January 2011
Business as a Practice of Presence

What if we think about business as a way of caring for the world, and for our fellow human beings?

I have grown to see business as a practice of presence – how we want to be in relationship with our company’s clients. This is where we start. We start with caring about our customers, and their experience. Empathy is at the heart of our business. Caring for someone includes offering them what you think is best for them – that will most deeply answer their needs.

A few qualifications here. Caring does not mean “giving in” all the time. Caring for a customer doesn’t mean we give them everything they want, especially if what they want does not seem fair or reasonable or right. I am not an advocate of “the customer is always right.” No one side is “always right” in any real relationship.

This has led in some instances to customers decreeing they will never work with us again. I can grant that. We can’t be right for everyone. But I gently remind them that as much as I protect our clients, I have to protect our company to guarantee that we remain vital … so we will be here for the disgruntled client “to not do business with us!”

Giving someone everything he or she wants is not caring for him. It’s placating him.