What has love got to do with wellness and wellbeing in the corporate world? Everything, it turns out, as evident from this conversation between host Steve Farber and Mia Kyricos, the President and Founder of Kyricos & Associates LLC and former SVP & Global Head of Wellbeing at Hyatt. For over 25 years, Mia has been making breakthroughs in workplace wellness in several companies, becoming a true visionary in the $4.5 trillion global wellness industry. In this conversation, learn why 2020 and the pandemic that defined it are the great catalysts that will propel organizations to rethink how they work, especially around issues of corporate wellness and well-being. Also, learn about what distinguishes organizations in it out of love and those in it for profit, and why that is such an important distinction to make in the post-pandemic world.
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Wellness, Wellbeing, And Love: The Business Trifecta For A Post-Pandemic World With Mia Kyricos
My guest is Mia Kyricos, who is a pioneer in the field of wellbeing in the corporate world. She is a globally respected thought leader with many years of cultivating wellness, hospitality, lifestyle and travel brands across 100-plus countries. She’s the President and Founder of Kyricos & Associates, LLC, a strategic advisory and referral firm. She provides brand strategy, business development, operational insight, enabling public and private entities to thrive in the $4.5 trillion global wellness economy. She was the Senior Vice President and Global Head of Wellbeing at Hyatt, setting a new hospitality industry standard as the leader and curator of the company’s global wellbeing strategy, spanning commercial health and wellness related products, services and partnerships, as well as colleague wellbeing worldwide.
Prior to Hyatt, she was the Chief Brand Officer of Spafinder Wellness Inc., where she led the company’s brand evolution positioning Spafinder as the global authority on wellness providers and resources. She’s won all kinds of accolades and awards. She is 2019’s Leading Women in Wellness and Cornell University’s Alumna of the Year. She’s been featured all over The New York Times, LA Times, CNN, Smart Money, Hotel Business, Travel Weekly, Lodging, Real Simple Market Watch and more. I discovered Mia for myself when she wrote a fabulous article on LinkedIn about love in business. That brought us together around this conversation and now here we are. It’s my great pleasure to welcome Mia to the show.
Thank you, Steve. I’m happy to be here. What an honor to be on this show. You might not know this, but you’re one of my heroes in this world. When I got the invitation to join, I said, “What do I need to move to be there,” because you’re doing such great work. Thanks for having me.
Thank you. That’s very nice of you to say. I’d be curious to know why that is. Let me explain why I’m asking the question. You called me your hero. That’s nice. Would you please puff up my ego a little more? That’s not why I’m asking. I’m genuinely curious. It makes me squirm a little bit when I hear that. I’m gratified by it. I would say thank you for that but, why? It has nothing to do with me because we’ve never met before.
It’s because it takes enormous courage to put out a book with the four-letter word of love. It’s not something that corporate America is accustomed to talking about. This time that we’ve all been in, this quarantine, the way I call myself out of any emotional and personal trauma or challenge, is to learn something new. Love as a business strategy has been at the top of my list. The one gift that 2020 has given me is to dig deep and research companies and others. When I came across your book, it gave me the courage to go on because I thought, “I’m not the only one talking about this.” There’s been great evidence that this. This isn’t just lip-service and moving on. It can be something that feels good but does good for communities and businesses. I’ve always had this theory and reading your book helped to nudge me along with my work and research. I’m a love passionista and you are too, which makes me happy. I’m thrilled that you exist.
I didn’t make this up either and I’m certainly not the first one to talk about it. The first business book that I recall with love in the title was around 2003 or somewhere around there. It’s called Love Is The Killer App by Tim Sanders. There were a couple, Lovemarks was one and then I wrote The Radical Leap, my first book. It came out in its first edition in 2004. LEAP stands for Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof. I’ve been writing about it for a long time, but this is the first time I slapped it on a cover. My point is that this conversation has been going on for a long time and you’re right. There is a tendency for people who haven’t given it much thought to dismiss it out of hand as I like to say, California touchy-feely hoo-hah crap.
