How to Build a Culture of Compassion

July 2, 2021 Business related, Empathy - Compassion, Sociocultural Issues No Comments

Challenging indeed ― especially in an organizational environment with zero compassion and a lot of fear and toxicity. Some AURELIS-congruent ideas may be helpful.

Please read first, [see: “Compassion, basically“].

No coercion

One might be tempted to impose some Compassionate rules and quickly get on with the real business. In my view, this is not a Compassionate attitude from the start on and will not lead to satisfactory success.

We need something more sophisticated.

Knowing before changing from the inside

Unless being coerced, people – and cultures – do not change from the outside. They only temporarily take a different attitude and may rebound with an overshoot, sooner or later. Since that is not what you want, you need to look at the inside-option.

For this, you need to know the existing culture. Where does it profoundly come from? What are the deeper grounds? What may be the end values?

Note that end values are not concrete ones. If you only see these, then you need to dig deeper. That’s your responsibility. You want to change a culture for the better. That’s something! You should know this is difficult. You know it’s a lot of hard work.

This first part is already a lot of hard work, but it may be gratifying. Knowing the culture in-depth, you better see where and how it can be opened towards Compassionate change. Since people are people everywhere, there are opportunities everywhere. It may take courage to keep searching.

AURELIS-coaching – even learning to coach for yourself – can support this (continual) effort.


‘Empathy beyond the conceptual’ is a straight line towards Compassion. [see: “Empathy ‘Beyond the Conceptual’“] So, you can start with bringing empathy. [see: “Landscape of Empathy“] That may be an easier sell to the management. If you find leadership, better even sell it there.

Please remain open to the beyond. A crucial problem with empathy-before-beyond is that it may be a slick slope. You get somewhere on the slope, excited about your accomplishment, go somewhere else, return and notice that everybody is back where it started. That’s a double pity because from here on, also your sell will be harder. The people on the floor are disappointed. Management makes its point.

Compassion may be more difficult, more effective, and more durable than straightforward empathy.

But indeed, it may be a harder sell at the start. So, it’s up to you.

Compassion breeds Compassion.

Yes, your Compassion. Note that it’s far from playing Mr. Nice Guy, far from merely being friendly even if the friendliness is genuine.

In my view, you cannot change a culture into something that you do not personify. Consciously and non-consciously, people look at you as a change-bringer for an example of what they are supposed to do. If you cannot show it, they will not feel able to follow your talking. If they do not feel this ability, they will not move.

And that’s precisely the point of Compassion

like an overflowing bucket. Your personal growth is crucial in all this. [see: “No Compassion without Growth“]

Fortunately, your endeavors to change (the culture) give you ample opportunity for growth. Indeed, not easy, challenging at times, probably hurtful now and then. The impression of no-success may be the most crucial gift you get towards your growth process. Since a lot depends on the latter, no-success may be precisely what is needed to succeed later on.

This is one of the paradoxes you need to live by. Please, keep on striving. [see: “Not the Winning, but the Striving“]

Staying open for big changes

You may not see an opportunity for big changes within your organization right away. It’s important then to proceed with what is possible in a small way, maybe in a small environment.

But it’s equally important to remain open to big changes if the opportunity passes your doorstep. What you did before may be seen as necessary exercises. Again: your personal growth is crucial. With an open door, you can invite the precious guest. A miracle might happen.

Of course, this text is too short.

There’s a lot more to say. On the other hand, it may be better to get a few things right before taking more hay on the fork.

So, I wish you some no-success, a lot of growth, and much ensuing success.

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