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Caring About Clients Means Caring About Their Cats: Why Empathy Matters in Business

June 21, 2018 | Timothy Haines

My wife and I have two cats that we love a little bit more than we maybe should. I always blame it on the fact that we don’t have kids. Don’t worry – we’re not dressing them up in cute little costumes or anything that crazy, but we for sure love these two little animals.

When I’m at work, I usually forget about cats. Do you do the same?

I was in a meeting the other day with a client who had to reschedule a significant part of a project our team was working on due to an unexpected trip to the vet with their cat.

I have to admit that my first instinct was to think about how this negatively impacted me and the rest of the team. It would put us behind schedule, and it would require a bunch of rescheduling.

“Ugh,” right?

This may be your instinct as well. Should we really be letting our pets impact our professional life?

My answer is yes! Yes, we absolutely should.

If it is truly our mission to care about our clients, then it is critical that we care about those big-little moments that impact their daily life.

The graduations and weddings, their kids, a loss of a loved one. And yes, even their cats.

If we don’t care about these things, we don’t have empathy.

Without empathy, the task becomes the only focus. Without empathy, we forget why we do what we do and sometimes resent anything that gets in the way.

Is there anything more backwards than resenting something that impacts the life of someone we’re trying to help?

Life will happen regardless of professional calendars. As we seek to be adaptable in life, we believe we should do the same in our work.

And always with empathy.