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The Case for Love as a Hard-Core Business Principle

Psychologists tell us that all emotions, decisions, and actions are rooted in one of the two basic human motives: love or fear. Love gives rise to things like generosity, respect, joy, patience, honor, understanding, honesty, growth, and abundance; fear creates greed, selfishness, deception, bitterness, and stagnation.

Work Environment

Choosing love, then, is not something that should be restricted to personal or romantic matters. Love is practical in all areas of life, and it’s the key to true long-term success.

Especially in business.

Most of us business people get a little squirmy with the “L” Word; we’re not accustomed to using it in the same sentence as “work.” It feels inappropriate, somehow.

That’s tragic, really, because love is at the very foundation of great leadership and it is, in fact, a hard-core business principle.

Before you dismiss this as a load of “California touch feely hoo-ha crap,” let’s break it down:

What is Love in the Context of Business?

First and foremost, we want our customers to love our product, service and business. That’s where the competitive advantage comes from. Mere satisfaction doesn’t cut it any more. In order to create and sustain an experience that our customers will love, we need to create an environment that our people love working in. And that culture simply won’t happen unless you, the leader, love the business, first.

Watch this video for an example:
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Love in business starts by your genuinely caring for the needs of the people you work with and the customers you serve, and showing it in the ways you interact with and serve them. It creates the drive to go above and beyond the norm.

No one is exempt from this. Whether your work entails serving coffee to early-morning patrons, teaching a classroom full of 3rd graders, voting to pass a bill, or leading a tech company as CEO, finding concrete ways to demonstrate and cultivate love will give you a significant advantage.

Benefits of Love-Based Business Practices

Acting from love in your business brings about a wealth of benefits. When employees feel love, they are more loyal, innovative, creative, and inspired, and when you genuinely care about your customers, they know it, and they reciprocate by putting more money in your pocket and talking about you to their friends. Healthy employee and customer retention, combined with the growth and abundance associated with love-based decisions, makes for an overall healthy and successful business. Give love to get sustainable results — it’s a big-picture strategy.

To Cultivate Love requires self-reflection and awareness, which will enhance and deepen all of your relationships—at work and beyond.

How to Cultivate Love in Your Business

Ideally, leading with love starts at the top of the organization and is consciously and intentionally woven into the company culture, systems, policies and procedures. We can design love into the way we hire, train, motivate, reward, compensate, discipline, deliver and respond.

But it doesn’t always happen that way. Sometimes the boss just doesn’t get it. Or want to.

So let’s start with you. Regardless of your position, title, or altitude of your box on the org chart, you can have a significant impact on your colleagues and customers.

This isn’t about putting on a happy face or pretending everything is great even when it’s not. It’s not about demanding a halt to the office action and having a big group hug in the hallway. It is about cultivating an environment where you’re mutually committed to one another’s hopes, needs, dreams and aspirations—and those of your clients, especially.

Here’s a good place to start:

Give yourself a Love Assessment (excerpted from the Leap Assessment, found in the 10th Anniversary Edition of The Radical Leap). Be honest — rate yourself from 1 (strongly disagree)-5 (strongly agree) on each statement below and list ways you could improve. Asking employees, colleagues, and customers for feedback can help you find ways to improve, too.

• I consistently demonstrate I am doing the work I love.
• I am passionate about the work and the people I lead.
• I am highly motivated by the work and the people who support this work.
• Through my actions and words, I inspire others to love the organization, the team, and the work.
• I help people see how they can do something significant and meaningful.
• I spend time to help others develop as leaders.
• I show a genuine caring and interest in employees and customers.
• I form teams of individuals who share the love for the work, the team, the organization and the organization’s customers.

Can you think of one specific, measurable way you can cultivate love at work today or tomorrow? Let me know in the comments!

Your Energy Is Contagious (So Make Sure It’s Positive)

Like it or not, as a leader you have a significant impact on the energy around you at work. You’re either generating passion, enthusiasm and drive in people, or you’re sucking it out of them. Your ideal, therefore, is to display positive energy in everything you do. I know it’s a tall order; but, ultimately, the success of your company will depend on whether you can share this energy with others and foster consistent enthusiasm among your peers.

