Heart Resuscitation at Thornton’s Budgens

HiBL final logo with strapline

Heart in Business Limited has grown out of Thornton’s Budgens, which I have been running heartfully since it was created in 2006.

And it is based on the approaches that each of the founders have used to transform companies. We have turned all those experiences into a 9-step process (heartinbusiness.org). We have named step 2, ‘Heart Resuscitation’ as it literally gets the companies heart pumping again. After years of being what I considered a heartful company, when we applied it to Thornton’s Budgens, it transformed how we were.

Prior to that we had a classic structure with me as leader, Jim as store manager and Shanthy doing the numbers (we’re not big on job titles here!). While I spent a fair bit of time doing the things I love, my colleagues felt that there were things I ‘should’ do that I hated – the most extreme example being attending the monthly stock meeting. I found this boring and now realise I was a disruptive influence on it, as I just wanted to get it over with.

Through this work, we saw that Shanthy could contribute so much more than she was, as she sees things very differently from Jim or I. Even though Shanthy and I have worked together for 20+ years, I had not seen this wisdom and clarity, although as soon as Chris (from Heart in Business Limited) said it, I immediately got what he meant. And from her point of view, she did not have the confidence to step outside her ‘numbers’ comfort zone. With our encouragement and coaching from Chris, she is now effectively our COO. Her insight allows her and Jim to see what the priorities are, allowing Jim to then focus on what he loves and does best – running the shop. As for me, I now have four responsibilities, all of which I love and am very good at doing:

  1. The holder of the vision and values of the company.
  2. Innovation.
  3. The customer representative on the board.
  4. The conscience of the company.

And, no more stock meetings for me! I feel much more energised at work and in life in general, and I much more time and energy to apply to Heart in Business Limited knowing that the store is in safe hands.

And we have a much more open and honest relationship between the three of us. For example, I love innovating – one of the team once called me an ‘ideas factory’. In the past Jim would nod and say fine with each new idea I had, even though he often wondered how effective some of them would be. Now he is really clear in how much change ‘the shop’ can handle and forces us all to prioritise what we do. And I am no longer allowed to run off with the next idea until the last one is properly implemented; leading to less but much more effective innovation and better business results.

Following each of us ‘stepping up’, we have founded a store council where 7 team members have joined the three of us on the ‘board’ making key decisions. Together we have decided to appoint 5 team coaches to apply the Heart Resuscitation approach to the entire company. We used one of the tools from the Heart Resuscitation process in the internal recruitment process and as I write, Jahid, Charm, Surma, Reginald and Rasa have just had their first coaching session. They emerged energised and ready to help us take Thornton’s Budgens to the next level of heartfulness and performance. Watch this space for developments!

With heart,