The Power of the Heart: Part 3 of the Power Grid Series

After brainpower and horsepower comes the third source in the power grid — what I call the power of the heart. The power of the heart is rooted in the idea of culture, which itself is rooted in the Latin word cultura, meaning care. Many overlook this power source, but it should come as no surprise that the best places to work (and the most successful companies) have a culture of caring for their people.

In the latest Global Culture Survey conducted by PwC’s Katzenbach Center, 65 percent of respondents said culture played a bigger role in performance than strategy or operating model. A caring culture combined with the work those people care about is hard to beat. These employees feel like the organization is pouring into them. In turn, they pour into their work with their hearts and minds. It is an ongoing pour-in-pour-out pattern that leads to top-notch outcomes and bottom-line results.

Companies that have heart power are not over the top with their emotions, but they are earnest. They pump oxygen into the organization all the time, which means there is plenty of love and encouragement to go around.

Truett Cathy, founder of Chick-fil-A and man of conscious integrity, was asked once “how do you know if someone needs encouragement?” His response — “If they are breathing.” Plain and simple and so true.

Leaders who fully tapped into this power source lead themselves with their head and others with their heart. It is as if they walk around the office each day with an invisible watering can as they sprinkle words of wisdom and praise on their folks. They do not drown people with it but know how to offer just the right amount. It is not fake either. It comes from the heart. It may be a kind word, a smile or a fist pump. It might be a lunch, a note of affirmation, or a conversation to help solve a problem. But whatever it is, every bit of it is genuine.

Our world has its share of negativity. It is all around us. We are living in contentious times. But that does not thwart the companies with heart. They just keep on going, letting their heart pump out good actions while others observe, admire and feel it.

Three down. Three to go. Next time around, we will talk about the stamina that all preeminent companies tap into — willpower.


To learn about the other sources of power that successful companies tap into, read Glen’s pieces on brainpower and horsepower.