S2E30 - Amanda Weeks, CEO and Cofounder of Ambrossia, Creator of Veles

Meet Amanda Weeks creator of Veles, the world’s first closed-loop and resource-negative multi-purpose cleaner. Amanda is the CEO and cofounder of Ambrosia, a New York-based company that combines waste management with closed-loop manufacturing for a sustainable future. Their first product Veles is an all-purpose household cleaner composed of water and common organic chemical compounds scientifically derived from food waste.

 In this podcast, we explore the fascinating approach taken by Amanda to make waste management more socially and environmentally sustainable.

Highlights:

  • What lead Amanda to choose to address the cleaning products category.
  • History of Ambrosia and their new multi purpose cleaning product Veles.
  • The world needs to utilize food waste in a more effective way. There is a massive opportunity to utilise food waste in a manufacturing  environment.
  • There are 45 trillion gallons of water contained in a year’s worth of food waste and food waste is the largest single contributor to landfill.
  • Cutting supply chains can reduce carbon footprint.
  • The need to sell not just a message but a product that actually works.
  • Countries employ different waste management strategies, therefore, businesses should tailor the message on packaging accordingly
  • Aluminium is the most robust product in terms of circularity as a packaging material, it can be back on the shelves within two months after it is recycled. 

Useful links:

Ambrosia

Veles

Listen to more podcasts here.

Transcript

[0:08] Will: Welcome back to the Green Element Podcast, where we feature business leaders and innovators transforming their operations to be more environmentally and socially sustainable. I’m your host, Will Richardson, and I can’t wait to meet our guest today and help you on your journey of sustainability. Today we’ve got Dr. Bruno on and he is discussing his book The Art of Compassionate Business. He brings love into the equation and who better to bring love into the equation than an Italian academic, the country of love. It’s a fascinating conversation, really understanding and listening to Dr. Bruno on his insights and learnings as a consultant and academic in the area of social purpose driven business. So, can’t wait for this episode!

[1:08] Will: Welcome to the Green Element Podcast. Bruno, thank you so much for coming. Now, Dr. Cugnacco, you’ve written a really, really good book and I’ll let you go on to describe the book and what it is that it’s about, but you’re giving us a roadmap on how to grow our business from all aspects, in a purpose driven and social purpose driven way. And so, yeah, please explain your book and all about it please. 

[1:36] Dr. Bruno: Thank you very much. Thank you for your invite, for the sub, thank you for taking me on board on this podcast. I want to comment briefly about my experience, the book. I’m Dr. Bruno Cugnacco, I’m a university lecturer, business advisor and also a researcher on especially on international marketing and also social marketing. This book that we will talk about this it titled The Art of Compassionate Business: Main Principles for the Human-Oriented Enterprise, it’s the result of three year research on social enterprise and it’s a very interesting book and I encourage readers to have a look through this. And very important, what I talk about in the book is about how companies can approach business in a much more compassionate way, in a much more caring way, in a much more powerful way. And also, at the same time, connect with different stakeholders, stakeholders are individuals in an organization with interest in our organization, our company, in a much more meaningful way. 

[2:35] Dr. Bruno: So, we’re talking about purpose driven companies, we’re talking about companies that have an attitude of generosity, companies that are also grateful with different stakeholders, and we’re talking about companies that obviously, approach business environment from an abundance mindset perspective. So, we will talk about, many people do not relate love and business, however, I want to commend that they’re very work related, love, many people relate love to romantic love, for example, love to close partner of a, for example, relative or friend. But it is more than this, many authors, humanistic authors say the love include some aspect like care, support, compassion, generosity, concern for others and also empathy. And this is very important because most of the companies are profit driven. This means that they look for the key performance indicators that are profitability, efficiency, competitiveness, but they don’t take into account, the concept of love, because this concept feels like an alien to these companies. 

[3:46] Dr. Bruno: However, we have to understand that all business activities are developed in a business concept, in a business context. And I want to say that in this business context, companies relate to different stakeholders, stakeholders are fundamental because all companies are interdependent with suppliers, employees, customers, and also they’re interdependent with, obviously, the community itself, the government and companies cannot grow without stakeholders with good relationship with the stakeholders. So, this means that when we knowledge this relationship with the stakeholders, this mean that we are more loving towards customers, more caring towards employees, and more communicative door, for example, suppliers. These relationships are mutually beneficial and have a long-term orientation on the business activity when this relationship and knowledge tend to naturally grow, by default. We can say that most companies should focus on relationship with these stakeholders, internal and external instead of focusing so much on for example, profit and revenue. 