I couldn’t agree with you more. The conversation has been happening for quite some time. We just haven’t used the term love, when you think about the work of Barbara Fredrickson on her work with Positivity and love being a huge form of that. I started mapping things back to 2002, 2003, in my research with prudential and other examples out there. It’s the term that people are not comfortable in their own skin bringing into a business environment. There’s still this invisible wall that you need to break through to be able to talk about love. This is probably the work of your Leadership Institute, but the only way that we can bring our whole selves and be human at work is love has to be part of that proposition on a personal level. I’ll love it when it becomes a business proposition as well. It’s the same reason why I’m passionate about the business of wellness and wellbeing because not only is it good for people, planet and community, but it pays. I found love to be parallel to that.
Your business journey has been wellness and wellbeing for some huge brands. You’ve had quite an influence on a lot of people in a real frontier area as far as business goes. Tell us a little bit about how you got set on that path.You can care for those you do not love, but if you LOVE to care, the impact stands to be exponential. Click To Tweet
It was a transformational moment for me. We’ve all taken lots of different assessments, leadership assessments, managerial assessments, and love would come up as a character strength of mine but I was uncomfortable about that. I was putting that on the shelf for a while. To answer your question about wellness and wellbeing, it happened at 9/11. I went back to grad school at Cornell University to get my Master’s in Hospitality Administration, which is an MBA for service. When I went back to school, I had worked in hotels, restaurants, private clubs, and all different aspects of service and hospitality. I was very passionate about trying to find a way to have my business and personal ideals better aligned.
I get to campus thinking I’m going to be this crazy person that takes two years to get this degree and 9/11 happened. It shook me to the core. I was with classmates that lost family members. Nothing seemed all that important. Everything I ever loved was in the spirit of service and hospitality in terms of job and career mode, but I felt like I needed work with greater meaning. That’s when I decided to pursue this area of hospitality and service that people didn’t study very much, which was spa, wellness, and hospitality. That brought me to understand how we can live a richer and more meaningful quality of lives, extend our longevity, and care for the people and planet all mixed into one. That started me on the path many years ago.
You were drawn to hospitality by your nature. I’ve noticed a lot of people in the hospitality industry have a similar story. If you look at the word, hospitality, it’s like you would hope that the word healthcare would draw a similar characteristic of people. In my experience, it does for the most part but there are always exceptions. You were drawn to hospitality because of that acknowledgment and the way that you’re made up as a human being, but then you brought it into a specific focus around wellness and wellbeing in the context of hospitality. You focused it in. What was the first experience that you had in being able to roll out a wellness and wellbeing strategy on a large scale?
My first project when I was between my first year and second year of grad school working with the founders of CanyonRanch health resort. That’s when I learned about integrative health and wellness. They had hotel and spa services, but they had this unknown business unit around health and healing. It was all about how you live your life mentally, physically, spiritually, and how those pieces go hand in hand. It was the first time I had been in an environment that didn’t just include a general manager, front desk operator, restaurant manager, or food and beverage director. It also included doctors, nutritionists, behavioral psychologists, and looking at things much more holistically than I’d ever seen in a business setting.
Job number one was to help better articulate the unknown aspect of their brand, the health and healing side. It’s to attract people to not only a great place to stay and get luxury service or workout, but to look at their holistic health and wellbeing. Help them better position that. That started me to understand my functional expertise in marketing, brand strategy, and communications. Helping people tell their stories in the wellness and wellbeing space and deliver great service, which is at the heart of hospitality. That launched it and took me to several other places, including Starwood Hotels and developing their spa brands before they were sold to Marriott.
I then take a different stab at this that led me to the corporate work, which was another pivotal moment. That was going to a company called EXOS. They were formerly known as Athlete’s Performance. They train the world’s best athletes, NBA, PGA, NFL, all your favorite athletes, but their intellectual property was around movement, nutrition, mindset, and recovery. It was a real holistic strategy and they would bring that on the corporate campuses of Fortune 500 companies. They asked me to help launch that division and get a sense of what corporations are grappling with and what we, as colleagues, employees, humans at work, and how to bring that together more successfully impact their quality of life, their health and wellness at work.
EXOS was started out by doing that for high-level athletes. They saw an opportunity and said, “Let’s help business people do that as well.” They then asked you to help them bring that into a corporate environment. If I’m hearing this right, is this the first time that you have the opportunity to apply the whole wellness and wellbeing approach internally to a culture of a company versus a product offering to guests?
