or able) to contribute their fair share to the team’s performance.

Does this mean you never give people second chances?  Absolutely not.  Everyone makes mistakes.  But, when you find employees who are uncommitted, unmotivated, unwilling, or unable to be a part of your team; you must do at least one of the following SOONER rather than later:

1.  Retrain/mentor them, setting specific goals and deadlines to measure progress;

2.  Move them to a more suitable opportunity within the organization; which would more closely fit their skills and motivations;

3.  Request that they move to a more suitable opportunity OUTSIDE the organization.

THAT is how you show TRUE Compassion to people who depend on you.


Besides helping business owners create a business that works on its own, without enormous time and stress from the owner; we work with clients to create unique strategies and tactics that help them profitably increase their share of their target market.

More Sales + More Profits + More Free Time = VERY HAPPY and RELAXED Business Owner.  Last year, for example, a client of mine was able to sell his house, move to his vacation home, and still increase his business by 40%+.

Be ready to have your business TRANSFORMED to True Greatness. Click here and schedule a free 15 minute Strategy Call; where you will get at least 2 new ideas for your business, and we will see if you are ready for the next step.

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  • Fred McMurray  On February 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Great post. I was just having this same conversation with the CEO of my company.

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