The Heart of Business


Hubert Joly

In the book, The Heart of Business by Hubert Joly, the author focuses on four major themes.

The first is a different approach to work.  The author believes that work does not have to be viewed as a curse or something to be dreaded and that work is fundamental to who we are as humans.  Work can have meaning, help us grow, become more confident and fulfilled.  Work is also important for social connections, something many people felt the lack of during the pandemic.

The second theme is an alternative view of the role and nature of companies.  Simply put, Joly believes that the singular focus of a company is not to maximize shareholder value.  He believes that profitability is an outcome when you focus on the wellbeing of all stakeholders including employees, customers, partners and shareholders.  He believes a company should have a noble purpose that drives its actions and helps motivate employees.

The third theme is a perspective on creating an environment necessary for ultimate performance.  Joly calls this unleashing of the potential within an individual “human magic”.  He highlights coaching over traditional performance reviews and shares inspiring examples of achievements when we bring out the best in an individual.

And lastly, Joly describes the shifting the view of leadership for what he believes is the next era of capitalism and lists the five “Be’s” for leadership of the future.  He also believes that one can become a leader with hard work, self-awareness and a growth mindset.

Many of Joly’s thoughts and examples of other successful company actions we have heard before; however, there is some new and useful content.  For example, I appreciated the author’s  authenticity in repeatedly describing how difficult it was to receive feedback.  I thought his vulnerability was humbling.  I also appreciated his ability to recall and share snippets of conversations and new insights from other leaders that stuck with him and shaped his thinking.  These are good nuggets to tuck away and revisit in the future when needed. Finally, Joly shares the actions taken to empower and lift employees at Best Buy and I enjoy these practical examples.

The Heart Of Business reinforces some ideas and beliefs that have been circulated for a long time but also sprinkles in some new thoughts, actions and humility. If you want reinforcement of many existing ideas and a little bit of new thinking, The Heart of Business might be for you.