02 January 2009

Compassion & Power Study

This brief on the findings of a study that looked for correlations between a person's sense of power and their feelings of compassion has me thinking about what it means.

Are Power and Compassion Mutually Exclusive?"

The answer to the provocative title is no, but having a sense of your own power does seem to correlate with maintaining emotional distance from those who tell you a sob story. This seems to me to be an important validation of a tenet I learned from BJ Dohrmann, the founder of CEOSpace. It goes something like this "Money is attracted to success and repelled by desperation." When making appeals for money or anything else, if you want the attention of the rich and powerful, don't be desperate. The rich and powerful will automatically maintain a distance. When the rich and powerful invest in someone (financially or with their influence) they are looking to increase their success, therefore they are going to be attracted to someone on a path to success. They do have compassion, but in order to get them to access that compassion in your favor you have to appeal to the part of your sob story that they can relate to, the part that is overcoming the difficulty and rising to meet the challenges.

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