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A Call for Empathetic Execs

November 15, 2010
by anonymous
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Business leaders should occasionally walk in the shoes of their customers

What's good for your business depends on how well its employees know and understand its customers, culture pioneer Dev Patnaik, told attendees at the Healthcare Design 2010 conference in Las Vegas. CEO of Jump Associates and author of "Wired to Care: How Companies Prosper When They Create Widespread Empathy" recommended business leaders walk in the shoes of their customers to understand—to empathize with them.

Along with creativity and execution, empathy comprises the three essential elements necessary to build a successful business and connect with customers, said Patmaik. Most companies focus on creative strategies and have a plan to execute those strategies, few really understand their customers well enough to be able to deliver products or services they most want.

For healthcare organizations, this should be really, really easy. Every single person who works in healthcare is a patient at one time or another. To achieve this, said Patnaik, executives and employees must step out of routines and privileged shortcuts and experience the system as ordinary people do.

The payoff, Patnaik says, is insight and understanding of the customer experience—and a distinct competitive advantage.

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