Th 3 C's of Compassionate Diversity®
One of the most unique things about Compassionate Diversity® is its developmental approach. Compassionate Diversity® meets people where they are at, with what they are ready to learn.
Fundamental to this approach are the 3 C’s: Comprehension, Connection, and Collaboration:
At the Comprehension level:
- We can sympathize with others, but that’s about it. We can understand what they are going through, but we tend to lack any deeper connection.
- We have the best of intentions, but at this level, we tend to understand the issue only from our own perspective.
At the Connection level:
- We can begin to empathize. We understand, and we connect to experiences we have had. We begin to relate to the feelings of others, and as a result, enhance connection.
- In our efforts to connect, we tend to project our experiences on the other. We assume their situation is just like ours. But it isn’t. As a result, we may leave the other person feeling robbed of their experience or misunderstood.
Collaboration is moving Comprehension and Connection into Compassionate Action. Through Collaboration:
- We can see from, value, and integrate the perspectives of others.
- We create more compassionate environments.
- We are able to develop more innovative and sustainable solutions in our communities and in our organizations.
At it's most basic level, Compassionate Diversity® is not just about others. It's about ourselves too.
The story of Greg Smith and Amy Jo helps to illustrate how powerful this approach is.
Both Greg and Amy Jo live in Orlando. Amy Jo was homeless, and Greg passed her on the street every day on his way to work. Greg introduced himself, and they started meeting for monthly lunches. As trust grew, Greg learned that Amy Jo’s biggest issue wasn’t hunger. It was that she couldn’t read… and we all know what a detriment that is to finding a job. So, Greg taught her to read.
So, how do the 3C’s connect to Greg and Amy Jo?
First, Comprehension. When Greg met Amy Jo, he had his own idea about what it meant to be homeless, just like we all do. We can imagine what we would feel like if we were homeless. We probably think that money or hunger would be our biggest issue.
Next, Connection. Greg connected to Amy Jo’s positive attitude, and he introduced himself. He invited her out to lunch, and they started meeting monthly. At this level, we tend to project our ideas of what’s important onto the homeless folks we see, and we give them money or food. But, as we continue building comprehension and connection, we discover that what we think is important may not be so important to the other person.
Finally, Collaboration. As trust grew, Greg learned that Amy Jo’s biggest issue wasn’t hunger. It was that she couldn’t read… and we all know what a detriment that is to finding a job. So, Greg taught her to read. When we find compassion, we understand what is important to others from their perspective. And then we act on that understanding to effect deeper, more meaningful change.
Have you heard any really great stories of compassion in action? How do you work to better understand the needs of others, rather than just projecting your own needs? Connect with me on social media to let me know.
If you’re interested in learning more about Compassionate Diversity®, sign up for our free webinar on the 7 Principles of Compassionate Diversity® here.
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