[4:59] Dr. Bruno: Profit and revenue are important for company survival and also company thriving, but at the same time, you have to understand this interdependence with other stakeholders. No company is acting in a vacuum, no company acting on their own. No company, as I will say, is an island, the service is connected to community, customer supplier and so on. So, very important, because some people relate love to this limited concept. Now, let’s give an example of love applied to business environment. For example, we have a lot of employees that are very committed and the 05:37 [inaudible], so, because they want to support the company with these objectives. However, these employees are over working but they’re not being comply fairly by this company, for example, even sent a thank you letter or for example, these employees are not even getting a special note or certificate for achievements. For example, sales and profit or for example, his employees are not given any bonuses. So, in practice, companies are not being generous with employees and as a consequence of this, his company will have the employees against this company, so they won’t be on their side. 

[6:17] Dr. Bruno: So, what I want to comment is that companies should notice relationship with stakeholders, including customer, what is acceptable customer that always give me my jobs, customers are always feeling in many cases manipulated. For example, some companies try to hide the fine print in their contracts, some companies try to call customer in a very unsolicited way, some companies try to offer the best product that is the best for the company instead of the best for the customer, they feel deceived and as a consequence of this, customers tend to be pushed away. We have to understand that most of the profit of the company comes from customers, the profit doesn’t come from the sky, they don’t come from the air. They come from specific people that are paying for these goods and services. So, you will not notice this relationship with customer, what will happened is that this customer will switch from our company to competitors. 

[7:18] Dr. Bruno: And we have to understand that customers also, do not only switch but will give negative reviews online. They won’t suggest that other friends would go to our company but would suggest other companies instead of ours. So, I want to comment that it’s very important to take into whatever community, I know that we’re talking about green business community, communities should be nourished on a continuous basis, not only from the perspective of corporate social responsibility. That is very good, however, many companies use corporate social responsibility for approach to clean up their image. Relationship with the community should be on a continuous basis. For example, connecting with local authority’s council or for example, government agencies to see what are the needs of this community, also when making big decisions, for example, opening a new branch, is this affecting negatively, the social environment in the community? Can we, for example, get a consensus with the community so that we can agree on a way to expand our business in a mutually profitable way, profitable for the company, but also beneficial for the community. 

[8:30] Dr. Bruno: So, community sources should be knowledge and also, we see some companies that are careless with the environment, where there is a concept that is called triple bottom line. This means we have to get profit; we have to care for people, and we have to care for the planet. What this means, that this not only, profit will be the basic of any company, any company can do this if they have a good business plan. However, in a counter intuitive way, not many countries will achieve this objective if they are not caring for people, because we saw people as stakeholders, an organization are composed of people. So, at the end, the basic factor of business is people. And also, planet, where we can see that many companies are depleting the natural resources they’re using. They’re using what we call a windowsill strategy, delegating the gains from the environment using the resources in a very uncaring way, at the same time, they’re not giving anything back. They’re using resources and they’re not renewable and using energy sources that are not the best one, the most, green ones. So, very important and this is my brief introduction to this topic. I’m not sure if you want to ask another question. 

[9:46] Will: Yeah, that’s really interesting to hear and understand what it is that you explore within the book. What I would like to understand is, what took you into this, like what brought you into it? Because we are seeing many more organizations understand the triple bottom line. I mean, we’ve seen the B Corp movements, massively increasing around the world. And it’s not necessarily just B Corp movement, it’s also corporate responsibility and purpose driven businesses as a whole. In the UK, we’ve got Planet Mark, we’ve got B Corp and lots of companies that aren’t actually certifying themselves to any particular standard, they are just doing good and it is all about people, purpose, planets. So, what brought you into this and how is it that you ended up writing about a subject like this? 

