By @SimonCocking review of Humane Capital, How to Create a Management Shift to Transform Performance and Profit by Vlatka Hlupic. Available here.

Featuring a foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Despite decades of research and evidence, there is still extreme scepticism that businesses can combine a more humane style of management with superior shareholder returns, or that busy managers can be guided effectively by both their heads and their hearts. Vlatka Hlupic has spent 20 years investigating this paradox, developing an insightful critique of why such strong evidence has had limited impact and providing an alternative, practical approach that any employer can implement in order to overcome the unique challenges faced by their organizations.

A clear correlation exists between companies that do well and companies that are good – that is to say, organizations that promote goodwill internally and externally, and work proactively with stakeholders, employees, society and customers to achieve those goals. A ‘bad’ company, on the other hand, may do well but its success is unlikely to be sustainable. Humane Capital explores the steps that businesses need to take in order to become a ‘good’ organization that can achieve long-term results.

Supported by insights from interviews with 58 leading thinkers and practitioners in the field, Humane Capital argues for a radical reassessment of current business models. Using stories of managers from both the private and public sectors who have been effective in making the transition, Hlupic shows how successful leaders have moved their organizations from controlled and orderly to enthusiastic and collaborative – and shows how current leaders and managers can do the same.

It is kinda cool to manage to get the Dalai Lama to write your foreword. In this case, in this context it is also an appropriate person to deliver your foreword, but it is also a nice achievement too. In her book Hlupic aims to consider and provide value for people working across a range of sectors, public, private, charitable, and SME among others. She is aware of the pushback that has been expressed towards looking at business from this sort of perspective. She has clearly considered these opinions and sought to engage with and learn from those CEOs and business leaders who have felt differently and have seen direct benefits from taking this, more holistic and wider approach to business. There are a series of useful and insightful interviews and case studies with various business leaders who have embraced this wider approach to how they run their organisations with positive results.

Overall there is a lot of value in this book, and it is a useful tool for those wishing to articulate why we need to consider the bigger picture when running our businesses. One aspect that was a little surprising was in the appendix detailing the industry role and gender of those she interviewed. The number of women is surprisingly low, and seemed to fill about 1/5th only of the interviews. Not everything needs to be 50/50 but to be so far from this ratio was unexpected. Maybe it is an indicator of the paucity of women in many of these roles but we would have imagined she could have found more female interviewees. This point considered, these rest of the book is useful and thought provoking. Read it if you plan to future proof your business operations, your clients and your staff relationships.


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