When you think of a guy who regularly speaks about leadership, you’d assume that in his own business, things must be great. Working for someone who believes so strongly about leadership must be an amazing career dream.
Globally renowned speaker and author on leadership Simon Sinek admit his own organization has problems. It’s far from perfect. In a recent video, Simon shares his biggest worry when meeting leaders:
The ones [leaders] I’m suspicious of are the ones that go “ I think I know what I’m doing…I think I know.”
Nobody has a monopoly on good ideas, not even famous Ted Talk Speakers who have written about subjects like leadership until their nose bleeds.
During the same interview, Simon shares his approach to solving business problems. He believes strongly that “the problems are all the same.”
Simon’s philosophy: It’s how you solve problems
The Simon Sinek solution to every business problem is to take the human approach. The basis of his approach to solving problems is simple:
Err on the side of patience and empathy.
We hear about customer experience all the time and when you take a closer look, you realize everything to do with a customer has to do with empathy. If you’re empathetic to a customer, you listen and therefore can solve any customer (business) problem.
Empathy is seeing a business problem as a human problem. If you can think about a problem in a human context, you can solve it, in the same way, using Simon’s approach.
Rather than make assumptions, be curious using empathy. Rather than speak for the customer, let them speak for themselves using empathy.
Empathy is obvious when it comes to business. Patience not so much.
The difficult art of patience in business
When you think of solving business problems you probably don’t think of patience. The temptation is to fail fast, move even faster, and innovate like mad because technology is eating the world. “If you don’t innovate, you die,” they say.
This typical approach ignores patience. For humans to solve difficult business problems, you have to be patient with them. Without patience, you miss the point. You jump to conclusions. You think you know everything. But none of us knows anything for sure. We’re all figuring out business as we go.
All I have learned in business is that I know nothing. That fact will stay the same and it’s at the heart of Simon’s approach.
Patience in business looks like a question: “How can we support you to solve the problem?”
Patience in business looks like not killing an idea too soon, but rather, nurturing it.
Patience in business looks like more listening to people and less talking and using your career experience as an excuse for every decision.
I dream of rolling up to a job interview and saying, “I have career experience and I know nothing.”
Career experience is past experience. What happened in the past may not determine the future. It may shine a light on the way forward but without empathy and patience, the path is still blocked and a business problem cannot be solved.
The solution to every business problem — whether you are a famous leadership guru or not — is to take the human approach and use empathy and patience to your advantage.
Without empathy and patience, you’ll take the inhumane approach that demotivates people and messes up company cultures needed to see businesses thrive in uncertain economic times.
Simons says he knows nothing about problems other than taking the human approach. There is incredible wisdom and power in that strategy.
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