The idea of incorporating love into your business model is one of those things many leaders see as a “nice to have” – something worth adding in just so long as it doesn’t get in the way of primary objectives like making a boatload of money and ruling the world.
So in my never-ending quest to call “BS” on that line of thinking, my team and I launched a little campaign to gather some examples of how love makes a meaningful difference in business. We used a variety of social media platforms to gather responses to a simple question: How does love impact the way you do business?
We heard from many leaders who affirmed our view that love matters in business, and some of them explained why it matters. Dr. Justin Tarte, for instance, pointed out that love matters in education because “when kids & staff feel valued, appreciate & respected, much is possible.” Dan Winkeler said love allows him to show “compassion, drive, and faith” in the people around him. And Lolly Daskal gave us a nice acronym for LOVE – Listening, Offering, Veracity, and Engagement. If those are part of your leadership, imagine the impact on your business!
But the key word in the question was how. It took us beyond a yes/no response and invited a story. And that’s what we got – story after story of leaders in a variety of industries who see love creating a significant impact in their business. Some were short (we received some via Twitter) and some were long, but all were from the heart.
We reviewed them as a team and, as promised, we’re sending an autographed set of my three books (The Radical Edge, The Radical Leap, and Greater Than Yourself) to the one we liked the most. The winner also gets free access to my new eCourse, The Extreme Leadership Edge ($500 value). We’ll announce the winner in a forthcoming post, but here are a few highlights from the other responses we loved…
Cheryl Willis pointed out that a lack of love results in a work that feels “mechanical,” and that’s highly demotivating to teams in our modern workforce. Love motivates and engages, which are drivers of positive results in any business. So when we show love at work, we improve employee engagement and retention. As Keith Peters wrote, “People want to work for someone who cares about them, both personally and professionally.”
Stace Williams sees love is an expression of the value we place on the lives of others, and valuing others produces a positive business impact because it allows you to meet their real needs in powerful ways. “I believe with every fiber of my being that my clients, colleagues, and friends are worthy and capable,” she wrote. “Each one is on a unique path, with strengths, challenges, and a character that is uniquely precious. Viewing them and their struggles from a place of unshakeable love allows me to hear them fully and help them find and activate the innate wisdom they already possess. I’m fortunate to have been loved by my own guides and coaches (thanks, Steve!) and humbled to have the chance to pass it on.”
One of my fellow speakers, Robert MacPhee, provided a very practical way that love impacts his work. He still gets nervous before speaking on stage, regardless of the size of the audience. I can relate. But love is his antidote. “The single best way I’ve ever found to calm that nervousness is to pause, take a deep breath, and remember that my role as a speaker is to LOVE the audience,” Robert wrote. “To give them as much unconditional LOVE as I possibly can. And in that moment of remembering, my nervousness dissipates and I am ready to give my presentation. … never fails.”
Cindy Geery in Arizona operates a seasonal business and recently had to say goodbye to a couple of employees who had been there for 10 years. They had joined the team because it allowed them to work hard from September through May and then take the summer off to be with their school-age children. Now their circumstances have changed and they need more year-round employment. So in this case, love means being able to let people go because you want what’s best for them. Ultimately, that’s also what’s best for your business.
Finally, love is an energizing agent in business. As Thalia Papadopoulou put it, “love in my work opens up new ways where there seemed no more way to be. It gives meaning. It wakes up creativity.” And that’s good business.
We’re thankful for everyone who contributed to this campaign. And while contest part is over, the challenge continues: Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do. Then watch it impact your business.