[10:39] Dr. Bruno: Yes, thank you for your question, a very interesting question. What brought me is that obviously, I’ve had been lecturing many business models on under every label and private label for a long time and also advising hundreds of companies on, especially on international marketing. And what I’ve saw that many entrepreneurs and also many business folk, famous ones are in business from a strategic perspective and tactical perspective using this concept, strategy tactic. I’m not saying that planning is wrong, but this is our concept that are based on military theory, strategy tactics, defeating competitors, retaining customers also, keeping them. And what I have said that all these vocabularies, all these terms are not appropriate for a newer generation of business that are coming out, obviously very slowly. But obviously, you gave some example, very good example, another company who can say that Toms, the shoe manufacturer, or we can say Wholefoods, the obviously the iconic food company, they are taking the lead.

[11:45] Dr. Bruno: But in practice, there is a concept in business that is based on fear. And this is very important because here we’re talking about compassionate business. And many authors, especially spiritual authority in the world in the eastern world, said that the opposite to love is fear. What do we mean? That when you feel fear, you are in a freeze fight flight mode, this means that you tend to focus on the threat, perceived threat or the real threat. For example, if the company is losing market share, this will be a threat, the company people might tend to focus on the threat. However, this approach, that is based on fear, the freeze flight approach is the opposite to have. So, in practice, when companies are focusing on threats, their cognitive excuse, how they think is narrow down, they kind of become creative, they become reactive, they cannot be productive. This is, you see, many of the business who talk about this, the strategic approaches and how to build competitor, how to entrench in a specific market, all these studies underline for this concept, you can see that there is a factor of fear.

[12:59] Dr. Bruno: However, you see the concept of competition itself, competition you say, this is a win or lose game. So, this means that you have to beat other companies to get, so, this is also based on a concept of scarcity, however it would talk about cooperation. There are many examples of cooperation, competition and cooperation. So, cooperation means that you are developing a mutually profitable partnership, even with companies of your same sector. You’re trying to share resources, you try to, in some cases, cut costs or share information and also and this competitive style can be also developed with customer, can be developed with employees, can be developed with the community. But what I said also that businesses proceed from a very fragmented perspective. This is also one of the aspects because I believe in systemic approach. 

[13:49] Dr. Bruno: What is a systemic approach? Systemic approach system is a set of components interrelated. So, this means that the company is always relating to other companies, to the community, to the wall as a whole. If a company believe that they’re on their own, by default, they will tend to use a will-lose strategy, they will deplete the environment, getting all the resources and obviously at the same time, the planet will get depleted. So, the resources that are not renewable, kind of get back. So, interdependence is a concept that we have to bear in mind and also love, what is the aspect of love that are so important. Lab research stated this, when people have a loving attitude towards others, this releases oxytocin, oxytocin is a hormone that is released by the brain, that obviously, create  longingness, create connection, create bonding, create trust, so, very important.

[14:50] Dr. Bruno: And also, creating a loving attitude and when you have a loving attitude towards others, your thoughts are expanded, you tend to become more creative. The opposite what happened when you’re focused on ferret or fear or any factor that could be affecting this company in a negative way. So, what I’m saying is that companies should adopt a loving attitude, not only to nourish their relationship with stakeholders, but at the same time to become more creative, to become less traditional, to become a much more innovative, that is research, that they relate the positive mood with creativity. When people are experiencing positive mood, for example, and there is a result when a company is generous with stakeholders, well people working for this company tend to experience positive mode. When this happens, the thought process tends to be expanded. This means that you look for other possibility beyond the obvious and in practice, you are more prone to generate good ideas, instead when you’re here for I will 15:58 [inaudible], I will try to build my competitors, you’re focusing on the outside forces and obviously, you look at the forces from a negative perspective and you tend to get reactive. 

[16:12] Dr. Bruno: Another point I want to highlight is that, what made me research on this topic is that many companies are focusing on technological devices, that are very important, technology has helped a lot to do things easier, quicker, much more efficient. However, they lost the human touch. What do I mean by human touch? If you go to any work environment and in many companies, you will see that the schedule is very tight, a meeting from 10 to 11 and then you have for example, this process should be sent by this deadline, and everything is very structured. There is no time, no leeway for informal meetings, meeting with no business objectives. I mentioned this in one full chapter in the book, I call this Natural Conversation. Natural Conversation means taking into account the other person, not as a means to a goal, but as a goal itself and talking to you and communicating to you, because I want to know you better, I want to recognize you as 17:20 [inaudible] may be. However, most company or so, do not allow emotional aspect to include in the work environment, only rational aspect planning, budgeting, strategizing, but also they forget other aspects of the employee, for example, spiritual aspect, physical aspect, and emotional aspect, as I mentioned, is natural conversation and also the research on these natural conversation because people tend to feel more at ease and less business oriented are also a very important source of creative ideas. 

