What is at the Heart of a Business?
For this author, Tim's TED Talk raises some important questions
The heart is central to the survival of human beings. If our heart stops beating we die. We know this, so we take good care of it. We exercise, we eat healthily, we avoid stress and ensure a well balance happy life – at least this is what most of us strive for.
So what about the heart of a business? Where and what is the heart of a business? At Baobab Growth we believe people are the heart of a business. After all it is the people who go the extra mile to make it happen – or get in the way and stop it happening!
In many organisations today, the individual isn’t seen as important. Businesses are bottom line focused and results driven. Businesses are outward looking and are being led by the brain. The core values are forgotten and money and profit have become the driving force behind most businesses. What we seem to have forgotten is that for the brain to work we need a strong heart. We need to look inside the organisation, we need to ensure the people are working to their optimum. To do this they need to be happy, feel valued and rewarded for their achievements. When we do look inside a business today we often find an unhealthy heart where the business and individual values and beliefs are misaligned and therefore not working to achieve the best outcome for either the business or the individual.
In our bodies the heart gives oxygenated, life giving blood to the whole body; it doesn’t get hung up on what it has been given – it gives. People have the potential to provide the life blood to the whole organisation; to make it grow and flourish. This is what people will naturally do – the human naturally fights for life – never giving up hope and fighting for survival. If we don’t look after the business heart, the people, then the business will suffer. If the people are not looked after and kept healthy, then they will not perform to their best, the business will stop growing and will start to die.
So how do we look after the people, after all, people are complicated and difficult to manage. Everyone is different; it can be challenging and time consuming working with people. In this hi-tech age with so many processes being automated, is it really worth investing so much time and energy in people?
At Baobab Growth we think Tim Leberecht, a humanist from silicon valley, has an interesting view on how to keep the business heart healthy. He sees many of our business processes are being taken over by machines and the work left he calls the ‘beautiful work’. He talks about building the human company and suggests 4 ways to ensure strength and success.
Do the unnecessary – be inspirational, surprise staff in a caring unexpected way
Create intimacy – ensure great relationships, it is small gestures and consideration that develop strong trusting relationships.
Be ugly – people are obsessed with how they look – everything has to look good – this is not real and is only skin deep. The business needs to be authentic. It doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun or must give in to the vulgar or cynical, but it does mean that you should speak the actual ugly truth.
Remain incomplete – keep asking questions and allow everyone to speak, a business is never finished and can always improve and grow.
According to Tim Leberecht the qualities of beautiful organisations need a new radical humanism. Because if we don’t, we might end up feeling like aliens in organisations and societies that are full of smart machines that have no appreciation whatsoever for the unnecessary, the intimate, the incomplete and definitely not for the ugly. Read more:
People, the heart of the business, need to be healthy, happy and engaged to enable the business to grow and succeed. We need to take good care of our business heart!
This article originally appeared on Baobabgrowth.