Andrew Thornton on Leadership – the key to a better business world

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The first step to becoming a heartful business is that the CEO says yes; yes that he/she is committed to make the changes needed to become heartful and to contribute to a better business world.  To me that decision takes real leadership and courage, and requires deep self confidence and inner clarity.

Without inner clarity, I do not think it is possible to embark on such a huge cultural change. So what do I mean by inner clarity? I mean really understanding yourself. We are all leaders in some shape or form – be that of a business, of a family, of a local community group or with any other group of people we lead.  To make easier reading, I will refer to what you are leading as a group – read into that, organisation, family etc.

So as a leader, do you really understand yourself? Try answering these few questions to start to see if you do:

What is your purpose – why are you doing what you are doing?
Do you know why you do everything you do in your life?
What are you values?
How do personal your values line up with those of the group you are leading? *
Are you prepared to openly express your values and your purpose to that group?
Are you prepared to publicly stand for your values?
What are you dreams? Are you going for those dreams?
What brings you joy? And what do you dislike?

* looking back, I realise when I was married that my values were out of line with how we lived as a family and that was a source of real discomfort for me – at the time as I did not really know myself, I didn’t have the confidence to change how I ‘lead’ the family

If you can clearly answer these questions, then as Shakespeare said it is possible ‘to thine own self be true’. If not, then I would suggest it is time to start to explore!

Once you know yourself, you need to be able to share this and your feelings with others. Earlier this week I was discussing this with the former Chairman one of the UK’s major PLC’s. One of his proudest achievements was that he had got his board to a place where people could express how they were feeling – that they were angry, sad, afraid – whatever it was they were feeling. And expressing it in a clear way and not acting out – for example if I am angry, I can express that cleanly and clearly rather than thumping the table, shouting, shaming people or going off in a huff. And I remember with embarrassment how I used to act out when I was angry.

So for me, it’s becoming clearer and clearer that the journey to the heart starts with me, for there is no other place I can start. And yes, I do feel that I now understand myself and that I did not 4 years ago!

And in case you were wondering, my life purpose (or mission) is that I help create a hearftul world, by encouraging leaders to open their hearts, starting with my own.

With heart,



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