There’s a television show called “Wife Swap,” in which one member of a family’s household (usually the wife) trades places with one member of another family’s household.  The catch is that the families are polar opposites of each other. This usually leads to both families learning a great deal about themselves and their roles in life.

In 2006, I lived my own version of the show, but I privately called it “Boss Swap” when I went from the role of writer to editor. Set with the task of hiring quality writers for little money made me realize how truly hard it is to find good help – and how important! In fact, this experience gave me a new appreciation for the writer that I was; but it also gave me insight into the great (and not-so-great) editors I have worked with over the years. The great ones always made me feel like they cared about what I had to say.

No matter what the product or service is, there is usually a collection of managers and employees behind the scenes working hard to make their company look good. However, there’s also a leader who stands behind those scenes trying to manage personalities and positions in a never-ending quest to keep employees productive and customers happy. It’s no easy trick to juggle the role of gate-keeper, ruler, trouble-shooter and colleague, but a great leader is also compassionate.

Sales motivational speaker and multi-million dollar producer Derek Clark says that he sees compassion as one of the most important qualities for a business leader to possess. “Your employees are the birthing place of new ideas,” he says, adding that it’s important to be human in the corporate environment. “You can’t be a dictator and ask for inspiration to spontaneously appear. Share employees’ human interests, share their human thoughts, and you will unlock their curiosity and imagination.“

As the author of Never Limit Your Life: From Personal to Professional, and the critically acclaimed I Will Never Give Up book series, Derek has also been the CEO (Fast of his own company.  Having grown up as a foster child, he took control of his life; going from a scared little kid who had nobody and nothing to becoming a successful entrepreneur who travels throughout the world as a motivational speaker.

Derek conjures up the memory of Walt Disney, who once said, ““You can design and create and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.”

Walt Disney was known for his ability to bring the curiosity and imagination out in his employees, which led to the innovative attractions that made his amusement parks the most famous in the world. Derek points out that Mr. Disney’s business model focuses on the real strength of a company: its human capital.

Getting workers involved in humanitarian projects is a way for companies to show they care about their communities… and it also gives workers a reason to feel good about their own contributions to society. “Having your team go out and do team building exercises by helping the homeless or organizing a toy drive or helping foster kids,” Derek suggests, noting that some of the most successful companies (including Disney) sponsor humanitarian programs. This fosters a compassionate business culture of giving back to the community.

Companies like Microsoft and Google are known to provide informal, relaxed work spaces for their employees to feel comfortable enough to make creative contributions without the fear of displeasing a tyrannical boss.  There are two types of fear, says Derek: Healthy fear and dictator fear. “When you work for Google, for instance, you get to choose your hours. This is one way of tapping into the employees’ human spirit; because it takes into account their preferences.

“By tapping into your employees’ human spirit, you help them to discover their strengths,” explains Derek, noting that employees who are encouraged and motivated to bring new ideas into a business will help nurture that business into the future. He advises, “Find ways to really listen to the ideas your workers have to offer; because they are really so much more than just numbers on your payroll. The way you treat your employees can mean the difference between staying stagnant or building an empire that changes the world.”

Motivational speaker Derek Clark continues to inspire international audiences as the Ambassador for the Foster Care Alumni of America and serves as an expert on CNN Headline News and The Ricki Lake Show. Google has ranked Derek the #3 “inspiring motivational speaker” out of 34 million listings, and out of 500 million results, he is ranked #2 for “stories about never giving up”.  For more information about Derek Clark, please visit and