[17:54] Dr. Bruno: So, because people do not have an agenda, if people do not have goals to meet, people can’t get their health down because they’re not playing their roles. They’re not the structure, even their body language tends to be much more relaxed, and people feel more at ease. They don’t feel threatened. However, when people are with a very important title aim and they tend to be threatened by the deadline, threatened by the busyness, threatened by, for example, a very uncertain project and there is no time for nothing, there is no time for sharing their humanity, their common humanity with other companies, is tend to be only a formal aspect of the conversation. We don’t get to listen to the human beings. And not only applying this to employees, these can be applied to suppliers. So, I know that many companies only contact suppliers when they have an order to place or contact customer only to remind them that they have a new product that they’re launching, only business oriented. What about sending a greeting supposing that there is information in our database, that, for example, an important date for this supplier that we can congratulate this company on or we can greet this company because of this important date, the same with a customer. So, should be 19:16 [inaudible], I know that sounds counterintuitive, but more human oriented, because at the base of any business and human beings, even some companies, luckily not so many, a person treat customers as figures, as famous figures, both as human being with needs and some companies treat employees as a cogs in a machine, an organizational machine, so, they use it employee. So, you see the concept of human resources, I’m also very challenged with this concept, human resources. Resources are to use instead, people, human beings, so 19:56 [inaudible], people are to connect.

[20:02] Will: No, I totally agree. You’ve touched on so many subjects, I want to comment on human resources, can’t stand that name. I don’t understand why people would want to say that they’re humans or resources. It makes no sense to me at all. Anyway, that’s a personal thing. But going back to having meetings with no structure, it’s interesting, isn’t it? Because you are taught in business that you don’t want to have meetings for the sake of meetings. So, therefore, what you’re saying is actually having meetings for the sake of meetings potentially is a good thing. 

[20:38] Dr. Bruno: It’s a good thing, because people get their defenses down, instead, in the business meeting, most people are playing their role, and their roles are all interlocked. So, imagine that there are hierarchies for the reason or not, so I mentioned this in my book that the compassionate business that there is also a need for playful activities, time off activities, social events, many companies are lacking this event, they have only celebration by the end of the year, Christmas dinner, that’s it. What about celebration of achievements, achievement, for example, a new project that was successful. What about, some companies are changing this approach. Some company for example, they go to some spiritual retreat with employees, or some company, for example, they organize some games, or some company, for example, like Google, they have also some game facilities at their venues. So, we have to change because at the end, play, interacting with each other in a social way, not only in a business perspective, so make companies much more caring, appear more caring with customer and they’re not so focused on the business perspective that in many cases, this indicates that employees can feel manipulated, they can feel used, they can feel unrecognized, they can feel even neglected.

[22:02] Dr. Bruno: Let’s give an example of the employee, if the employee is solely going to the company to work and the work is a bit monotonous, the employee doesn’t feel that his work is, for example meaningful, that doesn’t contribute to a purpose driven process. In practice, this employee will be demotivating, not really motivated and won’t be feeling the excitement to go to work. Instead when the employee knows that also, besides business activity, there could be also other events and also there could be other conversation besides business conversation. Well, in this case, employees tend to reciprocate, there is a law in social 22:43 [inaudible]. So, and to put it simple, if you treat employees well, they’re more likely to reciprocate, meaning to act in a similar way. If you cheat on employees, they’re more likely to distress you and also not cooperating with your company. So, in practice, this is also a win-win approach because in practice, treating everyone in this company and outside the company in a loving way, allows the company, not only to thrive economically speaking but also to notice this important base, business base that is the relationship with stakeholders.

[23:24] Dr. Bruno: Do you see more and more companies going this way, from your research?

