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Since corporations were formed, businesses always relied on analytical decision-making. Large corporations were able to create their own ecosystem, shaping their world at will. In this world, being smart was enough. But these walled garden are gone. And the world outside doesn’t follow the rules the corporations used to force on us. This created a severe alienation between people and companies/institution. And leaves many corporations craving for the old world order and fearing the future.

There’s nothing to fear. Actually, there’s a lot to look forward to. To an era where emotional skills will be paired with analytical skills. New MBAs already learn to focus more on “self-awareness and the capacity for introspection and empathy.” I would argue, empathy will be the key differentiator for successful institutions. And lack thereof their downfall.

Empathy will provide you with insightful knowledge of the world outside of your walled garden. Spock never was able to get the full ‘human experience’, just like many managers who are trapped by their own analytical skills. Empathy allows you to experience the world and analyze data outside of your own life experience. It helps you to develop innovative strategic and tactical opportunities. That’s what real Enterprise 2.0 is about: focusing on the strengths of the right brain, understanding patterns, argue holistically and interpret emotions. When we have all the analytical technologies and skills as a foundation and layer right-brain capabilities on top of it to deliver real value. Suddenly things make sense. Empathy helps us to transform enterprises by our new-found ability to see the big picture and take collaboration to a new level.

Empathy and collaboration are fellow partners. Both are closely linked because they require to focus less on self and more on the outside. People who have the ability to see world through someone else’s eyes are much more likely to share information with others. They understand how their work is linked to that of other people, understand the necessity to overcome of silos. Too many E2.0 experts base their opinion of collaboration on technologies and the obvious benefits for organizations.

Real collaboration is not reactive. Real collaboration is pro-active. Focusing on the needs of others before they can express them.

Not “I just got this information request, I should answer.” Instead, “I should share this information because it might benefit XY and her project.”

Not “A customer complains, I need to resolve this situation.” Instead, “My customer needs are changing and I have to change my products/services to accommodate them.”

We have to understand collaboration becomes more effective when it’s based on human interaction and relationships. When we have a comfort level with another person, see them as a human, not a resource, collaboration is an organic outcome. Technologies help us to organize and calibrate the collaboration efforts. Empathy helps us build trusting relationships and deliver ROI in the value chain. Empathy is critical for E2.0 organization to harvest the benefits of collaboration and co-creation.