Q: What is the “heartbeats” concept?
A: Heartbeats are very personal. No one knows just how many we have in this life, but we know they aren’t unlimited. Therefore, each one has value and how we spend or invest them matters.
Q: I’ve heard of spending time, or don’t waste time. How is this different?
A: There’s something about your beating heart inside you that makes the using up of heartbeats very personal to the individual. The concept of trading heartbeats for money (earnings) or possessions becomes more tangible since you can feel them.
Q: How should leaders be influenced by this concept?
A: Leaders should look at an organization as a living thing with a pulse and culture unique to that organization. After all, companies are made up of people. Where a leader spends his or her heartbeats influencing those people will either lift or sink the company.
Q: Why did you pull from Biblical principles for your discussions on ethics?
A: While my faith plays a large part in my life and I lean on it for comfort and assurance, I wanted to show a practical side to the behaviors that both the Old Testament and the New Testament tell us are important for the treatment of all people. I believe the wisdom contained in Proverbs is still valid today and that more people should realize the benefits of trying to follow those precepts.
Q: You talk about Sunday ethics versus Monday ethics. What do you mean?
A: As a leader, we have a responsibility to act in a way that upholds honorable behavior so as to model it to the others in the organization. So I have a hard time separating personal ethics from business ethics. To me we are tasked with being the same core person no matter the day or in what circumstances we find ourselves. There should be no distinction between how we behave inside or outside the business.
Q: Why do you find it important to invest heartbeats in people?
A: My style of leadership could be described as a coaching model. Since people are the driving force for any company serving those people and developing more leaders should be one of the highest priorities of any leader. To do that, you have to invest your heartbeats in those people. Doing so raises the entire organization.
Q: Today’s emphasis is on short term and quick rewards. You want to take a longer term view. Why is that important?
A: Being in a service business I see much too frequently other people taking advantage of customers by trying to pressure or scare them into unnecessary purchases. This is not new but it does seem broader based right now. Basically it’s get all you can while you can and so what if you lose the customer, there are more victims out there. That doesn’t fit at all with my philosophy of how I would want to be treated and believe we should treat others. So, I’ve built my company on a long term view of doing the right thing for people and they will be loyal to us over the years. My team believes this too and everyone can sleep soundly at night.
Q: Can you explain the “hospitality mentality” you talk about?
A: I believe we are all called to serve each other; leaders more so than anyone else. In serving, we should do everything we can to make people feel comfortable in how we treat them. This doesn’t mean being a doormat, far from it. But being equitable, approachable, humble, and speaking and acting with integrity, is how we should treat everyone.
Q: How do you deal with mistakes made in a company?
A: So, since I’m an imperfect human, and we employ imperfect humans, and we deal with imperfect humans, things won’t run perfectly all the time. That’s not an excuse not to try hard to be perfect but mistakes will happen. Our goal is to minimize them and always stand ready to make them right for the people involved. People are expected to learn from their mistakes so they don’t go down the same road twice but if you’re not making some mistakes it means you’re not stretching yourself and learning lessons. Intent matters; if you’re trying to do the right thing and it didn’t work out how you expected then that’s a mistake. If you’re trying to take advantage of someone and have a selfish motivation then that’s not a mistake, it’s shameful and shouldn’t be tolerated.
Q: What do you want people to take away from the book?
A: I hope they realize how precious they are and how valuable their heartbeats really are. Invest heartbeats where they will count in others’ lives and make a difference in the world, even if that is through your organization. Helping people is what we are called to do and if we can be a positive influence to members of our teams then we can have a multiplying effect on lives. By modeling how we should act we can lead others to act the same way. There’s no better return on our invested heartbeats than leading others to a better life.