“Compassion consists in a one-on-one experience. There is this very personal dimension in Compassion.
Businessmen are not comfortable with Compassion. Over years, we have been taught in business schools that businessmen are meant to serve the shareholders who must be their sole concern. In this sense, businessmen are a-moral entities, corporations that serve a single purpose: the creation of wealth. They forget that business is actually the cornerstone of our society. They forget that business can serve many different causes because it embraces so many actors: the employees and the suppliers but also the customers and, of course, the shareholders.
Our society is nonetheless more and more aware of the destruction of nature. Businessmen daily tackle the issue of sustainable development. They should deepen this analysis and include- and there is hope that perhaps, one day they will – the human dimension, the human dignity. We must understand that each individual -the human as a body (as an animal), but also the human as a soul- is something exceptional that needs to be respected and preserved, just as nature.
What does differentiate, or perhaps, what does bring together companies such as Verizon, Goldman Sachs, Bank of New York or Price Waterhouse? These are companies in which the CEO has made a particular commitment to Compassion.The CEOs of these companies generally have made a personal commitment not in terms of money but in terms of time. Thay have often committed to a one-on-one relationship with a person in need.
And they are wise in doing so, for the experience of Compassion results in a feedback process. If you start once helping somebody, reaching out and feeling what you get in return, it becomes a drug: you want to experience it again and again.
I think that a center such as the ICCC could be an excellent place to teach Compassion to the corporate world. I am convinced that’s a wonderful objective. I strongly believe in it.”
Managing Partner, Altamont Capital Partners, at the ICCC Opening day, September 2007