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Updated 24 Sep 2020

Cal Fussman explains how to effectively lead your business

Making business decisions using your heart is not as off-limits as you think. But, you eventually have to make level-headed decisions too. Cal Fussman explains how. 

Diana Kekana, 27 January 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

All the answers to your unique business lifestage questions

Experts believe that only using your logical mind when determining business decisions isn’t always the best way to win people over as a leader. Making people ‘think’ won’t yield the same results as making them ‘feel’ will, they say. If you’re looking to improve your relationship with your employees, managers, customers, and key business stakeholders this year, Cal Fussman thinks you might be going about it the wrong way.

Related: 6 Leadership styles you need to be the ultimate leader


“Business is built on a foundation of strong relationships both inside and outside the organisation. This makes two-way communication and true dialogue with your people critically important. The best leaders encourage an open flow of ideas throughout the organisation and break down the walls that separate employees from one another.” – Peter Economy, former associate editor for online journalLeader to Leader.

Try something new; achieve a different result

Author and journalist Cal Fussman is an interviewer extraordinaire. He applies the principles and techniques he uses to get the best and most precious nuggets of information from his prolific interviewees to business leadership: “Focus on the heart, then the head, and how the two together lead to the soul.”

But why is this approach important, and is it really effective? Here is Fussman’s approach on why it works:

Heart -health

1. Why is the heart important?

Great business leaders understand their stakeholders (from their staff to their clients and suppliers), but they also know how to communicate their message to those stakeholders. “They know how to align their message with what their stakeholders care about and respond to,” says Fussman.

2. How do you figure out what your stakeholders (really) care about?

When applied to business practices, finding out what’s close to your stakeholders’ hearts doesn’t mean as a CEO you need to go out and have one-on-one interviews with everyone. You can apply this principle in the following ways:

The power of social media 

Create a social media campaign that encourages your external stakeholders to share intimate memories: “What’s the best thing your mom taught you? Why is your best friend your best friend?” This method allows people to open up, think about personal things that touch them, and share it with your business. 

According to “Being able to communicate directly with a brand representative online can increase a stakeholder’s loyalty to your company by establishing a personal connection that he or she might not be able to achieve with other companies.” The more they feel they can trust you, the stronger your relationship will be.

Related: What systems need to be implemented in business?

Help employees balance work and life

This principle can also be used with your employees so you can relate to them on a more personal level.

“People who run the most successful companies have learned that helping workers balance their lives on the job and off results in a healthy environment with less stress, much higher productivity, and much lower employee turnover,” adds Peter Economy.

O.C. Tanner, 40th on the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list in 2015 considers showing appreciation or gratitude towards co-workers as a driver towards more social interaction. The company implemented employee recognition and appreciation systems to create a distinctive company culture and strengthen employee relationships.

Boundaries are essential in any relationship, particularly more so in business, but a softer approach encourages your employees, clients, suppliers and greater community to share more with you. This includes their time, effort, talent and money. Speaking to people’s hearts first before you reach their minds yields better relationships and means better productivity, and more revenue for your business.


According to, here’s how to lead with your heart:

  1. Business is built on a foundation of strong relationships both inside and outside the organisation. This makes two-way communication critically important.
  2. Most employees simply need to be invited to participate and then positively reinforced when they do.
  3. Employees who have fun at work are happy employees, and happy employees are more productive employees. 
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Diana Kekana

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