Andrew Thornton on ‘Are you optimising your Human Potential?’

First off, happy New Year – may 2017 be fun and fulfilling for you!

For years, I have been convinced that if you could measure the ‘collective’ heartbeat of a company, you could predict its long-term performance in a far more reliable way than by looking at quarterly accounts. In the same way that medics can track the likely health risks to us humans by regularly measuring such things are heart rate and blood pressure.

By collective heartbeat, I mean how people in the company are feeling – feeling about their work, their workplace, their colleagues and their life in general. I believe that if companies who have got into difficulties had managed to do this, they would get early warning signs – in the same way that regular medical check-ups can help flag up concerns before they become fatal. Having been close to both Tesco and BP in the years before their share price collapse, I am very confidence that a ‘Heart Index’ would have pre-warned shareholders of trouble ahead.

As regular readers of my blog will know, we have made great progress with applying our Heart in Business principles at Thornton’s Budgens – sales are currently up 4% (vs a market where most of our competitors are down and the Budgens Franchise chain is down around 5%), our profit margin is up 1.5 points on last year and our average length of service is ahead of competitors. And while I see a link – we change how we are working with our team and our sales go up – when it comes to scientific analysis, the ‘why’ bit is missing.

Logic can explain this – our coaching and team workshops have helped people in the store to become more empowered – to better believe in themselves and their abilities, to focus on what they are good at doing, to feel that they can be more honest and open with colleagues. In short, I believe they have more energy – I can feel it, customers can feel it – yet can you measure it?

Over the summer, I was introduced to an organisation called Being at Full Potential who do just that. Through an online survey, they measure the heartbeat of a company and translate this into a “Human Potential Index” – which shows how much of the human potential of a company’s workforce is being used. As we speak, all of us at Thornton’s Budgens are completing the survey – I did mine on Monday (it took about 20 mins).

The results will allow us see how much of our collective potential we are using; and look at how each individuals’ results combine to affect our overall performance as a company – by impacting on six Organisational Performance Metrics – namely Customer Orientation, Trustworthiness, Getting Things Done, Self Leadership, Inventiveness and Employee Engagement. How we all collectively feel about our work will affect each of these metrics and can be measured.

From these results, we can start to form hypothesis’ as to why we are how we are and what changes we’d like to affect to continue to develop as an organisation and as a group of individuals within it.

To aid with this, if people agree, we can produce an individual report for them – which my Heart in Business Limited colleagues can use to coach them with.

As we do not have a pre-measure (it would have been great if we had measured this 3 years ago), another Budgens Franchise in London has agreed to be our ‘control’ measure – so we will be able to see how we perform as compared to them.

I am hopeful that by early March we will be able to complete the picture and the links – change your approach to managing people by being more heartful, raise peoples’ energy levels and the overall financial performance of the company will improve.

I believe this will be a powerful tool to convince other CEO’s that the heartful approach to business makes so much more sense.

Watch this space!

Warm Wishes for 2017