The Heart of Business with Hubert Joly

May 4, 2021

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Hubert Joly is the former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Best Buy and is now a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. He is also a member of the board of directors of Johnson & Johnson and Ralph Lauren Corporation, a member of the International Advisory Board of HEC Paris, and a Trustee of the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Joly has been recognized as one of the top 100 CEOs in the world by the Harvard Business Review, one of the top 30 CEOs in the world by Barron’s and one of the top 10 CEOs in the U.S. by Glassdoor.

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John: Welcome to another edition of the Impact Podcast. I’m John Shegerian and I’m so excited today because we have my good friend, Hubert Joly. He’s just written this great book, “The Heart of Business”. He’s also a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. He’s also the past CEO of Best Buy doing one of the greatest turnarounds in American business history. Welcome to the Impact Podcast, Hubert.

Hubert Joly: John, it’s so good to see you. You and I have such wonderful memories of doing great things together. I am so excited about this opportunity to chat with you today.

John: Yes, and I wish we were together because we’ve spent so many wonderful times together before in-person. I know we’ll be back in-person again, as science wins this tragic period that we’re living in. But today, you’re in New York, I’m in Fresno, and we’re going to be together on this wonderful Zoom call.

Hubert: Let’s celebrate the opportunity to chat today and the future opportunities to be together.

John: Hundred percent. Hubert, I’ve read this book, my listeners and my viewers know I’m an active reader. When I read, I marked the book up. I write in the book. Your book, I got to tell you, it’s just one of the greatest business books I’ve ever read in my life. The Heart of Business, there’s so much in here. I marked it up so much because there’s just so much in here for our listeners, our viewers, and our readers to unpack. But before we get to this, I want you to share a little bit about your background first leading up to becoming the CEO in 2012 of Best Buy. Share a little bit about your education and your other work experience before coming to Best Buy.

Hubert: Thank you, John. Thank you for your very kind words about the book. I grew up in France and I had three brothers. I went to business school. I was classically trained, and in many ways and that’s part of the transformation. I got some wonderful gray cells from my parents. For a long time, I thought that being a good leader was about being smart and being the smartest person in the room fixing thing. I was deeply analytical and great problem solver. I think the story of my life has been this evolution from using my brain principally to now believing that as a leader, you need to lead with all of your body parts. The brain, of course, but also importantly the heart, the soul, the guts, the eyes, the ears, and what have you.

Hubert: My journey, after McKinsey, I’ve led a number of companies in a variety of industry sectors. I was the president of EDS, the Electronic Data System in France. I was the CEO of a video games company that produced games like Diablo II, World of Warcraft, and a greenlight World of Warcraft in 2000. We had an assembly plant in Fresno, California, so you’ll be familiar with that. I was part of the team in the restructured Vivendi Universal after Vivendi acquired Universal. I work myself out of a job because we sold Universal to GE NBC to form NBCUniversal. Then I was the CEO of another company that was supposed to die. Carlson Wagonlit Travel, a corporate travel management company that was supposed to be killed by the internet, Expedia, and whatnot. Instead, we tripled the size of the company and expanded profitability. Then I moved to Minneapolis in 2008 to become the CEO of Carlson Companies, which is a great Minneapolis-based company, not only in travel but also hospitality with TGI Fridays and hotels such as Radisson, Radisson Blu, Regent, and whatnot.

Hubert: What got me to Best Buy, when I got the call I told that the head-hunting is actually the first words in the book. Jim, you’re crazy, right? I don’t know anything about retail and this place is a mess. I said, “No, no, you have to look at it and your turnaround experience would be a great fit.” Life is not linear, John. There was no plan ever for me to move from France to Minneapolis and one day become the CEO of Best Buy. It just happens.

John: When you were walking into Best Buy, the General Media, the Jim Cramer’s of the world, and the other business pundits already writing it off and saying it was probably going to go the way of RadioShack and Circuit City and other retailers. You walked in and had a big mountain to climb in that turnaround. Talk a little bit about the beginning steps of coming into that.

