Sorry POTUS, But Good Business Does Require Heart

I recently read this quote attributed to President Trump:

Here, everything, pretty much everything you do in government involves heart, whereas in business most things don’t involve heart. In fact, in business you’re actually better off without it.

My take: No, no, no! This is wrong-minded, and very outdated thinking. To succeed, businesses must make emotional connections with customers, employees, and partners. The idea that success comes from being heartless promotes the debunked view that companies exist only to create value for shareholders. Here’s one of the points that I make in Modernized Leadership, which is an update to leadership theory:

Management focus has been driven by economists like Milton Friedman who argued that corporate officials have one core responsibility: making as much money as possible for their shareholders. But the value that a company creates comes from a combination of resources contributed by different constituencies (not just investors) who’s returns should also be maximized, especially employees who contribute their knowledge and skills.

POTUS is free to view his businesses as heartless entities that exist to increase his net worth. But I am hopeful that other leaders and emerging leaders don’t follow his lead. Even Jack Welch has rebutted the blind focus on shareholder value:

On the face of it, shareholder value is the dumbest idea in the world. Shareholder value is a result, not a strategy… Your main constituencies are your employees, your customers and your products.

If you’re a leader, than I hope that you focus on engaging the hearts and minds of your employees, customers, and partners. Creating value for an entire eco-system is more sustainable and rewarding than counting your profits.

The bottom line: Businesses need even more heart.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA.org), and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile: www.linkedin.com/in/brucetemkin

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