Albert Einstein had a sign outside of his office which read “Everything that can be counted does not necessarily count; everything that counts cannot necessarily be counted.”

Hours of deliberation are spent on what makes a great business leader. What is their secret? What strategies paved their way to success? Sometimes we get lost in the analysis and we loose track of common sense and ‘trusting our gut’.

Dave Goldberg, CEO of SurveyMonkey’s untimely death on the 2nd May 2015 highlighted the one trait that few but the best leaders share. It is certainly one that cannot be easily counted but it is the one which has the most impact. Compassion.

Dave was not only a great entrepreneur known for his brilliant and game changing business models but the love and respect he held for his team was legendary.

Author and Wharton Professor Adam Grant talks of the time he spent with the SurveyMonkey team “Among the hundreds of talks I gave that year, it was the most extraordinary audience I had. Just as Dave did with everyone he met, the SurveyMonkey team instantly made me feel accepted. They listened more intently, and laughed more loudly, than any group I had addressed. I was so astonished by their generosity and curiosity that I hung around afterward, hounding various employees to find out how they had created such a positive culture. Over and over, I heard the same thing: the secret ingredient was Dave.

It was clear that Dave made a concerted effort to recruit people who cared about others, who loved to learn and have fun. But his team stressed something far more meaningful: Dave built that culture by example. His helpfulness, inquisitiveness, and joy were contagious. His employees wanted to be like him.“

There is an old saying that CEO’s are given 100 days to make a difference when taking on a new post. By

1. Listening

2. Asking and

3. Appreciating,

you can make a difference not only to your business productivity but to humankind.

Best selling author and NYU professor Jonathan Haidt proved in his extensive research that witnessing someone help another person creates a heightened state of well-being that he calls ‘elevation.’ When Haidt and his team applied his research to the world of business, they found that when leaders exhibited compassion, their employees would experience elevation. As a consequence, they felt more loyal and committed and were much more likely to act in a helpful and friendly way with other employees for no particular reason.

Barack Obama posted on Facebook this comment about Dave “David Goldberg embodied the definition of a real leader - someone who was always looking for ways to empower others. He was generous and kind with everybody, and cared less about the limelight than making sure that the people he worked with and loved succeeded in whatever they did.”.

SurveyMonkey will thrive in the wake of Dave’s death as not only did he create hugely successful business models throughout his career, he created teams who care.

As seen in

  • Fast Company
  • Gq Seeklogo Com
  • Harvard Business Review
  • The Guardian
  • The Sunday Times
  • Business Life