Hubert: Yeah. So when I joined Best Buy, it was neither crazy nor suicidal and like what some of my friends thought. Because I thought that the world needed Best Buy. Customers needed Best Buy, a place where you could touch and feel and see the products and get advice. The vendors also need Best Buy because they needed a place where to showcase the food of their billions of dollars of R&D investment. The issue with Best Buy, the reason why everybody thought Best Buy was going to die is the problems were all self-inflicted. Meaning quality of service had gone down, the cost structure has been bloated. That was good news because everything that self-inflicted, well, you can fix it, right? You don’t need to ask anybody’s permission to fix it. So that’s why I joined it. I thought that we could turn this around.

Hubert: So, how did I start? Well, John, I spend… You’re not going to be surprised. In my first week at Best Buy, working in stores. I went to St. Cloud, Minnesota. And the reason why I did worked in our store, the reason why I did this is that it’s one of my colleagues at Best Buy told me that you’re not going to be able to lead this company sitting at your desk, looking at spreadsheets. You have to be on the front line, listen to the front liners, and really understand what’s happening. I think it’s general pattern. We said you cannot push a noodle. You have to pull a noodle. I’m not saying Best Buy was a noodle, but you get the point, right? You have to be in the front line. I learned so much, John, listening to the front lines. For example, one of the associates, I will always remember this, you know that the search engine on the Best Buy site is not working. I said, what do you mean? Well, type Cinderella, you’ll get Nikon cameras. I know it rhymes, but it’s not quite the same.

John: Wow.

Hubert: Nobody in the headquarters would have told me that. I also saw that the store layout was a bit antiquated. There was way too much space allocated to physical media, which was, of course, moving away. Also, so that we had not equipped the blue shirts with the tools to do their job, including why should customers buy from Best Buy. Also, there was this phenomenon of showrooming. People coming to our stores and speaking with the associates and then leaving because presumably they could buy online cheaper. And so, that’s the reason why we empowered the blue shirt to match online prices. That’s the reason why we fix the search engine. That’s the reason why we redid the floor space to allocate more space to the growing category. So, we really started by listening to people.

Hubert: So a turnaround, here’s a lesson. Often time for turnaround people say cut, cut, cuts. Close stores, reduce headcount. That’s not what we did. We studied with people, listened to the front liners, make sure you have the right team at the top, and then instead of going to head count reduction, see how you can grow revenue. That’s number one priority. And if you’re going to have to cut cost, start with what we call non-salary expenses, which is all the expenses that have nothing to do with people. So as an example at Best Buy, John, do we sell a lot of TVs at Best Buy? Yes, we do. They’re big and they’re thin, so they break. I like it when you recycle them, but maybe we should recycle them after people have used them. So at the time, we used to break about 200 million dollars worth of TVs everywhere.

Hubert: If you can reduce that by 50%, you’ve saved hundred million dollars, the customers are happy. We made a survey of customers, John. Exactly 0% of customers want to buy a broken TV. So good for the customer, good for the associates, good for us. And so, you only got it count as a last resort and in fact, you may admit positions but you may still want to redeploy people because we’ve done over. So it’s a philosophy that’s a positive philosophy. Start with people. Start with the customer. And the role of the leaders in that case is not to be the smartest person in the room. It’s to listen and then create energy. As leaders, that’s what we do. The way you create energies by co-creating the plan as opposed to telling people what to do it, and getting going and celebrating successes, talking about what’s difficult, being vulnerable, and in working together to solve problems. So in a nutshell, admitting sound easy, but that’s what we did.

John: Unbelievable turn around. Literally one of the greatest turnarounds in American Business history. Let’s unpack some of that. So, one of the first things you did was you went in the stores and you talk about this again in your new book “The Heart of Business”. This is a great book for our listeners and viewers out there. You talk about this terminology called “reverse mentor”. When I first read it in the book, I was not understanding it as much as the way you just explained it. The people on the front line teaching the people sitting in the offices really what’s going on and what time of day it is at that point and what needs to be fixed. Is this something you took from your McKinsey background, your Carlson background, or something that as now a newly mentee in retail that you came up with as you evolve as a leader?

