Saturday, 10 May 2014

Working with compassion

I moved back to Edinburgh almost four years ago now and I still marvel at what a  wonderful place it is  to live, the history, the beauty, the Botanic gardens, the international buzz, the trams (almost)- oh yes and a Waitrose on the doorstep too!.

The Facebook page "overheard in Waitrose" is a gentle mockery of the type of clientele, with quotes like Darling, do we need parmesan for both houses?” and reflections on its lower price essential range; “you know it’s Waitrose when the brioche are essential”. And an article in the cruelly ironic Daily Mash a few years ago following a fairly damning public health report decried what Scotland really needed was a few more Waitrose. You had to laugh.but actually what I really love about Waitrose is the experience. Yes the quality of the food is excellent ( and ok maybe just a bit on the luxury side) but so are the staff excellent. The same is true of the sister company John Lewis, my favourite department store.

So what makes it stand out? The model of the company is an employee partnership one, and the partners influence the direction of the organisation too. So the profits go back into the hands of all those who created them, a shared benefit from a shared effort, and a love and pride in what they do. Not only does that create a stable and high performing business, a good experience for the customer but it also means those profits are invested right back into the local economies, benefiting everyone. Its a great model and that clearly translates in to a good experience for all.

I was inspired by what I learned about employee partnership models in the TIGERoadshow I was part of this week, here is the TED talk explaining the power of this approach. It left me inspired and also thinking, why aren't more businesses working that way?

The TIGERoadshow ( Trust and Integrity in the Global Economy) by the IofC  had truly inspiring speakers. I had been asked to step in at fairly short notice and agreed as I was already booked to go to the event, so my diary was clear. I planned my talk touching on- and I hope- seeding interest in my as yet unpublished research for Oasis School of Human Relations and also I spoke of my own experience.  My anxiety levels rose as I listened to the other speakers such as Lady Susan Rice and Margaret Hefferman. I realised I may be the only speaker there who didn't have a book or indeed a TED talk! How could I follow them? But I spoke my truth and it seemed to go ok. The day closed with the CEO of FARE describing his own story and work. It was so inspiring and he told the story with eloquence and compassion. 

Indeed storytelling was a theme, the power of stories to change the way we work, the priorities we have, the way we enable the unheard to be heard. It reminded me of the power of  telling your story, whatever it is, as maybe it will help someone be inspired to try something different, or know where to get help or even just simply to know they aren't alone.

Reasons to be mindful.

I'm on a weekend Mindfulness and Compassion Course this weekend. And Im also visiting the lovely Hawkwood college for my gestalt group. Im hoping I will be wiser by this time next week. Wish me luck!
Hawkwood College


  1. What a wonderful way to spend the week. I hope you come back renewed and refreshed x

    1. My head is already bursting! Thanks for commenting. I will share any insights along the way. Ax


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