Core Value Spotlight: Compassionate Realism

“The Customer Is Always Right!”

This classic line was popularized by Marshall Field so many years ago.  It’s meant as a mindset for customer service teams to give the customer everything they want.  It led to a revolution of how companies catered to customers.  While we understand the idea behind the phrase, in general we disagree

This leads us to Compassionate Realism.

At 12five, we have our own values that we use to guide our actions day in and day out.  On this blog, we have highlighted them before, however we haven’t touched on Compassionate Realism. This is always the one that people ask “What does that mean exactly?”  I thought I would shed some light on its meaning and a few examples of it in practice.

As I mentioned above, in our business, the customer isn't “always right” in the way that the classic axiom suggests.  We provide business owners with the cash their business needs to the thrive. With that comes requests for things that we can’t always say yes to.  There are often situations where we have to have a tough conversation and tell our customer “no” (gasp).

What this core value promises is that we will have real, thoughtful, and sometimes difficult conversations with you.  However, we plan to do that while also being the most compassionate person you speak to that day.  Tough and difficult conversations do not need to be rude, adversarial or nasty.  In fact, if they are coming from someone that can put themselves in the other person’s shoes, then they can be empathetic, compassionate and growth inducing.

Our Commitment is to put the interests of you and your business first.  There are times where this conflicts with the immediate requests of our clients.  Sometimes, it is in the best interest of our clients and their businesses that we not give them exactly what they ask for.  In those moments, Compassionate Realism takes center stage.  It gives us a chance to show empathy and see the situation from our client's point of view.  It gives us an opportunity to feel the stress, pain and frustration that our clients may be feeling.  It then gives us the ability to be realistic and straightforward, while also expressing true compassion.

This is certainly easier said than done.  It’s something that we all struggle to put into action day after day and is probably the hardest of our core values to accomplish.  It is these reasons that make it so important.  If it were easy, everyone would do it.  We think that conversations in any realm of life, be it business or personal, could use a healthy dose of Compassionate Realism.  It allows us to not run away from hard conversations, but rather, embrace them for what they are, while showing compassion along the way.

- Ryan

Ryan JaskiewiczComment