I know we’re only 5 days into 2011, but this just might end up being my favorite quote of the year.
“I look into their eyes and try to figure out whether they love the money, or if they love the business…if they don’t love the business, I can’t put that [money] into it.
“[Then] my job is to make sure that I don’t do anything that kills that love of the business.”
When I hear that, of course, it brings me right back to the “L” in LEAP: cultivate Love.
When I first started using that language years ago, I felt that I had to make a really strong case and present nearly-irrefutable evidence that “love” is the right word and describes the right experience for business leaders. I had to convince people that cultivating love is just damn good business, after all. (Apparently–and no surprise–Mr Buffett never would have needed convincing in the first place).
But nowadays, I’ve noticed that I get very little resistance to the idea. Now I feel like I’m reminding more than convincing. Maybe that’s not as exciting a challenge, but I’ll take it any day. That’s progress.
It goes without saying that there’s much more to business than the L word. But as Buffett goes on to say in the interview, if the CEO loves money more than the company he or she runs, business becomes all about the exit strategy, not the building of something lasting and significant.
I’ve posed this question to tens of thousands of people over the last decade, and I offer it to you as well:
Why do you love your business, and how do you show it?
Answer it well and prove it through the way you work, and maybe one day Warren Buffett and his team will be looking into your eyes.