When you start working at Thinkific, one of your first projects is to build a course using the platform.
Having just spent almost four years immersing myself in #startuplife at Unbounce, I took the opportunity to record the big lessons I learned as best I could.
I’ll be sharing most of the content from that course over the coming month, but you can sign up for the whole thing now if you’d like: Actionable Lessons From a High-Growth Startup »
Let’s kick things off with the first of many lessons about empathy:
Empathy is Everything
What do you look for when you hire someone?
Hustle? Smarts? Sticktoitiveness?
The number one trait I’ve seen as an indicator for success in startup life is empathy. The simple ability to understand why another human being would come to a conclusion (that might be different to yours) is so much rarer than it might seem.
In a world that seems increasingly polarizing, people who are able to empathize across the spectrum are able to:
- Work through adversity;
- Find consensus; and
- Make thorough, objective business decisions.
But it’s not just about natural abilities. Organizations need to be built around helping co-workers empathize with each other, and their customers. This includes reporting structures, communications tools, and accountability mechanisms (which should empower decision makers but ensure that part of their process is to build enough context that those affected by the decision have empathy for the person who made it).
This brings me to an important life lesson — the difference between the golden rule and the platinum rule.
When I was growing up they pushed the golden rule pretty hard (although maybe that was attending Catholic school, who knows). It seems good enough, right?
Actually, it’s not great. It’s a bit like level one listening.
Treating someone how YOU would like to be treated still focusses on you, rather than them.
Enter THE PLATINUM RULE:
The platinum rule captures the real empathy we should try to imbue all interactions with. It requires a greater time investment, but the outcomes are exponentially greater.
On a personal note, one of the reasons I’m so drawn to Product Marketing is that I see it as a huge opportunity to grow empathy between Product, Customer Success, & Marketing.
This post is the first in a series on Actionable Lessons From a High-Growth Startup »