Andrew Thornton on Measurement is key…

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I have spent a lot of this week meeting with a wide diversity of different people and discussing the idea that businesses with a heart are better places to ‘live in’ and better for society. While I know that the people I met where sympathetic to the cause, there were some key issues that came up, one of which was measurement. It was summed up by the partner of an accounting firm who said that finance directors get the fact that the old way of measuring quarterly profits is flawed.  However, they don’t know what to replace it with or how to enhance it and to make it more robust. While the idea of having a heart, happier people, a better cared for environment and more community involvement sounds great, financial directors are paid to measure things. Let’s face it, in today’s business world, financial directors have a very powerful role in the business decision-making process. Subsequently, we need to answer the idea of how to measure a heartful business in the old ‘cash is king’ way.

When we implemented the Heart Programme in Thornton’s Budgens, sales shifted six points. Our mystery shopper scores (our customer reaction measure) went from being inconsistent to a straight 100% every single time. So I know it works. Yesterday, a Portuguese ex-banker asked whether in measuring this, did one ‘risk killing the ‘heart’ of this approach?” My view – absolutely not! While I know in my heart, this way of being works, I recognise that others need the numbers to prove it. My job job and my mission is to to give them those numbers. There is an old adage, “What gets measured, gets done”.

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