[23:30] Dr. Bruno: I will give an example, one of the biggest companies, if not the biggest, now, you see, Amazon. Amazon, you know the company Amazon very well now, and also obviously grew a lot over these years and Amazon, believe it or not, have a compassionate and caring attitude toward customer. I buy a lot of books every week, and I read a lot of books every week. And so, what I’ve seen, that every time that I buy a book, Amazon because, obviously, normally as a very good customer, give me recommendations, simplify my buying process. So, for example, you read this, or you bought this book, we recommend these related books such as this, this, this. But also, if I want a book and I want this book to be delivered as soon as possible, Amazon is saves time for me. So, this mean that they are delivering, if you have a subscription to prime, they will deliver, for example, the book during the same day. So, this is amazing because not many companies do this, and this take a lot of work, you don’t see the work behind it but there is a lot of work to set the system and make recommendations that are tailor made, customized to specific readers, the same for other products. 

[24:49] Dr. Bruno: But I will give another comment about this, is about the company that is called a UPS and obviously, UPS use a lot of planes, but also, they’re committed, not to contribute to communities but what is very important, they do donation activity, social oriented, but also they, what they do is, reducing this carbon dioxide emission that you know that are very important and also contribute to the environment. In some cases, companies that are compassionate go beyond what is said by law, because respecting the law is the basis of any business activity, if not, you will get in trouble, legal troubles. But the idea is going beyond what is said by law, by legislation, and also contributing in a way that is meaningful. This, not only bring about positive result from the economic perspective but also improve the company’s image and at the same time, create a much more attractive image to bring about new stakeholders that are aligned with our mission.

[26:00] Dr. Bruno: For example, if the company’s purpose driven, it’s more likely to attract a lot of talented people as compared with a company with no purpose. Why? Because talented people are very choosy and will try to look for a company that they feel at ease, they can contribute, they can feel a value from this company. But the main important point also, I want to highlight is that from the business perspective, let’s talk about customer a bit, customers are obviously the concept of marketing, regarding customer is, they are the most important stakeholders, is an external stakeholder. However, the marketing only limits these activities to satisfying customer rates. My approach in business from the compassionate business, exceed customer perspective and I want to give you an example, I’m half Italian, and when I went to in the bus to a coffee shop, I went and I like this coffee shop, it was a very big chain and I asked for a cappuccino and the lady at the counter, tell me okay, well we’ll bring, wasn’t in a good mood but that was okay, the lady was not in a good mood. And I said we can bring you the cappuccino, 15 minutes later she brought the cappuccino. I try to drink the cappuccino and the cappuccino was cold, so cappuccino late and cold. I went to the competitor’s venue and this mean obviously I don’t want to reveal the name of the companies but and I asked for a similar cappuccino and I asked this person, the vendor and told me, okay, okay, wait here, in one minute you will have the cappuccino. Okay, good. So, when she brought the cappuccino, I saw it 27:56 [inaudible] with some biscuit I said sorry, that is a mistake, there is a mistake here, I didn’t order the biscuit and I won’t pay for it. No, no, you don’t have to pay, this is a gift. The biscuits from the viewpoint of this company was the course was paid, from my viewpoint, the biscuits were perfect with this cappuccino, they have a good match. So, and the cappuccino was very nice, very savory and very hot and delivered on time.

[28:34] Dr. Bruno: Now, I asked the listener, which of these two companies do you feel that the customer will go back? The first company delivering this late, cold, no additional products as a surprise, this means that not even meeting the basic needs because I wanted a cappuccino 28:54 [inaudible] and delivered on time, you can’t be in a rush. And the second company exceeding, this mean that they were over delivering. And I like this quote, you know, which companies are more likely to be compassionate, the companies that under promise and over deliver, this is a concept called by Tom Peters, the management guru, that it’s better not to boast about your offerings. Obviously, the offering should be suitable for the customer, but, then you surprise customer with a generous attitude, with additional gift. I know a case of a company that, for example, the customer bought a mobile and then they sent free of charge, by mail, a case for the mobile, no charge and this was explained and thanking this customer for this. This is a completely different approach because if companies adopt a similar attitude toward customer, a grateful attitude toward customer, they think to be grateful with us, they tend to be generous with us, how they can be generous with us. If you tell me what coffee shop, you should go, I will tell you the name privately is the second company. So, this means that customers were treated in a loving way, they become like invisible ambassadors for this company and they try to, for example, write positive reviews on social media or recommend to a friend. So, this means that customer love with this company, love the product. In the first case, I cannot say that I love this company and I never went back to this company. But this is a very simple example. And how can leader, company leaders can apply this on a clear way? I feel that leaders have a very important responsibility, they have a vision that leaving companies and obviously people working for this company, they have a big view of this company, but at the same time, in many cases they lose contact with the baseline, with the employees, with a different human being that are working and contributing in the same way as a leader, but in different functions for this company to thrive. 

