Dr. Bruno Cignacco, an international business consultant, international speaker and business coach, shared with us his insights into how the COVID-19 might influence organisational behaviour and where compassion stands amid the ongoing health crisis.
What is the core argument of your book?
Business is about relationships. In order to succeed, companies need to nurture their relationships with their main stakeholders, such as suppliers, customers, employees, community members, etc. Nonetheless, there are companies only interested in improving their Key Performance Indicators (e.g. profitability, productivity, efficacy, competitiveness, etc.) This is the wrong business approach because these indicators are always the natural result of the interactions between a company and its main stakeholders. Therefore, when a company adopts a more compassionate and supportive attitude toward its stakeholders, these Key Performance Indicators tend to improve naturally. People, human beings, are the building brick of any business activity, so caring for them always contributes to any company’s business success.
What place does compassion have in a COVID-19 influenced world?
This pandemic has affected all of us and made us more vulnerable, anxious and uncertain. COVID-19 has brought about social distancing but at the same time, it has also prompted people to become more emotionally connected. Compassion implies caring for others in a non-judgemental manner and begetting a stronger connection with them. Nowadays, there are several displays of affection of support and care. Some examples are countless devoted medical professionals continually giving their best for those affected by the virus, companies allowing employees to work flexible hours and from home, and also innumerable businesses and individuals restraining their normal activities during the lockdown for the sake of general wellbeing, among others.
How do you think the pandemic might influence the behaviour of organizations towards their people?
Many organisations have allowed employees to work from home, who remain connected to one another through the use of technology (Zoom, MS team, Adobe connect, etc.) Employees feel supported through profuse use of online training, video conferences events, and other technology. During this pandemic crisis, many companies have also discovered that they can still be productive, effective, and even more flexible when employees are not physically present in the company premises. I think that this trend of remote working will continue even when this pandemic issue is resolved, which might make companies more adaptive to future changing circumstances.
If you were starting a business today, what core principle would you adopt?
If I were starting a business today, a very important value to adopt is appreciation. Gratefulness is a paramount value which enhances all business activities. I would be appreciative of my employees’ contribution to business activities, but I will also be grateful for the assistance received from my suppliers and other business partners. Besides, I will be thankful to my customers for their trust and support of my business by buying my products and services. When a company is appreciative with its stakeholders, it recognises their contribution to business activities, without whom the company will not be able to succeed. Some ways to be more grateful are thank you notes, public recognition through events, and economic incentives, among others.
About the Interviewee
Dr. Bruno Roque Cignacco (PhD) is an international business consultant, international speaker and business coach. For over 20 years, he has advised and trained hundreds of companies on international trade activities and international marketing. He is a university lecturer. He is a Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (HEA – UK). He is also the author of business and personal development books published in different languages. His new book “The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise” (2019, Routledge). Link to the book: www.bit.ly/2MAkr4k His websites are www.humanorientedenterprise.com and www.brunocignacco.com