Regional Consultant Wants to Gauge Compassion in Business in Sri Lanka…

A regional consultant who works with mainly multinational businesses in South Asia and the Middle East says he wants to measure compassion in Sri Lanka business, after initiating the process in Pakistan.

“I want to go deep and see how Sri Lankan organizations are different from Pakistan, even if they are multi-national, to understand the different dynamics and how people think,” says Farhad Karamally, head of Navitus (Pvt) Ltd, an organizational development consultancy.
The firm has offices in Pakistan and Sri Lanka and works with multinationals such as GSK, Coca Cola, Telenor, Novartis and others, Karamally said.

Karamally had developed a tool to measure ‘compassion in the workplace’ based on the principles contained in a Charter for Compassionbased on the work of Karen Armstrong, a British-born researcher and writer on religious history and inter-faith understanding.

The charter had been developed with inputs from contributors around the world following a prize winning 2008 TED speech by Armstrong.

“So they got together and created a charter, which tells how important it is to be tolerating differences, respecting diversity, how to work in a pluralistic society,” Karamally said.

At USAs Standford University a lot of research is being done of the subject, he said.

Karamally wanted to take the concept into business.

“I have a business background,” he says. “So as a management consultant I work with companies, so my agenda was to take it into companies.”

Working with a global umbrella body for compassionate organizations a took had been developed to measure compassion in organization to adapt Armstrong’s ’12 steps to a compassionate life’ to business.

Research is being conducted on compassion in business at Stanford University and elsewhere.

“For example, one of her steps in ‘mindfulness’,” Karamally says. “So in the business context we said ‘awareness’. ‘Empathy’ remains ’empathy’. ‘Communications’ remain ‘communications’. ‘Action’ remains ‘action’.

“But some things we have changed. ‘Love thy enemy’, we have converted to competition. To understand how people look at competition. Are you thinking of what the competition is doing? Do you want to provide value and happiness for the customer?
Last year Karamally had carried out the first survey in Pakistan covering 21 companies. A sample of over 2,300, spanning, senior and middle management and ‘frontline’ employees were surveyed.

“This year, I am adding some business measures: market share, profitability, and profit per employee,” he says, to further develop his hypothesis and find out how compassion and business are linked.

“At the same time also I want to start this in Sri Lanka.”