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The Love Practicum

UBM TechWeb CEO, Tony Uphoff, has a must-read blog called Uphoff On Media: Dispatches from the front lines of Media, Marketing, and Technology.  I’m an on-going contributor to his site, and this post first appeared over there:

The idea that love is “just damn good business” (as I suggested in my previous post) is equally easy to embrace or dismiss, depending on your personal bias or point of view.

Assuming for a moment that you’re one who accepts the idea (and if you’re not, consider this anyway—you may surprise yourself) how do you go about putting it into practice in your business? How do you take the idea (or ideal) of love-at-work and translate it into the ways that you and yours make things happen every day?

It’s a huge challenge, but you can start by taking a lesson from superstar technical talent agency, Kineticom.  Love is not an idea for this $60 million dollar, award-winning, Inc. 500 company, it’s a practice that their employees are hired for and measured on.

Cultivating Love is not only one of Kineticom’s core values, it’s part of their performance evaluations, too (as well as the other practices of Extreme Leadership: Energy, Audacity and Proof). They’ve made Love a cultural expectation and, therefore, a day to day reality.

Pretend for a moment that you work at Kineticom, and it’s time for your evaluation. Here’s how you’d be sized up, love-wise (thanks to the Kineticom gang for their permission to share):

Their eval defines Cultivating Love like this:

“Demonstrating love (of the future we’re working together to create) in the way they work with, serve, and lead the people around them. (Leadership includes peer level.) Love in this sense is a feeling of strong attachment induced by that which delights or commands admiration; preeminent kindness or devotion to another.  At its core, being an Extreme Leader means doing what you love in the service of those who love what you do.”

Their description of the lowest rating in the Love category:

“Views daily actions and efforts as part of a job, not part of a broader future that employee has a key role in creating.  Does not understand or connect personal or organizational opportunity to make a difference in the world.”

And the highest rating:

“Fully and actively embodies love in the way they work with, serve, and lead the people around them.  Consistently cultivates love of the future we’re creating together in teammates, contractors and/or clients through tangible actions.”

Sure, that may still sound a little subjective—maybe that’s the nature of the beast—but the implications are anything but: those who consistently rate high on this attribute (and the others) are given greater opportunities, more money and, potentially, stock in the company.

How do your measurements and performance standards stack up?

Try putting a little heart in there, and see if you can’t make the experience of working with you a practicum in the Business Theory of Love.

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  • http://www.seanheritage.blogspot.com Sean

    I really enjoyed this post (and so many others).  I am a big fan of incorporating love into our leadership toolbox.  As a member of the military, some might question the applicability of such an approach. I continue to find that demonstrating love of those with whom we serve through personal availability goes a long way.  Here are some rudimentary thoughts…

    http://seanheritage.blogspot.com/2009/10/love-as-leadership.html

  • Mmccarthy48

    Every one of us needs to ‘love’ more.  If more organizations had a less self-focused purpose, maybe we could have avoided the current state of the economy. 

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for sharing this company’s “love story.” Always encouraging to hear about other companies keeping an emphasis on the heart.

  • Greg Hartle

    I like their approach. Especially to measuring. That’s always the toughest part when it comes to subjective matters such as love. I’m happy to see more companies embracing this type of value-system though. Thanks for sharing, Steve.

  • http://twitter.com/LeadingQuotes Leadership Quotes

    A read for anyone. Practicing servant leadership is all about love, and loving others for who they are, and who the stand to become.