[31:22] Dr. Bruno: So, leaders, when working for companies, I would rather be much more empathetic and more compassionate, you should connect much more on a continuous basis with different employees or different representable employees, but at the same time, should be taking the lead to recognize achievement, not only typing the figures. For example, our company grew 8% this month. The good way to approach this news will be, our company grew 8% this month, generous employees such as this, this, name with employees, contributed to this project and we really appreciate this. So, this means that you have to show, not only figures to engage with people, but the human face, a human being. So, this is what is missing in many business reports. So, in many business reports, they are very business oriented, but what about employees, what about customers? For the reason, when companies are using advertising in a successful way, they include the face of a human being, you see many, for the simple non charitable organization when they look for, for example, funds from different organization or from individuals in general, they show for example, this lady, this little girl is suffering in Africa, her name is this, this, so they try to show the human face, then if not, everything get confused like a blurry substance with no humanness, no humanity.

[33:07] Will: That’s really interesting. Do you think that technology can play a role in this engagement because you’ve got companies like Active Campaign, I can only, it’s something that we use and we, when we send out information to potential clients and clients alike, and I guess stakeholders across the fields, we tailor what it is that we’re sending people. So, therefore, they get what they want, rather than what we want them to have because we’re starting to learn them. And actually, a really good example of this is hotels. When you arrive at some of the larger chains now, you arrive and they don’t recognize your name and where you’re from so therefore, you’ve stayed in New York, you’ve stayed in Singapore and in Madrid and they know that you actually usually drink black coffee. So, it’s that personal touch and it’s using technology for those personal touches. 

[34: 16] Dr. Bruno: I agree on these, thank you for the example. I will say that technology help us to customize our messages. That’s also because you have, many companies have big databases, so they can get lots of information about customer, about for example, employees, and they obviously, they customize, they made these messages tailor made. But also, what I will say, technology is good, they obviously make things easier, quicker. But also let’s give one example, if a company is solely selling online, the company should always have a telephone line, the phone lines so that customer can contact and hear any one voice from people working for this company, and also very important, preferably, if a meeting can be held, for example, a video conference and the same meeting can be held in person, I would prefer that this meeting is held in person because even with video conference, in some cases you lose body language, signs so that we are not aware in, for example video conferencing or even more of an email. Many companies are very reliant on email, but email is completely out of context, you have to be very clear with the context. But in practice, email is sequential communication. This means that you send an email and then they give you the answer. So, it’s not the data, it’s not interactive at the moment so aggressive. So, I will say, always use technology, if possible, use technology to customize your messages. But at the same time, don’t forget to give the human touch to, for example, your communication, a meeting in person with all the employees or visiting, dropping by supply possibly and they are in the same location, will be nice, because it has a better connection as compared with a cold approach with technology, what I want to say also that a technology can be useful to, for example, that products for a specific customer. So, I agree on the concept of non 36:29 [inaudible] essential, which means, products should be adopted when possible, taking into account all the company’s structured according to specific needs. 

[36:40] Dr. Bruno: So, all customers are different. So, this means that we have customers that like this type of product, another type of product and in practice, you should offer option, not the one that are convenient for your company but convenient for customer. So, to summarize, standardization, technology allow you to get away from the standardization of messages. But also, standardization of marketing, we have also the concept with standardization of products, surely is, obviously, save cost, you save costs when you standardize product, you sell all the products are the simpler to everyone. But in practice, you’re not taking into account the specific needs of this human being. And at the same time, complement, if you’re sitting on your land, complement these, obviously approach communication online with for the simple chat on the phone, or be the confident, only possible in meeting, when possible. So, the customer doesn’t feel that they’re sleeping in an impersonal way. We were one customer and also employees that being treated in a personalized way, in a very human oriented way.