Yes, that was perfect. It was a real opportunity to look at multiple stakeholders and bring them together. Understand that when corporations first started talking about workplace wellness, let’s make no mistake, it was to reduce their healthcare costs. The cost of an unhealthy workforce, stressed-out workforce, and obese workforce were negatively impacting their bottom line. They wanted programs to be able to turn that around. You then had people or consumers and their colleagues at work that were trying to manage the stresses of how we work and also take care of themselves with a little suspicious behavior. A company starting to advocate for you to work out, lose weight, or stop smoking starts to develop a lot of untrust in some areas.
Why do you think that is?
This is a classic case in point and something I would teach to anyone, which is we’ve gotten a lot smarter at being able to tell the difference between motivations that are about checking the box to make sure wellness gets brought into the workplace versus a culture of wellbeing. One is the what and one is the how. I don’t know this now. This is the blessing of hindsight 2020. When I look back early on at engagements that were successful versus those that weren’t, the distinction came right down to, who’s supporting this at the top? Are they trying to check the box and cross their fingers that somehow they’re going to save cost down the road? Who’s the executive sponsor of this that wants to change how people work and culturally, how they feel in the workplace? Depending on where they were on that spectrum, you would drive the engagement of the colleagues that were involved.
Are they already in a workplace where they feel trusted and it’s a two-way street? If they were in a workplace where they felt less trusting, you and I both know it’s hard to build upon that. What EXOS taught me and the gift that it gave me, and I love these guys, is they taught me the power of bringing that kind of thinking into an organization. It gave me this petri dish to learn about why and why not workplace wellness programs at the time could be successful. I say programs because they were programs at the time. It was only later in life, most recently at Hyatt, where I started talking much more overtly about the culture of which that would be a part.
There’s no better place to study culture than in a petri dish. That’s where it comes from. What I’m hearing you say is the difference between those initiatives that were successful or not was a question of authenticity on the part of the leaders. From your perspective, how would you know that in situation A was the people who are checking the boxes because “We’re trying to reduce our healthcare costs? Let’s see if we can get these people in shape,” versus scenario B, which is, “I care about these people. I want them to have a great experience working here, and all the good stuff will fall out of that naturally.” How would you know the difference between those motivations?
It comes down to so much of this is not going to be paper and pencil. It’s going to be gut feel. You know when you walk into an organization, a storefront, a store, the difference between perhaps a Whole Foods or your neighborhood five-and-dime. It’s like you don’t always know the criteria but you know it when you experience it. I’m still a student of this, but it took me a long time to ask the right questions about how people work. Too often when we’re interviewing and getting to know prospective clients, whether we’re trying to partner with an organization, we’re focused on the what, their products and services. We don’t ask enough questions about how they work. That’s where their commitment and passion for wellness and wellbeing.
The how, which is what are the intrinsic motivators of why people are in the businesses that they are. Asking the why behind what they do and then how they do it. The what over time becomes less and less important at least to me, whether I’m working for an organization or I’m advising an organization, that’s how you tell the difference. It’s getting a sense of why they’re in the work that they’re doing. It’s pretty easy now to distinguish between people that are in there because they want to drive revenues and profits versus changing the world in some way or leaving it off a little better. Typically, those are the ones that also want to drive transformational cultures, the places where you want to work and be you need to be. That’s an important distinction.
One of the reasons the why-question is powerful is because of the nature of the question itself. If I ask you why you feel strongly about something or if I ask you questions that are going to give me more insight into what makes you tick, essentially what I’m saying by asking the question is I care about you. It’s a very short baby step from care to love. If I’m coming from the perspective of, “I want your experience of working here to be fantastic because I’m grateful for you. I love the work that you’re doing. I certainly want you to do better work. I want all of us to create an environment where we’re helping each other.” It then ties in with, “Tell me about yourself. Let me make sure that I’m doing that right. Let me make sure that I’m creating the right kind of environment for you. I can’t do that in a vacuum.” To your point, I can say, “If people are more physically fit, if we establish a policy where we encourage people to get out of the office and take a walk several times a day, then these things will happen.” Sure, but it’s coming from a very different place.Wellness is a means to wellbeing. Click To Tweet
I’ve had plenty of engagements early on in my career. EXOS is a great example where you have people that have signed up for the program. They’ve been incentivized to participate through cash or the promise of trips, but they feel uncomfortable to be away from their desk for the hour that they’ve put out to take care of themselves. That’s when it doesn’t matter all the money in the world that we throw at them, it’s never going to manifest into anything meaningful. You hit the nail on the head. When I learned something, I have to personalize it so I can rectify it. One of the greatest learnings I loved doing a lot of this research and starting to advocate for love as a business strategy was about care.
