We suggest throughout this series of essays that the compounding of entrepreneurship and enterprise occurs through the process of appreciation. These are three ways in which the term appreciation is commonly used. They are each related to the processes of appreciation. We appreciate other people through attempting to understand them. We also appreciate other people through valuing them and often seeing them in a new light. A third way of appreciating another person is by being thoughtful and considerate in acknowledging their contributions to the organization.
Understanding Another Person
Fundamentally, the process of appreciation refers to efforts made to gain a clearer understanding of another person’s perspective. We come to appreciate the point of view being offered by our colleagues or the situation in which other people find themselves. This appreciation, in turn, comes not from detached observation, but rather from direct engagement. One gains knowledge from an appreciative perspective by “identifying with the observed.”
Compassion rather than objectivity is critical. We care about the people and groups with whom we work as appreciative managers, consultants, coaches or leaders working with closely-held enterprises. Neutrality is inappropriate in such a setting. Compassion, however, does not imply either a loss of discipline or a loss of boundaries between one’s own perspective and the perspective held by the other person. Appreciation is deeply caring about and caring for another person’s problems, without personally taking on their problems. We can appreciate another person’s problems and assist this person in solving these problems without losing our personal identity.