[37:51] Will: Yeah, I couldn’t agree with you more, we use our cell phone all the time. And one of the criticisms I have from friends who knows, well what happens if too many people phone? Well then you bring more people on, because obviously you need, we give our telephone out to everyone because I think that’s what it’s about, isn’t it? It’s about talking to people and actually getting to know your customer, getting to know the people that you are working with, be it selling to, working with on your team or in the community around you. And by not knowing people, and you get much more out of talking to people than a one-way dialogue. And so, I totally, totally agree. Finishing up, what would you say the top, the actions you would like to see people take on the back of this podcast? 

[38:53] Dr. Bruno: Well, thank you for this question, 38:56 [inaudible]. We have to bear in mind that businesses are always based on relationships. If we only focus on economic parameters, productivity, profitability, competitiveness and others and you do not focus on building mutually beneficial relationship, long term relationship with different stakeholders like, suppliers, employees, customer, community, this business activity will dwindle over time, you won’t–. Why? Because you cannot prosper, you cannot thrive on your own, you need all these people, you are interdependent. So, this is very important concept to take into account, always bear in mind and also connected to this concept, when you connect to stakeholders, is this a win-win approach or trying to get something from them and they will be losing something because of this change. So, when a company, for example, want to sell a new product, should consider this from the customer perspective from a community perspective, from the employee perspective, because all the stakeholders will be affected, even in any business decision. So, all stakeholders should be considered, at first, later on, because they will be affected direct or indirect. 

[40:25] Dr. Bruno: Second point is many companies are focusing on getting, I want to get more sales, I want to get more customer, I want to get less cost and I want to get like a more market share, again want to get more competitive, getting, getting, getting into, I want to obtain, receive, generate, what about giving? Because of the  40:52 [inaudible], a lot by scientists, and what they say that when people are generous to others, they 41:02 [inaudible] positive cycle, because people tend to reciprocate, they feel recognized, they feeling acknowledged as human beings. So, I will say, company leaders and people working for companies, think about ways that you can be more generous with other stakeholders, could be if you’re an employee working for a colleague, how can you be more generous, can you be more supportive? Can you give some advice to this employee? If you are a company leader, well, how you can be more generous with the people working for your company, and how you can be more generous with customers and also suppliers. So, generosity is not only about giving material things like, for example, bonuses to employees, always giving three combination is giving support, giving an ear when someone for example an employee, want to hear a side comment from a manager, and it’s not always available, well if the manager level have this compassionate attitude toward this employee will be at the level once again.

[42:00] Dr. Bruno: Why does this mean? That we’ll be willing to listen to this employee we know business purpose only to a knowledge the human being with a specific need. So, this will be, generosity will be the second one. The third one would be gratitude. There is a lot of research on gratitude and research states that gratitude allow people, not only to make other feel better, because you are recognizing you’re focusing, on the positive, gratitude means appreciating others, focusing on the positive, appreciating things. Most people tend to buy to the fall look for the opposite to gratitude moaning, or for example, complaining or harshly criticizing is not gratitude at all, it is the opposite. And there is somebody said that implies that interaction should have a ratio of positive 3:1 or 42:56 [inaudible]. When you interact with people, you should have them feeling in a positive way, 5:1, means that one time that you relate to this people won’t be feeling so well. So, this means that you, by being grateful, you’re more likely to engage with the same employees and stakeholders in a much more meaningful way. What I was saying, how you can be grateful with employees, write thank you notes. For example, when they have sent a team with suppliers, thanking them for the delivering of production time, customer thanking for their customer, but also even thinking when they visit your company because some companies only thank customer when they buy product. What about thinking when they visit your company, don’t buy any product, they took the time to come here. So, even though they didn’t choose your product, they took the time to–. So, thanking stakeholders, companies develop to be much more compassionate.