Hubert: I think John, if we step back, the book itself talks a little bit about the Best Buy turnaround. It’s a bigger book. The subtitle is leadership principles for the next era of capitalism. I want to spend a minute on that. Because we have to agree that the world today is facing multiple problems. We have a health crisis. We have an economic crisis. We have social injustice. We have systemic racism. We have, as you all know, you and I, the planet is burning. John, what’s the definition of madness? Doing the same thing and hoping for a different outcome. Whatever we’ve been doing for the last 40 years is not working. We have to fix it. What we’ve been doing from a business standpoint in the last 40 years as a country, as a world, is based on two main ideas. One is shareholder primacy that was Milton Friedman. Two is top-down leadership, that was Bob McNamara. These two ideas, I believe, that’s my opinion, and I talked about it in the book. It’s the root cause of a lot of our problem.

Hubert: We have to change these things. We have to create profit not as the goal but as an outcome. Maybe we’ll come back to that. The companies like Best Buy or your company have to pursue a noble purpose. Do something good in the world. And from the leadership standpoint, yes, the role of the leader is not to be the superhero telling people what to do, but we have to listen. The reverse mentor idea that you talk about John, we applied it in particular when we say to focus on doing a better job with diversity and inclusion and doing our part to end systemic racism, in particular vis-à-vis black African-American colleagues, which is something I say to work on five years ago. Having grown up in France, there’s racism in France. Don’t get me wrong. But it’s different flavor of what we have here.

Hubert: And so, HR team was trying to support us in this journey. Gave me a reverse mentor, a wonderful, young woman, Laura Gladney [?]. A wonderful African-American woman, who was there to help me learn, and I learned so much from her. The pain that African-American black colleagues experience in their life, the injustice, all the thousands cuts, the fear. And of course, as we speak, we have this trial surrounding the killing or the murder of George Floyd. If you’re a Black man in this country, if you’re walking in the street, people are going to be afraid. So you’re going to feel that you’re being rejected. And I think for all of us as leaders, somebody said, I think a Buddhist monk, the longest journey that you’ll ever make in your life, that I will ever made in my life, is the 18 inches from my head to my heart.

Hubert: For too long, John, I’ll just be honest. My head was cut off from the rest of my body. As a leader, I thought I could lead with my head. Big mistake. If we can lead from the heart, you use all of our body, but head is a good thing, right? But better things can happen. If we can create an environment that our companies as leaders where everybody feel they belong and that they can be themselves, then something magical happens, which we talked about in the book which is we unleash human magic. And for me, that’s the greatest joy on the planet frankly.

John: I want to talk about human magic in a second, but let’s go back. I don’t want to glance over the massive difference and the success you had at Best Buy. Not only shareholder value, as you say, but that comes with your transformation of the culture of the company. But when you left Best Buy, you left a board that was predominantly woman and had three African-Americans on it. It was a much more inclusive board than you walked into in terms of diversity and inclusion, and that’s to your great testament. So, I want our listeners and viewers to know you just don’t only talk or write a good perspective, but you walk it yourself. You walk it yourself, and that’s to your great credit. For our listeners who just joined us, our viewers who just joined us, we have my good friend, Hubert Joly. He wrote “The Heart Of Business”. He’s a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School. He’s also the former CEO who turned around Best Buy. So welcome to this edition of the Impact Podcast. Hubert, you talked a little bit about human magic. You have five parts of human magic. Can you explain to our listeners what you put in your great book? The five-part principles that make up how do we get to human magic.

Hubert: Yeah, John. Again, there’s so much learning, right? The last century, you and I, we can agree that we were born last century.

John: Yes.

