”Putting joy and respect at the centre of my work is the fuel that makes me happy. Financial success is the by-product.” Mary Portas UK retail expert.
In a recent newspaper magazine the UK retail expert talks about her new business philosophy and one that she states as ”a simple philosophy, and one that I wish I had discovered years ago.” Having worked with Save The Children in revamping some of their shops into ‘Mary’s Living and Giving’ shops and raising £11m for the charity, Portas was inspired by the volunteers that worked for free in the shops: ”they had a sense of duty,..they would turn up every day, same time, and do their thing. It was gorgeous”. This inspiration led her to completely re-brand her retail agency, ‘Portas’, to be more aligned with the culture of these shops, changing a company in ”the tough world of marketing and communications” with as she put it ”the traditional masculine business approach of profit, competition, you’re fired’, to a company based on a philosophy of giving, with a culture based on trust, respect, kindness and emotion, and she says, with great results.
How? By bringing heart into her business.
Another example: the CEO of the US company Vaynermedia, is so committed to creating a positive culture for his workforce that he has created the role of Chief Heart Officer – what a fantastic title! Seen as the CEO’s 2nd in command, Claude Silver describes her job as ‘serving others and mentoring a workforce of 750’. Talking to Forbes this month she says of her relationship with the workforce “I work for them they don’t work for me. I am here to be of service.”
Employing a Chief Heart Officer is a major statement by a company of how they view their workforce – but we can all contribute to a great culture ourselves, every day, and generate one including joy, respect and compassion, all by bringing our hearts to work.
Here are some tips on bringing this to the workplace every day:
- Question any old & formal processes, are they needed for real compliance or a legacy from the 1970’s that de humanise culture?
- Remember that where you work is actually a group of human beings that service others in some way – all wanting do to their best.
- Most of us conform to what we find at work. Be innovative and look at things as you would if it were your own company or life, and make positive changes.
- Be yourself, not who you think you should be. Work to drop any mask you wear at work, any self-consciousness and be the real you, humanising the workplace.
- Have courage to speak up positively and make a difference via the decision makers.
- As a leader or manager – connect regularly with your team, and show your human side; admit mistakes and show vulnerability.
- Smile, enjoy what you are doing, and do it in a way that reflects the very best of what you are good at, and truly reflects you at heart.