A business “electro-cardiogram”

A business “electro-cardiogram”

How can you improve the heart
of your organization and learn
how to unleash human magic?

Assess the Heart of Your Business

Based on the principles outlined in The Heart of Business, this is a tool to help you quickly assess the “heart of your business”. It will help you highlight areas where you can develop your ability to unleash human magic.


A business “electro-cardiogram”

20 brief questions

Move the slider left or right according to your
most appropriate answer.

Part I: You
Part I: You
How often do you feel that work is boring and not exciting?
Almost Always Never
How well does your job connect with what drives you in life, your life’s purpose?
Very Poorly Extremely Well
Part II: Your Company
Part II: Your Company
To what extent has the company you work at done a good job of articulating an inspiring purpose?
Terrible Job Wonderful Job
How well does your company’s strategy reflect its purpose?
Very Poorly Extremely Well
How well does the way your company relates to its employees, customers, vendors, local communities and shareholders align with its purpose?
Very Poorly Extremely Well
Part III: Your Team
Part III: Your Team
How much positive energy do you feel exists in your team?
My team is
completely drained
A ton!
To what extent are your team members able to write themselves into the story of the organization?
A great deal It is not what
drives my team
How well do you know what drives your team members, what gives them energy?
I don’t really Intimately
To what extent are you working with your team members to help them achieve their purpose?
Not at all Systematically
To what extent do you feel you are seen as a unique individual at work?
Not at all Fully
To what extent do you believe your team members have that sense?
Not at all Fully
To what extent do you feel your team members have the autonomy they would like to be their best?
Not at all Fully
How effective are you at promoting diversity and inclusion at work?
Not at all Fully
How effectively is the company developing each individual based on their unique set of skills?
Not at all Fully
To what extent are you and your company providing your team members the opportunity to grow personally and professionally?
Not at all Fully
Part IV: Your Leadership
Part IV: Your Leadership
How well have you articulated and shared your purpose?
Not at all Clearly and broadly
How well are you helping your team members connect their purpose and the purpose of the company?
Not at all Doing a great job
How effective are you at creating an environment in which others can thrive and flourish?
Not at all Very effective
How effective are you at serving others? Versus serving yourself or your boss?
Not at all Very effective
Are you doing your best to be authentic, approachable and vulnerable?
Not at all Doing a great job

Your overall score

% of maximum potential

Use the tools below to reflect on areas you’d like to improve

Part I: You
Part I: You

Your score: % of maximum potential

Defining what drives you, your life purpose is a key foundation here. And then, it is about defining how your job can connect with your life purpose, your why.

Here are some tips to explore this:

Finding your Purpose.

There are multiple ways to discover your purpose. Here are some potentially useful questions for you to reflect on:

  • What drives you?
  • What gives you energy?
  • What would you like to see included in your eulogy?
  • What is at the intersection of what you love, what you are good at, what the world needs,and what you can get paid for?

Connecting your Purpose and your Job.

Finding meaning and purpose is not restricted to jobs that involve saving lives. It can apply to all kinds of work. The key is often to see beyond the “what” of a job to uncover the “why”. I love the story of two masons during the Middle Ages, performing the exact same tasks, who were asked about their work. “Don’t you see? I’m cutting stones,” said the first one, whereas the second took an entirely different view. “I’m building a cathedral,” he replied. We get to choose our purpose, and we get to consider how our work is connected to that purpose.

To learn more, read chapters 1 to 3 of The Heart of Business.


Part II: Your Company
Part II: Your Company

Your score: % of maximum potential

At The Heart of Business is the idea that business is about pursuing a noble purpose, putting people at the center, embracing all stakeholders in support of that purpose, and treating profit as an outcome, not the goal. This approach is easy to understand but putting it into practice is not so easy.

Here are some tips to explore this:

Making a Noble Purpose the Keystone of the Company’s Strategy.

Many companies have articulated a Purpose or a Mission. To make it real, the next step is to translate that Purpose into specific strategies. Best Buy’s noble purpose of enriching lives through technology did not just stay on some presentation slide. It fundamentally changed our strategy and how we did business. It unleashed significant innovation and growth. After several months of intense data analysis, we identified entertainment, productivity, communications, food, security, and health and wellness as the key human needs we wanted to address. This is where we could enrich lives through technology. And we would do it by moving from a business focused on transactions and selling products to one that developed solutions and lasting customer relationships.

