Thought Leadership

The Business Feeling Index

Robust optimism is what drives businesses and business relationships. But how do you drive that? This is not about reasoned optimism. Instead it is the feeling of optimism that requires harnessing.

Kate Howe, gyro



gyro - The Business Feeling Index

Robust optimism is what drives businesses and business relationships. But how do you drive that? This is not about reasoned optimism. Instead it is the feeling of optimism that requires harnessing. Blockchain, AI, robotics and quantum computing, for those of you who were at SXSW in Austin, Texas this year, will be the force majeure disrupting businesses over the next few years. And most business leaders will list these as some of their top concerns. But these disruptive forces are inevitable and as such cannot be resisted. In order to embrace it, businesses will need to master fear to ignite creative ideas. Achieving that leadership will have to be about confident optimism, how to thrive and not just survive in these uncertain times.

To understand the impact of feeling in business, The Financial Times Commercial Insight Group collaborated with gyro on a first-of-its-kind piece of research to explore what feelings leaders deem crucial for creating successful business relationships and what feelings are most likely to undermine a relationship. The survey approached global FT readers, director level or above. Some 315 leaders shared their insights which served as the basis of this new report entitled ‘The Business Feeling Index: The Feelings that Move Business Forward.’ They were also asked what feelings are most likely to undermine a relationship.

The overwhelming response was that the leaders want to feel confident optimism about their potential and existing partners. This is a response that corresponds to a very recent PwC study that said that UK chief executives are optimistic about global economic growth prospects and that their bullish attitude is driving business confidence. I would argue that even when it comes to seriously tough matters like Brexit, a positive perspective on long term opportunities might just increase our confidence and build successful partnerships to see us through this unforeseeable muddle.

What’s clear is that care and foresight is needed to build and then maintain confident optimism. And it is most important to focus on how to build that feeling of self-confidence and optimism. Feeling is a jolt. A moment of sensation, an awareness, a moment of true connection. Remember that your prospects and valued customers are driven by their feelings, always. Business interactions are relationships and human relevance in business has never been more valid, or more necessary.  


Kate Howe, CEO, gryo UK

Key take outs:

  • Principle No. 1: Communicate clearly and effectively at all stages of a business relationship. More than three-quarters strongly agreed with this statement. 98% of the respondents view communication as ‘the connective tissue’ of a successful business relationship. However, several common communications mistakes that negatively impact on a business relationship are also identified. Over-promising is an error cited by 69% of respondents. Once a partnership is in full swing, poor communication is a significant behaviour likely to stall the momentum of any business relationship, a negative factor cited by 60% of respondents, rising to 71% in the US an 78% in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Principle No. 2: Demonstrate specialist knowledge, expertise and understanding of your partner’s business. Thought leadership is cited by 70% of respondents as an important attribute while researching potential partners, a close third to recommendation (88%) and company culture (83%). Content that demonstrates thought leadership or expertise is deemed an important influencer of whether to make first contact with a potential partner, mentioned by 63% of respondents. Uncertainty about core competencies, skills and attributes, and scepticism about information provided are the two feelings most likely to erode confidence and have a negative impact on a potential partnership, mentioned respectively by 77% and 69% of respondents. Meanwhile, some 56% state lack of understanding about their business as the behaviour that has contributed most to not selecting a partner.
  • Principle No. 3: Set and abide by clear, honest goals and expectations. Business leaders want partners who are transparent, accountable and above all proactive. All these traits are especially true at the first moment of friction. Most respondents said that this moment of crisis is where you really find out about your business partner and or vendor. Responsiveness meanwhile, was deemed as the second most important trait a partner should demonstrate when a problem arose, cited by 65%, after honesty/transparency (69%).  
  • Principle No. 4: Beware of being arrogant or too pushy. Some 69% of respondents state that they have been turned off by arrogance when in the initial phase of researching potential partners, a figure that rises to 75% in the UK, and 78% in Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile, 61% say that a burgeoning deal between two partners can be harmed by a partner being too pushy e.g. making too many phone calls or sending too many emails.


Visit gyro's showcase to read the report


Melanie Carey-Yard, New Business & Marketing Director, gyro,

Guest Author

Kate Howe, gyro



Kate is the CEO of gyro UK. Kate joined gyro in 2014, attracted by the entrepreneurialism of the role and the unique culture of the network. She has 27 years of agency and client-side experience working from London with European-wide and global clients ranging from Cola-Cola, 3M and Sony Europe to UK based accounts with McDonald’s and Heinz, Kellogg’s and John West. Kate is currently a member of several key industry circles such as the IPA Council, Marketing Society, Marketing Group of Great Britain and is on the steering committee of the Conscious Advertising Network.

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