So what will it take for you to generate energy throughout your company? Here are five tips to help you flip your switch to “on”:

Display Positive Energy1. Be Passionate About Your Work

By its nature, true passion is energizing. You know the difference between passion and drudgery, for example. Passion for your mission, product, service, team, or customers, is what makes you jump out of bed in the morning; when your job is nothing more than a chore, you fall out of bed and drag yourself through the day.

Are you passionate about what you do? If not, can you find something about your work—or the people you work with—that really trips your trigger? Tap into that, and you’ll be better equipped to find ways to streamline everyday tasks and discover innovative ways to make your work more enjoyable. And that passionate energy will start to spread to those around you.

2. Switch Tasks Regularly

It’s just not realistic to expect that you’re going to be passionate about every little task. There are boring, mundane things that you don’t like to do that you have to do anyway. That’s true for all of us. We have a technical term for that. It’s called, “being an adult.”

Having said that, don’t get stuck in a rut. If you find yourself working on the same mundane tasks for hours on end, switch it up for a while; otherwise, you run the risk of becoming complacent about the important things, too.

Boredom is anathema to energy. So try and take on a broad array of tasks so that no two days are ever identical. Do what you can to enable others to switch tasks regularly, too. Try swapping jobs for a few days, and watch what it does to everyone’s energy.

3. Take Breaks as Needed

You can’t generate energy in others if you don’t have any, yourself. Make sure that your own energy well goes deep and never runs dry. In other words, don’t wear yourself out. You may think that pushing through your day without a break will set a heroic example for others. But you’ll wind up doing more harm than good for both you and your company.

Taking short breaks throughout the day will help you to focus, give you more stamina, and it will lead to your being more productive, not less.

Spend a few minutes chatting with peers, go for a walk outside, grab a cup of coffee—you know what to do. These minor breaks will bring you major rejuvenation. And your newly sparked energy will readily spread to others.

4. Get and Stay Fit

Okay, here it comes. Talking about the best approach to good nutrition and exercise is as polarizing a topic as religion and politics. Vegan vs. Paleo; Crossfit vs. Pilates; High Fat vs. Low Fat—there are fanatic proponents on every side of the debate. It’s enough to make you crazy.

So let’s just agree on this:

However you choose to get there, whatever exercise or nutritional approach you take, getting your bod to peak physical health is, quite literally, the foundation of your energy. You (me, all of us) need to get fit, healthy, strong, flexible, and lean. Our bodies need to be fully tuned and equipped to give us the energy for taking on the challenges of life, business and leadership. Obvious, right?

It’s taken me years to find an approach that works for me, but you need to find what works best for your body, preferences, and lifestyle. (I’m not a nutrition expert, to say the least, but I’ve learned a great deal over the years. I’m happy to share what I do if you think it’ll help you make your own decisions. Let me know and we can have a private discussion about it.)

If you’re feeling some resistance to this, here’s a good psychological tip from Shay de Silva:

“Start by taking a minute to think about what working out will do for you. Focus on the extra energy you’ll have, the good mood, the lower cholesterol, the increased productivity, and looking great. Tell yourself that you’re just going to start with five minutes of movement. You can dance, do a few push-ups, or go for a walk. Just do something. Once you get started, it’s usually pretty easy to keep going and get in a full workout. If not, at least you did a few minutes, which is always better than nothing.”

5. Set Leaping Goals

Give yourself and others at work something inspiring to shoot for. Yes, there are the day-to-day tasks that need to get done, but toward what end? What could you and yours really accomplish if you put your collective heart and soul into it?

Energizing goals demand that you leap to meet them, not “stretch,” as some have said. A leap goal will require you to get excited and energetic if you’re going to make it. Set goals that tap into the talents, skills, hopes, and aspirations of your team and company, and people will generate the energy necessary to leap up and hit those goals.

Start with two Leap Goals: one personal goal that you can do without having to rely on anyone else, and one team goal that will require you all to work together.

This short list of energizers is just to get you started. There are literally thousands of ways to generate energy in yourself and others, and I encourage you to experiment and share what you’re doing with us.


Because sharing ideas with others generates energy, of course.




Steve Farber: Extreme Leadership



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10 Public Speaking Tips For Company Leaders [Infographic]

After my two and a half decades of experience as a leadership keynote speaker (or what many generically call a motivational speaker), I’ve learned a few things about the craft that will help you in your public speaking endeavors, too.

Whether you’re addressing your team, company, audience, or meeting, this infographic of 10 Tips will help you set the stage.

So to speak.

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