Guest Commentary: Dr. John Passante Asks: 'Can (and Should) a Business Have a Heart and Soul?' - aftermarketNews

Guest Commentary: Dr. John Passante Asks: ‘Can (and Should) a Business Have a Heart and Soul?’

"People give the business its spirit, its freshness and they are the face of the company to the customer, investors, vendors and the public. People have knowledge about your business, opinions and the ability to influence the success of the business. They are the heartbeat of the company. Their loyalty, commitment and recommendations are paramount to long-term growth," Passante writes.

The success of any business enterprise is based on increasing profit, revenue and market share. The key elements of an organization are its product, processes, distribution, customer base, image, customer service, its ability to innovate and adapt quickly to global market conditions and the quality of its people. Obviously, this is a tall order.

For those of us who toil in today’s automotive aftermarket, I would like to pose the following question: Can and should a business have a heart and soul?

I am sure that many hard-charging, bottom line-driven leaders would respond to this question in a negative fashion. (Perhaps) I appreciate their point of view.

Ponder the following: True leaders are accountable to provide direction and creative vision of the future. With that vision, they need to view the business through a different lens. The lifeblood of any enterprise is fresh ideas (innovation), which drive profitability and sustain the future. In effect, businesses must continue to reinvent themselves in order to offer new products, services or processes that contribute to the long-term success of the business. Innovation is the lifeblood of any organization.

The heart of the business is the people, and the company culture both supports and requires this fact or it does not!

People give the business its spirit, its freshness, and they are the face of the company to the customer, investors, vendors and the public. People have knowledge about your business, opinions and the ability to influence the success of the business. They are the heartbeat of the company. Their loyalty, commitment and recommendations are paramount to long-term growth.

The factor most influencing the “heart” of a living organization is touch — the ability to truly touch the customer and respond in kind to their needs. Employees are, in fact, the company image. As are the company’s advertising and marketing messages. Human beings emote, laugh, listen and can show compassion to others, while computers cannot. This is the essence of heart.

The elements of corporate “soul” are purpose, passion, courage and striving for greater achievements. Soul is the fire that motivates employees and encourages them to dream big. It fuels excitement and a feeling of belonging to something special.

Soul is moral fiber and compass that guides the organization to exceed business objectives and to do good at the same time!

A relationship-based organization is solidly anchored in soul!

Some people say, “Come on, markets are not about morals, they are about profits.” I say this is old thinking. That’s a false choice.

“The great companies will be the ones that find a way to have a hold on to their values while chasing their profits and brand value will converge to create a new business model that unites commerce and compassion. The heart and the wallet … The great companies of this century will be sharp to success and at the same time sensitive to the idea that you can’t measure the true success of a company on a spreadsheet.” – Bono

What is your choice?

The book "Trust Agents" states that, “A leader with soul acts as a human artist, a person who understands the so-called ‘soft skills.’”

Now, if the human side of business is so difficult, why is it called the soft side? Empowering people to succeed, working on how the business fits into an ecosystem and an awareness of what the customer is dealing with — this the heart and soul.

The question is, does your business have or desire a heart and soul? Perhaps now is the time for a 100,000-mile check-up.

YOU GOTTA HAVE SOUL!

S – Service, responding to the needs of customers, employees, vendors and all of the shareholders
O – Open to risk taking and change
U – Understanding the importance of its employees
L – Loyal to its associates in good times and in bad times

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