Translating Compassion into Action

In my last blog, inspired by recent events, I wrote about the importance of compassion. Why, as both organizational leaders and members of society, we should strive to understand and empathize with the experience of those who have suffered due to social inequities. Many leaders have done that and are now asking, What can we do to translate compassion into action?
One example: A client asked me about bringing in a speaker or trainer to address diversity and inclusion with his leadership team. My response was that while that was a good first step, he could go further. Why not be inclusive and bring in several speakers and trainers to provide diverse perspectives on diversity and inclusion? And why not go beyond stand-alone presentations or training? I suggested we create a process based on Kirkpatrick’s Four Levels of Training Evaluation: 1) reaction, 2) learning, 3) behavior, and 4) results.
Here’s how it could apply: We could arrange for a workshop on inclusion and then conduct a brief survey to get participants’ reactions. More important, however, is that they retain the core content. What if he told them they would complete a follow-up questionnaire in one week to show what they had learned? More important still is that they apply what was learned. What if he then told them they needed to commit to taking action within 30 days? That learning needed to translate into behavior? Most important of all, of course, is that new behavior produces a desired outcome. What if he told them they would report on the outcomes of their actions, to determine if they had led to results?
To be effective, a presentation or workshop can’t simply be an event. It has to be part of a process.
Compassion is a first step. A presentation or workshop might be a second step. But if we’re going to make a difference, we need to translate compassion into action, and action into results.
Make it happen.
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