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Lead with your heart, manage with your head

July 5, 2015 | By: deaneparkes

While shopping at my local health food store this past weekend I struck up a conversation with a fairly shy young woman about what she was demoing…when she opened up she became very animated and passionate about what she was demoing. She spoke from her heart as she described the humane treatment of the animals, and the clean local value of the food. You could feel her love for what she was selling, she felt she was making a difference.

Across Canada every month health stores and suppliers hold seminars raising awareness of the value of using safe natural foods and remedies that make a difference in the lives of families throughout their communities. This to me has always been what makes what we do special…to quote David Chapman, ‘we make a difference in people’s lives’.

The heart of our mission of raising the health of our communities requires strong head skills these days as technology, competition and demand for natural foods and medicine reach incredible growth.

The past few years has seen major retail square footage increases across Canada. And this trend does not seem to be slowing…

It is not until recently terms like category management, inventory management, MAP pricing, on line shopping become part of the business conversation.

I understand many of the people who are heart focused have challenges understanding the need for transitioning to head business practices however if we do not we will be unable to serve the masses of consumers looking to change from the unhealthy big food & pharma lifestyle.

Often there is resistance and stress transitioning to large corporate practices as NHP businesses require more corporate structure to remain sustainable.

The need for skilled labor has brought people from outside our industry who have strong managerial skills yet perhaps not the sense of mission to raise awareness for NHPS, as they are more focused on bringing products to market with some profit left as that is what keeps the lights on.

I believe a balance of heart centered leadership along with head skilled management is required to survive and thrive in today’s highly evolving market place.

Some examples:

HEAD: Manage business…

Clear expectations

SOP – standard operating procedures

Job descriptions

Sales and marketing






Heart: Lead business…










A view from the heart – Recent science proves we have more neurons leading from the heart to brain than the other direction. Many native cultures considered the heart the first brain and the head the second. For fun try looking at the world from your heart not from between your eyes…

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