Home > Articles > Business & Management

  • Print
  • + Share This
This chapter is from the book

Stepping Outside of Yourself

Harley’s imminent challenge is one that many organizations share. It isn’t always possible to be your customers (consider, for instance, a pharmaceutical company that makes drugs for terminally ill patients). In those cases, it’s necessary to do something more than reflect what you see. To continue to grow and prosper, you have to get outside of yourself and see the world through the eyes of other people.

Gina Beebe does that as much as anyone. She’s the head of design at American Girl, a doll maker and book publisher that’s beloved by young girls and parents alike. American Girl was founded by Pleasant Rowland, a uniquely imaginative leader who dedicated her life to creating dolls and stories that would help girls learn and grow. Each doll represents a different time and place in America, from Kaya, a Nez Perce Native American from 1764, to Julie, a girl with divorced parents living in 1974 San Francisco. American Girl does more than just make dolls—they make compelling stories that resonate deeply with how girls see the world. That’s hard to do year after year. I asked Gina how she does that, given that she herself isn’t an eight-year-old girl. She thought about it for a moment and then smiled, “You know...in a way, I kind of am.” Gina talked about the joy she gets from seeing little girls flock to the company’s newest dolls and books. And how she spends time reading the letters that young girls write to the company. And how the company posts those letters in the hallways for everyone to read and enjoy. Gina and the folks at American Girl are a wonderful example of how you can get yourself into someone else’s mindset—and how that person’s feelings can, in turn, get into you.

The ability to reach outside of yourself is even more important when you consider situations in which you need empathy for more than one type of person. Doctors, for example, can’t have empathy for only other patients their own age. Teachers can’t connect only with students who share their gender or ethnicity. For companies who seek to serve many different types of people, merely reflecting a single point of view isn’t enough. Indeed, the ability to empathize with multiple types of people can be the difference between success and failure over the long term.

The ability of Gina Beebe and her colleagues to step into the mind of an eight-year-old is the real secret behind American Girl’s success. It requires them to leave their own agendas behind, and actually care about how other people see the world. That’s a powerful concept, but not a particularly new one. In fact, it was Dale Carnegie who first articulated that dynamic nearly a century ago, in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Carnegie was one of the world’s first modern self-help gurus, and when you’re the first, you don’t need to be particularly surprising or counter-intuitive. In fact, his point was deceptively simple: If you want people to be interested in you, you should be genuinely interested in other people. That’s a pretty straightforward lesson with relatively major implications. It means that if you walk up to me at a party and ask me how I am, how my family is doing, what movies I’ve seen lately, and how things are going at work, you’re bound to get me engaged. In fact, by the time you walk away, I’ll be thinking, “Wow, I just met a really interesting person.” That’s because we talked about something I’m interested in—me! It’s just human nature to be interested in people who are interested in you. That little bit of advice can go a long way to making a person more likeable. It’s also a profound piece of advice for business. If you want to create products and services that other people care about, you should put aside your problems and start caring about other people’s lives.

Creating that sort of empathic connection to other people can have profound effects on a company, beyond increasing its growth rate. In many cases, it can give new meaning to the work that people do. And often in today’s world, it’s that sense of meaning that we lack most of all. Most companies can offer competitive salaries, vacation packages, health insurance, and retirement plans. But too few of them can demonstrate any sort of connection between the work that we do everyday and a positive impact on the wider world. Beyond mere survival and provision for our families, many of us don’t have a good reason to go to work in the morning. In addition to its economic impacts, increasing empathy for the people your company serves can help you see how much your job makes a difference in their lives. And that’s the greatest reward of all.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020