Hubert: I don’t know about you, but the methods that I was taught inspired by Bob McNamara is take a bunch of smart people. You create a smart strategy, a smart implementation plan. You communicate it to everybody. You put incentives in place, and you hope that good things happen. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work. It doesn’t work as well as it could. The principal reason, there’re many reasons for this, but one of them is financial incentives is not what drive behaviors. If you ask most people, when you get up in the morning, do you engineer your day on the basis of how you’re going to maximize the bonus you’re going to get at the end of the year? Of course not. Motivation comes from within, right? Its intrinsic. It connects with what’s important to us, what we value, what we really care about.

Hubert: The second reason why this Bob McNamara type approach doesn’t work is none of us like to be told what to do. It’s very human. And so, I think the magic today for organization is this, first, you have to see that a company at the end of the day is a human organization made of individuals working together in pursuit of a goal. And that goal for me cannot be to make money. It’s an outcome. The goal, if you think about it philosophically, spiritually, humanly, it’s to contribute to the common good. Make a positive difference in the world. Right? That’s the philosophy we describe in the book. And if it’s a human organization, you have to think about what is going to mobilize human beings, people. And I think the five ingredients that we talk about in the book that certainly applied at Best Buy that I’ve learned so much about in the last several years, starts with number one, connecting what drives each employee with the purpose of the company.

John: Okay.

Hubert: Here’s a story. We learn with through stories, John, right?

John: Yeah.

Hubert: I’m going to give you two stories. Every quarter when I was the CEO at Best Buy, we would gather as an executive team to make progress on our strategy, our plan. We could do better with recycling, things like that. And one time we planned a dinner where I asked every one of the executive team members to come with a picture of themselves when they were little. Maybe three years old, four years old, five years old. And asked each of us to share with each other the story of our life and the meaning of our life, what drives us. That was a transformative dinner. Rarely in the corporate world you ask these questions, right? Because you see a colleague more as a professional as opposed to a full human being that is really driven by something. And what we discovered during that dinner is that all of us have wonderful life stories and were driven by a common desire to do good in the world, which inspired us. The ones we had turnaround the company, and we were asking ourselves how can we accelerate our growth, what kind of company do we want to be when we grow up? It inspired us to continue the transformation of Best Buy and focus on this idea of enriching lives through technology by addressing key human needs. And so, really connected us deeply in our work with our life.

Hubert: Another story, because you don’t need to be a CEO to do this. One of our store general managers in the Boston Market. One thing he does, he asks everyone of the associates in the store, hundred of them, what is your dream? At Best Buy or outside of Best Buy, what is your dream? It says, okay, let’s write it down in the break room and now my job as the store GM is to help you achieve your dream. It changes everything. So that’s the first ingredient is connecting dreams, you could say. The second one is building genuine human connections. So, here also a couple of stories, John. I ran into an associate one day in one of our stores and he told me that his life changed the day a manager recognize them and took an interest in him. So my compatriots, the philosopher Rene Descartes of the Cartesian philosophy, said once, “I think, therefore I am”. He’s wrong. He’s wrong. It’s interesting, but not fascinating.

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John: Yeah.

Hubert: The better one is, “I am seeing, therefore I am”. As an individual, if I am seeing, I feel respected, I feel people take an interest in me, then I can be myself and I can feel that I can grow. That means its human connections. That means also vulnerability. One thing that can be scattered, the wonderful head of HR once did at the company is disclosed to everyone at the company that for years she had been suffering from depression. Who says a senior executive in a Fortune 100 company admits that you’re suffering from mental health or anxiety or depression issues? Nobody does that. Except 20% of any human population is suffering from some kind of mental health issue, and of course, at a time of COVID, the anxiety level of depression, burnout is very high. What it did with transformative, because it’s signaled to everybody at the company, is that we are all humans. She got hundreds and hundreds of emails from people saying, “Oh, me too. Yes, and here’s how I got out of it and so forth.” So it created a very human environment, which goes back to the discussion around diversity and inclusion. Everyone has to feel that they belong. So that’s the second ingredient.