I mapped it back to where I grew up on the coast of Maine. I worked in hotels, restaurants, private clubs, and put myself through school that way. I had friends that did the same thing but they clocked in and clocked out. For me, I was excited about making someone’s 25th wedding anniversary special or thinking of a way that I could uniquely celebrate someone’s birthday or whatever as part of serving them. I look back now and I realized, I love my job. When I think about love and care, you can care for people that you do not love, but if you love to care and that’s genuinely something that you’re passionate about, you can change the world. That whole distinction on people that genuinely care for people and in service of people, which gives one of my favorite things that I got out of your book, Steve, which was you know where I’m going. You synthesized it for me.
How did I do that?
I call it the new ROI, Reciprocity On Investment. I thought that was one of the most profoundly simple but impactful terms when you think about reciprocity instead of return. To me, that’s the heart of hospitality. It’s the heart of people that want to transform your wellness and wellbeing. It’s literally from an authentic place when you love to serve, that love comes back to you and your business.
We say around here, “Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.” If I could quote you for a moment, I want to repeat what you said in your words, “You can care for those you do not love, but if you love to care, that stands to be exponential. You can care for those you do not love, but if you love to care, your results are going to be incredible. You can care for those you do not love, but if you love to care…” That’s brilliant and it’s so true. It speaks right to one of the big challenges that I hear from people. When I encourage people to ask the question, for example, why do you love the people you work with? Why do you love your colleagues? Why do you love your employees? Why do you love your customers? Why do you love your clients? Why do you love your guests? Whatever the terminology is, it’s a great place to start. What if the answer to that is, “I don’t?”
Is it unrealistic to ask people to genuinely love everybody they work with? Maybe, but I don’t have to love people in order to care for them. I can still care for you. I’m caring for you because I love that aspect of the human experience, back to the question about a transactional versus a relationship approach to a wellness culture. If the employer is doing it because they genuinely care about their employees, the employee is going to be much more likely to take advantage of the opportunities given to them because then they want to. They don’t feel like they’re being forced to. They want to because “You care about me, I’m going to reciprocate. I’m going to care about you and maybe I’ll even be more likely to care about myself.” Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?
I was doing this masterclass for the Global Wellness Institute and that came up. The relationship between being able to execute love as a business strategy. Institutionalize it and there are lots of different ways to do that, and it takes courage. What’s the relationship to self-care, love, and all of those things? There were about 320 people that dialed in. There were 73 countries and it was completely wild to see the engagement. This woman asked the question, “What happens if you work for a company that you love, but you’re struggling with your boss?” It’s an untrusted uncomfortable relationship. I’m like, “The clock is ticking on that wall. It doesn’t matter.” She said, “How do I deal with that? How do I deal with someone who clearly doesn’t love me and might not love him and herself?” I said, “It’s hard. You got to dig deep and find the empathy meter. Sit there and think for a moment.”
Much like when they said, “Imagine the person in the audience that’s got his underwear on. Imagine you’re treating someone who’s a patient.” Studying this helped me realize those people that don’t care about themselves or don’t have a good relationship with themselves or they themselves feel unloved, are the hardest people to have meaningful relationships with, whether personal or professional. It’s destined to fail because of that. I thought it’s such a courageous question because this woman works for a company that she absolutely loves. She is the biggest advocate for their products and services, but she’s struggling daily with a boss that clearly, she doesn’t feel the love and doesn’t think he feels loved.
There’s so much research over the years on this. It’s a generally agreed-upon idea that people don’t quit their company. They quit their boss. Your relationship with the person that you work for, it colors everything else. If you turn that around, what it means for anybody who’s in a leadership role, we can’t underestimate the impact that we have on the people around us. If it’s true that people quit their boss and not their company if you work in an organization where you don’t love the culture and you don’t love the product and the service, I can still have a tremendous experience if I love my team. We have this incredible influence far more than we give ourselves credit for. Back to the question at hand, if I don’t have that image of myself as a person in whatever role, whether it’s a leader or otherwise, that I had that self-love and confidence. I’m not going to take a stand counter to the status quo of the culture around me because I’m too afraid to. Did you give her any prescriptive advice in all of this?
