Business from the Heart (Andrew Hoggard)

book review Jul 20, 2018

The title “Business from the Heart” perfectly describes the personal touch and mindset of Andrew Hoggard and his approach to good leadership and business. As such, this recent publication doesn’t fit into the categories of business or sales books, neither is it a management guide. Instead, it is a varied collection of snippets and anecdotes with a common mindset to reflect on and to use as guiding principles for both life and business.

New Zealand born Hoggard started his career in the healthcare industry in one of the companies his father once led. The book also tells the story of how his father rose to become an international success story through people leadership. After many years in leadership roles including relocating to Australia, Andrew was faced with redundancy as his position was eliminated after serving for 27 years. He describes the emotional journey of this period to assist readers who may be going through this journey with tools to come out even stronger. During his career in various management positions, Andrew developed his mindset of “Business from the Heart”. Over the last ten years, he has shared these core principles in various events as a keynote speaker and by coaching others.

This book is a well-illustrated summary of his passion to help others excel and challenge their thinking to reach their goals. The story begins with his interrupted family life over the obstacles and involvement at work further and leads to finding himself and constantly improving by doing the right things. The purpose of serving others is visible in each chapter and well describes his ‘why’.

The book is laced with many useful quotes. Many of them cover leadership advice such as “A great business comprises good people and systems coming together to provide the customer with an extraordinary experience.” Playing with the friendly Down Under attitude within the word “Cheers”, he created the core principle of a brand promise: “Consistent, High standard of Enjoyable Experiences that we Reliably share with them using effective Systems.” One of the most important sentences at the end underlines the core message: "It’s about everything that you do, by being motivated from the inside out. It’s about seeing life not from a set of rules, but from a perspective where you want to, and long to do things for others."

Readers will find many ways to adopt the learning for their own practice. Whether you are facing redundancy or are in a leadership position, there are many takeaways from the book. In a time when companies face huge competition towards well-informed buyers, steady customer experience is one of the most critical assets. Andrew illuminates the drivers to achieve this focus: "A business with a heartbeat invests in people and has the potential to deliver a customer experience worth talking about and sharing."

This enjoyable book is special by combining all of these elements into a cleverly woven story which helps readers to see leadership as serving others and giving your experience to the next generation. Andrew sources many thoughts from movies such as “Chariots of Fire”, “Gladiator” and “The Wizard of Oz” into the flow and how they influenced his actions. In every chapter there are summaries called “Heartbeats” which can be used later as a quick reference. He is a fan of abbreviations of systems such as ACT (Acknowledge it, Confront it, Take action).

Future authors will be encouraged by the structure of the book with so many personal stories in context with the overall theme. The typical chapter size from 6 to 14 pages supports reading in smaller chunks. Having the heart as a theme throughout allows Andrew to take us on some excursions and exciting journeys whilst always bringing us back to the core values of a heart centred business and life.

Q&A with Andrew Hoggard (July 2018)

1. What was the deciding moment to write this book?

I wanted to share my personal journey and present the concepts in a story like fashion. I realised I had many things I wanted to share and in fact give away to willing readers in the writing of the book. The latter part of my career has been very much about wanting to share concepts that are life changing and transformational in both personal and business lives. These thoughts prompted me to write the book.

2. How long did it take from concept to launch?

The book represents a period of several years of notes from business events to life experiences. However the solid hard work and focus took me just under six months of focus and in particular working closely with my editor who asked me questions tirelessly to bring out the best offering we could.

3. How did you perform the research to create the practical content?

Much of the content comes from years of working with teams from a position working in a warehouse to sitting on the board of a Fortune 500 company. Some aspects were open to a little researching and cross referencing with articles particularly on the section related to reduced time on devices. The rest of the book is my life, my experience and some of the stories along the way. It’s research in motion in a way!

4. What was the biggest challenge along the process (and how did you overcome it)?

Getting a sense of flow was difficult because I had the basic ideas. However when I was able to see a beginning, a middle and an end the flow came a lot easier for me.

5. What was your own reflection along the journey?

I thought a lot about what really matters to me and I kept coming back to my family, my friends and the memories we create. As I wrote and went through a lot of the experiences it caused me to not only read but ‘live’ my own story. It’s like a good self-induced period of reflection.

6. What is the outcome in having this book available?

I hope that readers will be able to draw thoughts and concepts from reading the book that will add to their personal and business lives and create signpost that may change their direction along the way. My belief is that education alone doesn’t change our behaviour, so the hope is that through readers reflection some of this will touch the heart where changes take place for a better tomorrow.

7. What would you advise others about writing their book?

Get connected with people who are in the business of publishing and have experience. Have a good editor and artist for cover work and illustrations who won’t try to change the content but more question your content and the flow. Those things truly helped me and added to my book.

Andrew Hoggard: “Business from the Heart”, Auckland: Hogman Publishing, June 2018, ISBN 978-0-473-43596-7 (Paperback)

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