Embracing and Mobilizing All Stakeholders.

The company’s relationship with each group of stakeholders should be reviewed in the context of pursuing the chosen purpose, and with the mindset of refusing zero-sum games. In my view, 98 percent of questions asked as either/or are better answered with “and.” Should we focus on cost or revenues? Cost or quality? Should we take care of our customers or our employees or our shareholders? Should we partner with our vendors or compete? Should we worry about the environment and the community or focus on profits? Should we focus on the long term or short term? I now believe that these either/or questions are artificial trade-offs. We maximize performance not by choosing between stakeholders, but by embracing and mobilizing all of them. We choose employees and customers and shareholders and the community.

To learn more, read chapters 4 to 7 of The Heart of Business.


Part III: Your Team
Part III: Your Team

Your score: % of maximum potential

The old approach to management—having a few smart people formulate a strategy, craft an elaborate implementation plan, communicate the plan to everyone else, and put in place incentives to mobilize people around the plan—rarely works. We need an alternative to that outdated management approach, one that can unleash what I call human magic. We need to create an environment where everyone at the company is energized in support of a great cause. When coupled with a sound strategy, this can result in extraordinary performance. This is the human dimension that powers corporations as purposeful human organizations.

Here are some tips to explore this. I believe the recipe for creating an environment where every employee can blossom is made of five key ingredients:

Connecting individual search for meaning with the company’s noble purpose.

“What is your dream?” Jason, the manager at the Best Buy South Bay Best Buy store in Dorchester, south of Boston, asked every single person on his team this question. Every associate’s answer was written on a whiteboard in the break room, next to their name. After writing it down, Jason would always tell them, “Let’s work together to help you achieve it.” Framing the Company’s Purpose in a Meaningful, Human and Authentic Fashion will help facilitate making the connection between individual dreams and the purpose of the company.

Fostering autonomy.

According to Daniel Pink, human beings have an innate inner drive to be autonomous, self-determined, and connected to one another. And when that drive is liberated, people achieve more and live richer lives.

Growing mastery.

This can be accomplished by focusing on effort rather than results, developing individuals rather than the masses, and making space for failure.

Developing authentic human connections.

Companies are not soulless entities; they are human organizations made of individuals working together toward a common purpose. To unleash human magic, everyone must feel at home, fully valued for who they are, with the space and freedom to be themselves. Only then can people bring their best selves at work. Such environments get created by: fostering respect, treating everyone as an individual, creating a safe and transparent environment to build trust, encouraging vulnerability, and ensuring diversity and inclusion.

Nurturing a growth environment.

Growth is an essential ingredient of unleashing human magic. It is hard to feel energized, creative, and ready to take risks in a context of stagnation, contraction, fear, uncertainty, or doubt. A sense of endless possibilities—both for oneself and for the business in pursuit of a noble purpose—fuel inner drive, positive energy, and the desire to bring one’s best self to the table.

To learn more, read chapters 8 to 13 of The Heart of Business.


Part IV: Your Leadership
Part IV: Your Leadership

Your score: % of maximum potential

The model of the leader as a smart, powerful, super-hero is outdated. Today’s leaders have to be purposeful, be clear about whom they serve, be conscious of what their true role is, be driven by values, and be authentic—the five “Be’s” of the purposeful leader.

Here are what I believe are the attributes of a successful leader today, the five “Be’s” of purposeful leadership:

  1. Be clear about your purpose, the purpose of people around you, and how it connects with the purpose of the company.
  2. Be clear about your role as a leader: it is not to be the smartest person in the room, but to create an environment where everyone can blossom.
  3. Be clear about who you serve: cannot primarily be you, or your boss. It has to be about serving people on the front line.
  1. Be values-driven: not just talking about them, but embodying them.
  2. Be authentic. Like many leaders of my generation, I long believed that emotions were not meant to be shared in a business context. But vulnerability is at the heart of social connection, and social connection is at the heart of business. I had a lot to unlearn, and it took me a lifetime to embrace the fifth, and for me by far the hardest, “Be”: be yourself, your true self, your whole self, the best version of yourself. Be vulnerable. Be authentic.
To learn more, read chapters 14 and 15 of The Heart of Business.