harvard business review

The Heart of Business

Tuesday, May 25, 2021
19:00 to 20:00

A year of unprecedented change has prompted leaders to rethink the purpose of business, and the public to expect more from them. While stakeholder capitalism sounds like the solution, many companies and leaders fear they can’t afford it, doubt its effectiveness, or are not sure where to begin and how to move forward - especially during a global crisis.

In THE HEART OF BUSINESS: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism (Harvard Business Review Press; May 4, 2021), Hubert Joly—former CEO of Best Buy and orchestrator of the retailer’s spectacular turnaround — unveils his personal philosophy to achieving extraordinary outcomes for all stakeholders by putting purpose and people first.

According to Joly, the “Heart of Business” is about pursuing a noble purpose, putting people at the center, creating an environment where every employee can blossom, and treating profit as an outcome, not the goal. At the heart of business is the idea that “work is love made visible” and that companies can be a force for good by serving people.

Joly’s approach is easy to understand; putting it into practice is harder. It requires a radical rethink of how we view work, how we define companies, how we motivate, and how we lead. To help with this journey, Joly shares memorable stories, lessons, and practical advice, many drawn from his own personal transformation from a hard-charging McKinsey consultant to a leader who believes in human magic.

Joly has written THE HEART OF BUSINESS as a guide for leaders who are ready to abandon old paradigms and eager to lead with purpose and humanity. It touches on:

  • How to place a noble purpose as the cornerstone of a company’s strategy and align all stakeholders around that purpose. For Best Buy, that purpose is enriching people’s lives through technology. And it allowed them to form genuine partnerships with the world’s foremost companies, including unlikely allies like Amazon, to the benefit of all.
  • How to turn around a business by putting people first; reducing headcount as a last resort.
  • How to unleash “human magic” for outcomes that defy logic. This includes an actionable commitment to diversity and inclusion, such as the reverse mentor program that pairs Best Buy executives with employees who help broaden their understanding of difference.
  • How to become a purposeful leader focused on creating an environment in which others can flourish and perform at their best, and who inspires by showing vulnerability and embracing their and your humanity.

As we face an array of issues from political polarization and the need for racial justice to the pandemic and climate change, THE HEART OF BUSINESS is an urgent call for the re-foundation of business and capitalism — and the playbook for how to do it.