Leading with the heart matters. Why? Because the one that changes isn’t the organization. It is the people.

Leading with the heart matters. Why? Because the one that changes isn’t the organization. It is the people.

By Jose Ruiz  |  Jose Ruiz serves as Alder Koten’s Chief Executive Officer providing vision, strategic direction and the roadmap for the firm’s future. He is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures. He can be reached at [email protected]m

Leading with the heart matters. Why? Because the one that changes isn’t the organization. It is the people.

Originally published on Forbes.com.mx

Change leadership is an art. There is no exact formula on how to stay innovative and lead on-going changes in an organization. However, when a leader leads with the heart, you can expect to see a result that is beyond expectation.

One case in point is Ray Davis, the CEO of Umpqua Bank, whose exemplary leadership dehumanized the banking industry and, eventually, rejuvenated the bank with a human touch. He started out by acquiring the small community bank Umpqua Bank with five branches based in Roseburg, OR, which was worth $20 million and had $140 million in assets. Today, it is now headquartered in Portland with 300 branches in five states, has $25 billion in assets, and values at $4 billion.

Davis changed Umpqua’s company culture to reflect a one-of-a-kind relationship with customers by repositioning itself as “the best bank in the world.” He reinvented the somewhat boring and predictable banking experience with experiences that appeal to all five human senses, such as hosting book clubs, conducting yoga classes, providing coffee and tea, and opening pop-up stores for merchants. Umpqua branch locations were turned into hangout places for local businesses and communities.

The gradual change was based on this philosophy: Leading with the heart matters. Why? Because the one that changes isn’t the organization. It is the people. Moreover, people have hearts.

According to Tommy Spaulding, the author of The Heart-Led Leader: How Living and Leading from the Heart Will Change Your Organization and Your Life and the founder of Spaulding Companies, heart-based leadership is based on a passion for making a difference through people while also achieving bottom-line results. The logic is: the more people love, the more money they make.

In the case of Ray Davis of Umpqua Bank, there are at least three things to learn.

First, starting and continuing incremental changes.

A big change comprises of aggregates of small changes. Several big changes would recreate the whole organization and take it to the next level. Start the change in mindset and philosophy levels, which must be set before external changes can occur in aggregates. Umpqua Bank employees started it with answering the phone with, “Thank you for calling the world’s greatest bank,” which is the one small change needed to start the change ball rolling.

Second, treating human beings humanly.

Bank customers are humans, and so are bank employees. Thus, creating an environment where people can be themselves while having fun and enjoying themselves. Davis believed that the banking culture was changeable and he proved it by simply being human. When people are happy, they are more than happy to spend or, at least in this case, trust Umpqua enough to bank with them.

Third, not about what you are doing, but who you are being.

John Lennon once said, “It is not what you are going to do, it is who you are going to be.” By treating both customers and employees as living and breathing beings, business activities flow more seamlessly with other activities. Remember, happy customers are repeat customers.

In conclusion, despite not having any formula for change leadership, leading with heart looks like the winning approach. The bottom line is we are all humans who care about happiness and being ourselves. Thus, when this realization is combined with leading with the heart philosophy, revenues would go up as well.

About Alder Koten

Alder Koten helps shape organizations through a combination of research, executive search, cultural & leadership assessment, and other talent advisory services. The firm was founded in 2011 and currently includes 6 partners and over 28 consultants in 4 cities. The firm’s headquarters are located in Houston and it has offices in Guadalajara, Monterrey, and Mexico City with partner firms in New York, Boston, Chicago, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Denmark, Finland, France, Hong Kong, Italy, Germany, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Russia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, and United Kingdom. We know where to find the executives you need and how to attract top talent to your organization. Our approach to executive search is based on a thorough understanding of the strategic, cultural, financial and operational issues our clients face. Our executive search engagements are targeted and focused on the specific requirements of the position including industry and functional experience, skills, competencies, cultural fit, and leadership style. Our process is rigorous. We take a disciplined and structured approach to identifying potential candidates that meet the position requirements including subject-matter, functional and regional expertise. We use our high-level professional networks, industry knowledge, and internal research resources to achieve results in every executive search engagement.This is a text block. Click the edit button to change this text.

Jose Ruiz is also involved in executive search work focused on board members, CEOs and senior-level executives; and consulting engagements related to leadership and organizational effectiveness helping clients create thriving cultures.