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Love everyone?

July 6, 2009

Okay, full disclosure. I love the way Suzy Welch writes. She’s also a friend of a friend and I have met her once at a party (with her husband and former GE CEO, Jack Welch). Suzy and Jack have a column in the June 17 issue of BusinessWeek giving advice to commencement speakers for the class of 2009.

Their advice? Love everyone. You’ve heard me. Love everyone. How un-business is that? I can hear the snickering from here. Must have been Suzy. Jack would not write mushy stuff like that.

Their point? If you’re patient and open enough, everybody will teach you something. If I weren’t afraid of looking like the kid in college who starts his essay with “Shakespeare and I agree that …,” I would think I’ve found a soul mate (or maybe two).

Love – or at least empathy – is the cornerstone of innovation. You can’t innovate if you can’t feel. In our co-creation process, we encourage managers to “spend a day in the life of their customers”. The idea is not so much to break down analytically what customers do, but to get them to feel it. Emotion is the precursor of creation. So yes, love everyone.

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