Andrew Thornton on why there is resistance to putting the Heart back into Business?

As I have written about here and elsewhere, with our case study we have proven that the heart work we undertake in businesses grows sales – it does that by tapping into more of the Human Potential of an organisation. In our case study, we have shown that in Thornton’s Budgens, we access 8% more of our Human Potential and our sales are 10% higher as a result.

Given this, and indeed, other studies which show that businesses with a purpose outperform those without, why aren’t all businesses doing this? It seems to me that we have evolved a business model that is driven by short-term profits and an ever more desperate scramble to keep growing them.

A friend wrote to me today sharing why he had left one of the major investment banks after 11 years, “the last two years of which were very challenging as I was leading on a new business that was taking time to grow and the impatience of the NY mothership was relentless”.  Does this ring a bell with you?  It is certainly why I left the ‘corporate world’ 11 years ago.

This world is deeply competitive with people being set up against each other in the hope to drive better performance – the world of politics, backstabbing, short-term focus – a world where almost everything, and in some cases everything, is expendable to hit those profit targets. Like with my friend, there is a feeling of relentlessness – and it is exhausting.  No wonder that in a global survey of people in organisations, researchers Gallup found that 87% were emotionally disconnected from their work.

Contrast this to a heartful organization where people are in-flow (doing the work they love and are good at), people are supported to step up where their natural talents lie, where teams are open and honest with each other, cleanly communicating issues that arise. Where the impact on all stakeholders are considered and, as we have shown in the case study, returns flow to the shareholders.

Sharing this FTSE 100 Chairman, he felt that 5% of CEO’s would have both the wisdom and the courage to do this and jump off the hamster wheel.  The wisdom to see that this is so much better for the shareholders in the longer-term and the courage to go against convention.  My hypothesis is that there are two situations where a CEO might do this.  Either the business is performing well, the CEO is well established and has plenty of goodwill build up with the city, but they are personally dissatisfied with how things are – probably in their late 40’s wondering if they can really spend another 20 years of this ‘relentless’ pressure.  Or secondly, there is a business crisis and a radical approach is needed if there is any chance of saving the business.

I believe it is in these two places that we will find those 5% of CEOs.  Those who are prepared to give the heart approach a try.  Right now, that is enough, as those pioneers are showing there is a better way, and I believe slowly and surely this way of doing business will become more and more established.

If you are one of those 5%, give me a call and we can compare notes.

With heart

Andrew Isaac Thornton

To read more about our approach:

Huffington Post Blog

The Grocer visits Thornton’s Budgens