Hubert: The third one is around autonomy, being able to do which we think is appropriate. Another story that will really capture the human magic. So I told you that when I joined Best Buy in 2012, the quality of service stores had gone down. In 2018, so six years later, one day, there’s a young woman who walks into one of our stores with her young child. He’s like four years old. During the holidays he had gotten a gift, which was a dinosaur toy. Okay? The problem is that the dinosaur toy got sick. Meaning the head got dismantled from the rest of the body. And, and of course, the child is sad. And so they go to the store because he wants the Dinosaur to be cured. Now, at most stores and maybe at Best Buy a few years ago, you would have been directed to the toy aisle. And with luck, they would still be a dinosaur for sale and you would have gotten a new dinosaur. This is not what happened on that day. With two Associates in that store, so what happens? Took the sick dinosaur when behind a counter, began performing a surgical procedure on the sick dinosaur, and if you are watching Good Doctor on Amazon, they walk the child to the steps in the procedure. Fully substituted the sick dinosaur with a new dinosaur and gave to the child a cured a dinosaur.

Hubert: Now, John, close your eyes for a second. Imagine the joy of the young child and his mother. Now, John, do you think there was a standard operating procedure at Best Buy on how to deal with sick dinosaurs?

John: No.

Hubert: No. Do you think maybe there was a memo from me telling the Associates exactly what to do in case a young child walks into the store with a sick dinosaur?

John: No.

Hubert: Of course not. These two Associates found it in their hearts to create this joy with this young boy and his mother and felt they had the freedom to do this. Right?

John: Right.

Hubert: And that the autonomy, and I think our role as leader, is to create an environment where this human magic can be unleashed in pursuit of the purpose of the company which is to make other human beings happy. So, at the end of the day, this idea of business, it’s pursue a noble purpose, put people at the center, and create this magical human relationships between the employees, between the employees and the customers, partnership with the vendors. You were one of our partners, John. The community, if the City of Minneapolis is on fire, you cannot run the business. So you have to take care of the community. If the planet is on fire, Larry Fink, the CEO of BlackRock, has told everybody this is the biggest risk for business for the next 30 years. And then really treat profit as an outcome as opposed to the principal goal of business. That’s the philosophies that’s at the heart of business, at the heart of the book that I’m excited. It’s now out and I hope it will help leaders.

Hubert: My goal in writing this book is principally to help leaders at all levels who are keen to abandon the old ways. And I think most of us are convinced that we have to change. It is a guide for leaders who are eager to embrace and are working on embracing this idea of leading from a place of purpose and inhumanity. True life stories, examples, practical advice, that’s what the book is about.

John: Hubert, share with our viewers and our listeners also, because this is so important, what are you doing with the profits from this great book. Where are the profits going?

Hubert: Well, it’s something that’s dear to your heart and my heart because we’ve been partners on this.

John: Right.

Hubert: A few years ago at Best Buy, we launched a program called the “Best Buy Teen Tech Centers” that are in the U.S., in underserved communities, focus on helping disadvantaged teenagers and help them have access to technology skills and hopefully a path to a job or higher education. And by now we have more than 40 of those in the country. Best Buy now has a goal to get 200. Your company John has been a partner in the one in Brooklyn, with my Foundation has invested also. My proceeds from the book, hundred percent of them go to funds of Best Buy Teen Tech Centers. The Teen Tech Center with these partnerships is a case of business mobilizing to be a force for good. We need business. Business is powerful. Business can make a difference. So, I’m excited about this. The more I talk about the book, it’s not for me to get famous or rich. It’s to help these wonderful kids. We need the next generation to do great things in the world, and you and I are partners in helping them.

John: We are partners forever in that mission and many other missions. Two last questions I have for you Hubert before I let you go today because I know how busy you are still in all the great work and important work you’re doing. One of the interesting parts of your turnaround involves something that everyone thought from the beginning was very counterintuitive. Everyone pitted you against the Apple Store and Amazon, of course, but you did something that seemed from the outset very counterintuitive. You partnered with them all. You partnered with Apple, with Samsung, with Amazon. And I do want to read this quote because this is from Jeff Bezos talking about your new book and it’s not only called, like you said, “The Heart of Business”. Its leadership principles for the next era of capitalism. Jeff Bezos said, “Best Buy’s turnaround under Hubert Joly’s leadership was remarkable. A case study that should be and will be taught in business schools around the world. Bold and thoughtful, he has a lot to teach.” Now, this is from someone who everyone thought was your arch rival and you brought them under your tent and you made him a partner. Can you share a little bit about how making these unique collaborations and partnership helped lead to your great turnaround at Best Buy?

