In our current fast-paced, overly competitive, and profit-driven landscape, the pursuit of success often overshadows the human aspect of our lives, align with the heart and soul of business.
We are losing our sense of connection more and more these days. More and more people feel detached, disengaged, undervalued, overworked, stressed, overwhelmed, and simply lost.
The rates of job turnover, burnout, and mental disorders are on the rise. Somehow we’ve lost sight of the power of connection, and the value of people. We’ve lost a bit of our humanity, and our heart.
However, the time has come to reevaluate our current landscape, and how we are operating together in the world. We need to reintroduce heart and humanity into the framework of business for starters.
For, it’s only in learning to feed the soul of business, that we can create deeper, richer, connected cultures and communities.
The soul of business encompasses the ethical, emotional, and cultural aspects of an organization that not only drive profit but also nurture and nourish the deeper purpose and mission of a company, as well.
It is rooted in the core values, purpose, and overarching mission that transcend mere profits. It resides in the integrity and ethical compass guiding every decision, along with the cultural identity that shapes the company’s behavior and relationships.
The soul of business thrives on meaningful connections.
We need to lose this notion of “it’s business it shouldn’t be personal” as it creates one of the biggest missed opportunities for most organizations. It takes the human element out of the equation.
Companies often see a “lack of trust” as one of their top dysfunctions and fail to connect-the-dots back to adages such as this. To create a meaningful shift, it starts with valuing people and bringing heart back to the equation.
Culture is a function of people.
The culture within a company forms its soul. It encompasses the values, traditions, and behaviors that shape the collective identity. Each person’s heartbeat and soul contribute to that of the overall organization.
Building a positive and inclusive culture encourages creativity, innovation, resiliency, and adaptability. It’s about fostering an environment where diverse perspectives are not just welcomed, but celebrated, and invited into a space where individuals feel a sense of belonging and purpose.
It’s about going beyond the mere exchange of goods or services, but rather, it’s about understanding, empathizing, and nurturing relationships with employees, on teams, with clients, and within the community.
Relationships being the key.
From there, you then are equipped to actively listen to and serve clients, and explore ways to give back to your community.
Emotional intelligence, empathy, and heart-skills (notice I didn’t say “soft skills) plays a vital role in these connections, as they foster trust, loyalty collaboration, and ultimately fueling greater sustainable growth.
When we don’t make our environments and organizations about people first, we lose the very essence of what sets us apart. And, we simply become another machine spitting out stuff.
People desperately want to feel connected to something.
Whether it be connected to a mission, to a movement, to a powerful “why,” or to a way in which they feel they bring real value, people long to feel as it they are bringing something to the table. Most are actually seeking out deeper fulfillment versus greater achievements.
This requires inviting individuals into the soul of a business, and creating an environment of love, trust, openness, and vulnerability for people to feel they can perform at their highest and best levels.
If individuals don’t feel seen, heard, valued, respected and loved … they hold back their genius, their greatness and their gifts. The retreat into CYA (cover your ass) mentality and a protective shell … only doing what’s required and not stepping out into more.
Business only happens because of people. And, each person has a soul, a heartbeat, that contributes to the larger soul of an organization.
WITHOUT IT, A BUSINESS CANNOT EXIST!
Products and services don’t sell themselves. It takes people. When heart is added into the equation, people are able to empower themselves to take risk and to challenge the status quo. They lean in, the amplify their leadership voice, and they bring solutions to problems.
They dare to be courageous, creative, innovative, and are willing to have real, open conversations around how to move the needle forward, thus serving their teams and clients from a higher level.
One of the things missing in companies today is a purposeful focus on emotional intelligence, cultural intelligence, and people intelligence, particularly when it comes to leadership.
In addition, more organizations don’t realize or acknowledge that leadership is a choice, and everyone’s opportunity, as it’s a function of how people choose to show up, how they choose to serve, and how they choose to take personal responsibility. Leadership is also a team sport.
In rich, connected cultures, each individual feels empowered to lead from where they are with the gifts and talents they possess. As such, they take greater initiative and ownership around their role within the organization.
When individuals realize that leadership is a choice, and one in which they will be nurtured and supported for growth, they rise up to challenges and shine. This all happens ONLY when we choose to lead from love, with love.
Embracing the soul of business isn’t just an idealistic pursuit. It’s a strategic, intentional move. Companies that prioritize bringing heart back, and feeding the soul of their business experience numerous benefits.
So, how can we start to bring more heart back? A few things to consider:
People Are the Heartbeat
First, we must remember that at the core of any business are people: your employees, teams, clients, and communities. It goes beyond the lip service of many leaders who profess it’s “people first” to actually creating and cultivating a culture that walks that talk.
For most organizations, the emphasis on productivity, throughput, efficiency, and financial gains takes first priority … despite what they say, especially when push comes to shove, and things get tough. This result in a detachment from the human side of their operations.
It’s amazing how many companies that spout “people first” will throw said people under the bus when the financials falter, or they is a need to pivot.
When profit is first it almost always comes at the expense of people.
Nevertheless, businesses are not just entities producing a widget, a product, or offering a service. They are composed of real people, with real heartbeats, whose experiences, expertise, knowledge, passion, emotions, and motivations are the real assets of the organization and should not be so easily disregarded in the pursuit of profits.
Business Should Be Personal
While profit is absolutely critical and a necessary metric for a thriving and sustainable business, a myopic focus on it alone can lead to a slew of negative repercussions, such as: employee burnout, disengagement, lack of trust, feeling undervalued, and customer dissatisfaction.
Realigning the scales to balance profit with purpose is a key factor in bringing more heart and humanity back to an organization. A healthy, sustainable, and thriving business need both.
Feeding the soul of business needs to be both a priority and commitment.
By creating connected cultures that allow people to shine and feel valued, contributing to the community in positive ways, and fostering ethical standards and practices, the company then creates meaningful impact. Through this approach, the company becomes profitable, as well.
Creating A Ripple Effect
Third, a business that embraces the notion of bringing more heart and humanity back also catalyzes a chain reaction of positive outcomes.
Employee morale, trust, and loyalty increase, leading to greater innovation, creativity, and productivity. Customers are delighted to be served at the highest level, and become more engaged, resulting in greater growth.
A business built with heart is one that recognizes the importance of empathy, integrity, kindness, compassion, and grace. It understands that the welfare of its employees directly impacts productivity and innovation.
By feeding the soul of your business, you promote an environment where individuals feel seen, heard, valued, and respected. Thus, collaboration flourishes, ideas are generated, the well-being of stakeholders is a priority, and the fire of passion is stoked for greater engagement, where employees feel tremendous pride and connection to their work.
Employees lean in, as they want to enhance the quality of their work. They think about how they can serve more and better. They begin to function as a high-performing team, and they feel a deeper, more meaningful sense of purpose and ownership to the outcomes.
The time is now. We need to reshape our perspectives, shift our mindset, and move beyond pure profit as the soile value to a business.
It’s time to infuse heart back into our businesses.
Business leaders seeking to feed the soul of their companies should start by defining and reinforcing core values, ethical standards, fostering open communication, nurturing emotional intelligence, integrating a sense of play, and cultivating a diverse and inclusive cultural environment.
These deliberate practices and inspired actions create a fertile ground for the soul of the business to flourish.
It’s not just a choice, but a responsibility towards a more sustainable and humane future. It’s time to shift the narrative from merely profit-focused to soul-nourishing business practices. It’s time to shift consciousness and raise the level of leadership, overall.