Great Strategy is Fueled by Empathy

Posted on: March 10, 2020

By: Jeremy Turner, MBA – Founder & Managing Director of EPIC Mission, Inc.

In last week’s offering, we covered some of the basic elements and understandings related to strategy, starting with a simple definition and progressing from there. Now, it’s time to take the next logical step forward which, in my mind, entails furthering a deep understanding of strategy from soup to nuts. So, let’s jump in and see what we might discover about what fuels great strategy.

Every successful organization has one thing in common with every other successful organization. They each solve a worthwhile problem, which is to say that a large enough segment of the population would be willing to part with their hard-earned cash to obtain the solution offered by a particular company. The solution, therefore, must prove to be of great value to your target market or targeted subset of the greater population. But how can you learn the intimate needs of those you seek to serve with your company so that you can design a solution that will compel them to pay you for it?

The answer is empathy. Check out this quick video by the amazing Brene Brown that will show you the basics of empathy and probably make you giggle a bit. Empathy, in a business application, is the process of taking pause long enough to see the world through the eyes of your customers (those who buy your widget) and consumers (those who use your widget). The perspective gained will provide deep insights into the pains they want to have relieved, the positive outcomes or gains they wish to achieve and the tasks they wish to complete. Relieving pains, delivering gains and helping people to complete important tasks is valuable. A business transaction is one where there is an exchange of things perceived to be of similar value between the two parties, and so it is the value derived from your solution that necessitates the transaction, and when enough of these transactions occur, your business’ doors remain open.

So, how does empathy fuel great strategy? If a business can discover what they want to achieve, the next step of determining how they might achieve it becomes much easier. Referencing the article from last week, strategy incorporates goals (what) and a set of clear steps (how) to achieve them. If remaining (or becoming) relevant must be an underlying goal of any business, relevance is determined by the ability to provide value, and value is derived from solving meaningful problems. Developing an action plan involves an assessment of status quo relative to future goals, and said assessment is relative to how well you’re solving current customer needs and how well you’re positioned to address foreseeable needs. You may only truly know these needs through the process of intentionally practicing empathy.

Without empathy, the problem-solution-based foundation of your strategy cannot exist. As you can now clearly see, empathy will not only make you a better human being, it will also fuel your organizational strategy and help you find success in whatever manner you define it within your business.

Jeremy Turner is the Founder & Managing Director of EPIC Mission, Inc. a coaching and consulting firm for impact-driven entrepreneurs, nonprofits, and small businesses. As one of our valued referral partners, Jeremy and EPIC Mission, Inc. will be working in collaboration with MD Andersen, CPA, PA this month to bring you more information and topics to consider regarding strategy in the business world. To learn more about Jeremy Turner or EPIC Mission, Inc. please visit their website at

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