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Switch on The Compassionate Mindset

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Mar 25, 2024

In the previous two blogs, we introduced you to Compassionate Accountability: How Leaders Build Connection and Get Results by Nate Regier PhD and Marshall Goldsmith.

Doug Conant, founder, and CEO of Conant Leadership, is an internationally renowned Fortune 500 business leader, and bestselling author, who turned around a struggling Campbell Soup Company during his tenure as CEO (2001–2011). His philosophy was to be tough-minded on standards and tenderhearted with people. He recognized that life is too fragmented and dynamic to rely on traditional approaches to communication. Leaders need behavioral skills to make a difference in the smallest moments in the flow of work.Compassionate Accountability - How Leaders Build Connection and Get Results - Interactions - Culture - Brand

His philosophy is summed up in this image: Interactions lead to Culture lead to your Brand!

Interactions, Culture, Brands

Propeller -culture is the sum of the experiences, beliefs, and actions that enable it to achieve its Key Results or impede it from doing so.While Compassionate Accountability defines culture, I prefer Propeller: Accelerating Change by Getting Accountability Right’s definition: Culture is the sum of the experiences, beliefs, and actions that enable it to achieve its Key Results or impede it from doing so.

This definition explains the most frequent failure in most organizations. Behavior Never Lies. A behavior (culture) of a can-do spirit, gets Key Results done.

Compassionate Accountability further acknowledges, “Your brand is a lagging indicator of the quality of your culture. Culture is the sum of all the interactions between your people. The action is in the interaction. Embedding Compassionate Accountability within every interaction will create a thriving culture and lead to a strong brand.”

At its core, culture is the sum of every interaction between the people.

Doug Conant - To win in the Marketplace you must first win in the WorkplaceThis includes interactions between employees, leaders, leaders and followers, employees and customers, and even between members of the organization and the public.

Leaders must be fluid in the small moments and offer an opportunity to practice compassion.


Compassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible in every interaction.

This definition has four parts:

  1. Practice—Compassion is a behavioral skill set. The more we work at it, the better we get. This reinforces that compassion is a learnable skill.
  2. Demonstrating—Compassion is more than a feeling, concept, or principle. It must be observable through behavior. Unless we can all agree on observable behaviors, we can’t measure or teach it, set goals around it, or see if we are making progress.
  3. Valuable, capable, and responsible—These three aspects of compassion are all necessary but insufficient on their own. They work together and rely on each other. This reinforces that compassion is not in competition with accountability.
  4. In every interaction—Every moment counts. Every conversation is an opportunity to be compassionate.


With the help of one of his colleagues, Compassionate Accountability author Nate Reiger created this switch model to help audiences understand the critical importance of being compassionate. Each switch represents one of the three components of compassion: value, capability, and responsibility.

Compassionate Accountability - How Leaders Build Connection and Get Results - Official 3 Switches of Compassion Mindset (Fig 3.3)When our switches are on we treat ourselves and others as valuable, capable, and responsible. Energy flows in a positive direction to build connection, engagement, innovation, ownership, loyalty, and thriving cultures.

When our switches are off, energy is blocked and wasted. This causes division, disengagement, drama, and cultures that don’t work.

The book provides a Compassion Mindset Survey. I used to love surveys like this until I realized how easy it is to game them. We all tend to believe we’re smarter or better than we are on surveys. I’ve learned to recognize I might not be as brilliant as I suspect. Often, I ignore or downplay how my mind plays tricks on my abilities when I do an exercise like this. The survey is shared below. It might be more helpful to recognize the value of the questions than to assess your score as a truthful representation of how you are presently doing. You might ask someone else how they’d score you, which may prove more valuable than scoring yourself.

Compassionate Accountability - THE COMPASSION MINDSET SURVEYTo achieve a Compassionate Mindset, realize, your brand is driven by culture, which is driven by daily interactions. Leaders must become fluid with compassion in the small moments if they want to change the interactions that drive culture and create strong brands. By small moments, I mean every time you interact with one of your team, recognize how you made them feel.

douglas-conant-quote - Brief Interaction can change teh waypeople think abuot themselves, their leaders, their futureCompassion is the practice of demonstrating that people are valuable, capable, and responsible in every interaction.

The compassion mindset is a decision. It’s an attitude to view yourself and others as valuable, capable, and responsible.

The three switches of the compassion mindset are value, capability, and responsibility. Each one can be assessed through observable behaviors. When they are turned on, people can experience more connection, engagement, innovation, ownership, loyalty, and a thriving culture.

WORK RELATIONSHIPS should energize us, not drain us.

Drama steals too much precious time and energy away from what’s most important.

Compassion makes us human, brings us together, and gets us back on track when we lose our way. Compassion is the antidote to drama.

Doug Conant - Your Leadership Approach - The leadership approach expected of YOUEvery leader has an opportunity to make that happen.

Compassion must not come at the expense of accountability, though, because our missions and goals are too important to compromise.

Our people are our greatest asset, so we must prioritize the human being at the center of it all.

Compassionate Accountability allows leaders to reimagine their understanding and practice compassion to include accountability without giving up either one. No drama, no compromises.

To create an environment where everyone is inspired to give their best, contact Positioning Systems to schedule a free exploratory meeting.

Turn your team into a growth organization.  

Growth demands Strategic Discipline.

Next blog, we continue to explore developing Compassionate Accountability. We’ll explore The Value Switch. Turning on the value switch involves the fundamental belief: people are unconditionally valuable! Perhaps you’re like me. I find this easy to do with others but often struggle to see it in myself.

“Discretionary effort is inspired by emotional connection at work.” Garry Ridge WD-40 Building an enduring great organization requires disciplined people, disciplined thought, disciplined action, superior results, producing a distinctive impact on the world.

4Dx Cadence of AccountabilityDiscipline sustains momentum, over a long period of time, laying the foundations for lasting endurance.

A winning habit starts with 3 Strategic DisciplinesPriorityMetrics, and Meeting Rhythms.   Forecasting, accountability, individual, and team performance improve dramatically.

Meeting Rhythms achieve a disciplined focus on performance metrics to drive growth.

Let Positioning Systems help your business achieve these outcomes on the Four most Important Decisions your business faces:












Positioning Systems helps mid-sized ($5M - $500M+) businesses Scale-UP. We align your business to focus on Your One Thing! Contact to Scale Up your business! Take our Four Decisions Needs Assessment to discover how your business measures against other Scaled Up companies. We’ll contact you.

NEXT BLOG – The Value SwitchCompassionate Accountability - How Leaders Build Connection and Get Results - The Original 3 Switches (Fig 3.2)


Topics: Accountability, Responsibility, Compassionate Accountability, Nate Regier, Marshall Goldsmith, How Leaders Hold People Accountable

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Doug Wick, President

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

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