[44:00] Dr. Bruno: This will be and the fourth one will be, try to engage different stakeholders in a non-business way. This mean that we’ll be conducting a conversation, or we can engage and talk about topics that are not necessarily related to, for example, business or business deals or object the business objective. An example could be, when, for example, the company’s visiting their supplier, the first part of the conversation could be about completely informal topics for example, what if the supplier have some programs and that’s what I brought in, they can discuss on a personal level how they are, how they are feeling now, obviously allow business environment to be better maybe by emotion. There is a lot of research on emotional intelligence and emotional intelligence is called a soft skill. I don’t believe that is soft skill at all. It’s necessary for any business, a strategy in business environment. So, when you engage in much more informal conversation with stakeholder, you allow them to be full human beings, not only enrolled, not only a supplier, not only an employee, not only a customer. So, this mean that you’re considered the whole aspect of this stakeholder and we can say that another point will be taken into account, the aspect of respect. You can say, most companies have respecting customer and employee well, respect implies not manipulating stakeholders. And what will be the best example of a company that is manipulating stakeholders, for example, a company is trying to and this happened with a lot with airline companies, big companies telling me that they’re selling a ticket, at, let’s say 90 pound and then when I take on the website, I check on the website, all the ancillary items charges and this end up being 200 pounds. Myself, as a customer I feel cheated on. So, this was a manipulation strategy, this mean that the company was not being respected. 

[46:23] Dr. Bruno: So, for the reason, companies can avoid manipulation, a strategy when they are transparent but also when they’re trustworthy, but the best way to simplify this is when they look for mutually beneficial relationship with every single stakeholder, not only a specific at the end for each 46:44 [inaudible] but the whole framework that the company should use. Are we developing mutually profitable or mutually beneficial relationship with this stakeholder? If not, how we can improve, are we getting all the gains at the expense of other stakeholders, is it fair? So, a company is also always this question, is it fair? Is it benefiting everyone involved? So, lastly, try to take into account that all feedback is to be welcomed. We can say what does feedback do and work up, an example will be the same companies, for example, the decisions are made by the top level. They do not allow employees that are obviously in the battlefield with a customer and also are they being they are activities to give any opinion, they don’t allow employees to express their voice. So, this means that many leaders, they believe that they know it all, however, employees might have a lot of tacit knowledge from their name, the activity that could be useful to improve the company’s activity to meet the objective in a better way. This means that for the result in much more purpose effective approach, can we engage employees, if possible, in certain decisions that are important that can contribute with their own value? Can we engage with customer, also, can we engage, can we listen to customer what we are doing wrong? The cooperative approach with customer will be, not totally, delivering good service that are suitable for them but also listening to their complaints. Can we take on board of their complaints because, this complaint, my therapist develops 48:36 [inaudible] when using the product and buying the product.  

[48:42] Dr. Bruno: You will now take into account, competitors will do and I don’t like the word competitors, I will say other companies will do and also try to take the last and if this is the golden tip, try to take out of your mind the concept of competition. I know that sounds a bit crazy when I said this but in practice, competitors or other company would like to call in your sector, could be considered in a much more positive perspective. How we come to consider this, you’re doing things correctly, you can consider them as a model to emulate, you can see then, okay and also even this could be the basis for future improvement but also that doing things, not so good, this is a model not to emulate, you should be, do think it differently. This mean that for example, if they’re delivering a pro blade, your company should look for better delivery, quicker delivery because they’re not doing things correctly. And also, very important, taking into account that companies are always human audience.

[49:55] Will: Wonderful, thank you very much. That’s really useful and it’s fascinating listening to you. I could listen to you all day on this subject. It’s something that I think is incredibly important and really beneficial to understand more. And anyone listening to the podcast can buy your book on Amazon and it’s called The Compassion of Business and you’ll be able to learn about what it is and the roadmap through and how to grow your business in the way that it in my opinion should be grown.

[50:41] Dr. Bruno: Thank you very much. Yes, you can find the book, The Art of Compassionate Business, in any bookshop offline or online. And also, you can check, if you want my website, that is www.HumanOrientedEnterprise.com. Thank you very much. Thank you for your invite. 

[51:00] Will: No problem. We’ll put all the links on the website at the end of the show. Thank you very much for your time today.

[51:09] Will: Thank you so much for listening to the end of this episode of the Green Element podcast. Do take a moment and share this with your friends and colleagues and rate and review the podcast, wherever you get your podcast. I’d love to know, what has been your biggest takeaway from this conversation? What are you going to do differently? Please share your thoughts across social media and tag us, so we can see them too at GE_podcast. For links and show notes for this episode, visit our website greenelement.co.uk/podcast. Thank you again. I hope you will join me on the next episode and together we can help create a better world.

 

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