Hubert: Yeah, thank you, John. You’re very kind. What we saw is that the world in fact needed Best Buy, right? Customers need Best Buy because many of us need help with technology. But the vendors, the tech companies, also need Best Buy. Companies like Apple or Samsung or Amazon or Google spent billions of dollars on R&D to develop their wonderful products. A world without Best Buy, if it’s just on a shelf or on a website, you don’t know what the product is going to do. And so, they need a place where to showcase the fruit of their R&D investments. Companies like the ones we’ve mentioned have a choice. They can open their own stores and of course Apple to a degree has done that. But the other thing they can do, I mean, opening stores is a long process. You need to find locations. You need to operate them. So the alternative is to do your store within the Best Buy store. And then in a matter of months, you have 1000 stores in the U.S. So the first deal we done was actually with Apple. Apple loves working with Best Buy because we give them a bigger distribution than we did we Samsung. It’s wonderful because for the customers, you can look at the Apple products and the Samsung products.

Hubert: And the other thing of course John is that I don’t know anybody that only has one brand in their home. Tim Cook, you think that Tim Cook only has Apple products in his home? No, because he’s refrigerator, Apple doesn’t do refrigerators or TVs. So, all of us need multiple brands, how they can all work together. In the case of Amazon, yes, it’s the irony because they were supposed to kill us. We always sold Amazon products. It seems like the Kindle and then the Echo products and so forth. Because we thought it was good for the customers, and Amazon felt that having a physical distribution was important. And then one day, we went one step further. Amazon gave us the exclusive rights to the Fire TV platform, which is the Smart TV platform, to be embedded into Smart TVs. And any Smart TV powered by the Fire TV platform would only be sold at Best Buy or by Best Buy on Amazon. And when Jeff came to our store in Bellevue, Washington to announce the deal, media was was there and he was very clear. I’ll just quote him saying a TV purchase is a considerate purchase. We need to see it and the best place in the world where to buy a TV is Best Buy. And for him, the 10 years we’ve been working together had built the trust between the two two companies.

Hubert: And what is the lesson from all of this? Forget about Best Buy for a second. Is that you have to refuse zero-sum games, right? In business, you first focus on the customer. You try to do something very unique for the customers and then you try to partner with others to do great things in the world. Everybody we know is afraid of Amazon. Amazon is going to kill everybody. No, Amazon, they’ve got their own way of doing business, their own specialty. Best Buy is a unique role to play. And so you’re not afraid of the others. You’re focused on your mission in life, and then you pursue these win-win-win relationships. You see, whether it’s your employees, your customers, your vendor partners, the community or shareholders, as other human beings, not as enemies. And what do you do with other human beings? It’s the Golden Rule, right? You try to do good things in the world and you try to do them together.

Hubert: And the relationship, I want everybody on the show to know how much I love you, John. The good work that you and your company and your wonderful family are doing in the world, this recycling program. All right. Let’s do an infomercial. Everybody in the US, and of course you’re expanding globally as well, can come to Best Buy, bring back their old technology and then, of course, we need to partner. So, we’ll partner with John. We will recycle so that the minerals, the rare earth, the metals, the plastic, the glass, all of this can be recycled. So that we contribute to minimizing the damage on the planet. So that’s an example where traffic in our stores, that’s a good thing for us. Recycling, that’s a service to the customers, and it’s a good thing for the planet and it keeps John and his family a little bit busy. So that’s not entirely…

John: Hubert, I love you too. You have been an inspiration to my children who have had the honor to meet you. To my wife, of course, who loves you dearly, and I shared a story with you before we started. I’m going to ask you one last question and let you go for the day. Besides your book, which again, it’s “The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism”. Please read it. I read it twice, and you won’t regret it. This book has so much. Unpack this book and it will help you for the entirety of your career and how to lead better than we are leading before you read this book. Talk a little bit about what you’re doing at Harvard as a senior lecturer at Harvard and Harvard Business School. How are you enjoying that and what are you getting out of that experience as well?

Hubert: Yeah, John, so two years ago roughly, I decided to pass the baton of my responsibilities at Best Buy and I’m thrilled that my successor, the wonderful Corie Barry. A wonderful human being, woman, great leader. She’s doing such a great job. I had been CEO of different companies for about 20 years and I felt it was the time to to pass the baton. So, the question in what was I going to do with the next chapter? So first, I was not going to move down to Florida to play golf with an aging man. I don’t know how to play golf, so that’s was the end.

John: It’s the two of us. That’s why we [inaudible].

Hubert: Okay. Good. Two, I don’t want to be a CEO anymore. Been there, done that. But three, I wanted the next chapter to matter. There’s always this question in life of what’s our purpose. What gives us meaning? For me, my purpose in this next chapter is to add my voice and my energy to a good number of people who are working towards the necessary re-foundation of business and capitalism around purpose and humanity. As we’ve discussed, the finish goal of madness is doing the same thing we’ve been doing for the last 50 years and hoping that it’s going to get to a better outcome. We are facing multiple crises. We need to change the way we lead and the way we behave. So, I back this for you. That’s why I wrote the book. That’s why I’m talking about the book. That’s why I am with my wonderful wife, Orthos [?]. We’re coaching and mentoring a number of CEOs and Senior Executives who are eager to do the best they can to move the world forward.

Hubert: That’s why I joined the faculty at Harvard Business School. My view is that business education has been too focused on techniques. Alright? And last time you and I looked, the reason somebody is a great leader is not because they are the best at spelling out the four Ps of marketing or because they’re the best at calculating the Net Present Value. It’s important, and I think these are valuable techniques. But I think we also need to have leaders who are able to unleash this human magic, who can be a force for good. Frankly, the role of leaders has changed so much in the last several quarters, right? The mission has changed. It’s no longer about just optimizing shareholder value. It’s about making a positive difference in the world. The scope has changed. Now as a leader, you need to deal with not only employees and customers but also community, planet, and of course, shareholders. The Leadership Model has changed. We talked about it. It’s from the top down superhero kind of a leader to know a much more human purposeful leader who is there to create an environment that can unleash human magic.

Hubert: I think these things sound soft, but I think they are actually hard to do. And I think it’s critical that we equip the best we can, that we equip the next generation of leaders or the current generation of leaders to do the best they can to help us move forward. So, I’m teaching in the MBA program and also teaching in Executive Education. It’s a great joy for me. This stage of life, where it’s about giving back. And for me, that’s how I can give back is help the next generation of moving things forward.

John: Hubert, you’re always welcome back on Impact. For our listeners, again, on,, and other great book stores around the United States and the world, buy “The Heart of Business”. This is the book to buy if you want to be a great leader now and in the future to come. Hubert, I just want to wish you good continued great health and say God bless you. Thank you. You’ve been such an inspiration in my life and I just want to say I love you and I can’t wait to see you in person.

Hubert: John, you are a dear friend. Thank you for this opportunity to chat and to see you. And yes, we have to celebrate soon in person. You know I’m a big hugger. No hugging during COVID. And by the way, in the world there’s two types of people. Huggers, non-huggers. Very important to make the difference.

John: That’s true.

Hubert: But I love hugging. I’m a hugger. I have to admit. Good to see you, John. Thank you.

John: This edition of the Impact Podcast is brought to you by the Marketing Masters. The Marketing Masters is a boutique marketing agency offering website development and digital marketing services to small and medium businesses across America. For more information on how they can help you grow your business online, please visit