I said I had a short-term and longer-term solution. The short-term solution was to survive the relationship for the time being and to look at him with empathy. This is someone that you’re being angry with or disgusted with, but to have empathy for them because of how sad and lonely it must be for them to live in a world without love. We had that conversation, and then I was very honest and said, “That does not have staying power. It is a matter of contemplating. Is there a way you can shift jobs within your organization if you love them and start interviewing your future bosses and had that conversation?”
That’s great advice. It gets back to, “I may not love you, but I can care about you.” Tapping into allowing myself to be empathetic is one way of caring. Isn’t that what empathy is on some level? Without getting into the semantics of it. The other thing that I find is many times, not always, that disconnect happens because, for whatever reason, we don’t know each other as human beings. A good question for her could be, how much do you know about this person? What’s going on with this person’s life, their challenges, their family, their dreams, their aspirations? Sometimes it’s a matter of sitting down and saying, “Let’s have a cup of coffee.” To get that time with no agenda other than, “Let’s get to know each other a little bit better.” That gives me a better sense of wellbeing. What is the distinction or is there a distinction between wellness and wellbeing?
There are a lot of academic answers to this question, but I’m going to give you the human straight up one. Wellness is the steps you take to take care of your health every single day, whether it’s to eat better, sleep more, take care of the people that you are relationships with, and the list goes on. Wellbeing is that destination we’re always trying to get to like that mirage in the desert that we don’t get to stay for long. To me, wellness is a means to wellbeing. There are a lot of things both within and outside of your control that affects your wellbeing. I like the wellness of the things you can control and wellbeing is dependent on many other factors like the weather, politics, the environment, and COVID-19.
We’re trying to get to the promised land of wellbeing. That’s how I look at it. It’s that moment in time that might come on a Saturday at 2:00 in the afternoon. It’s where you feel like your physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellbeing, in terms of purpose, are aligned all at once. You’re feeling that moment. That’s what we’re trying to do every day. It gets hard in times like this. You have to make a concerted effort to make your wellbeing a priority. There are lots of different ways to do that. It’s different for each person.
It’s a very personal definition of what that means. Simply put, the higher your level of measurable wellness, the greater opportunity you have to experience more and more wellbeing. I’m curious about your experience at Hyatt. Tell us a little bit about that journey. How long were you there?
A couple of years until COVID got in our way. It was an amazing experience because it was the first time a position had been created that looked at a vision for wellness and wellbeing that was both commercially focused but also internally focused. Typically, those two functions are separate. One belongs in the HR world, looking at colleague’s health and wellbeing. If a company has consumer-based products and services, there’s a different leader for that. I worked closely with the CEO, the Chief Commercial Officer and the Chief HR Officer to create this position where we could come up with one vision, one strategy, that would be good internally and externally. That resonated in the marketplace and was the best culmination of anything I imagined doing career wise. They talked me out of my consultancy for those two years because of this effort to make it such a huge priority.
It sounds like it was the coming together of a couple of different parts of your journey. You are in wellness and wellbeing as a product offering, let’s say, and then you worked on the cultural side, the internal side. At Hyatt, we want to offer this for our guests but we also need to apply it to ourselves.We can institutionalize love as a business strategy. Click To Tweet
I’ve either worked for or advised almost all of the big players in the hospitality space. What uniquely positioned Hyatt to make this commitment to wellness and wellbeing was their purpose of care. They have a very simple purpose. They’ve articulated and rolled it out a few years ago, “We care for people so that they can be their best.” The way I looked at it was wellbeing is the ultimate realization of their purpose. If you’re in that moment of time where you’re at your best, you’ve achieved wellbeing. When you could tie the commitment to wellness and wellbeing to a company’s purpose, and there are lots of ways to do that, you stand to set yourself apart. Hyatt did that.
Did they take the same level of commitment to that internally in terms of their own employees and the way they operate as an organization, as they did to what they’re offering their guests?
They made great strides to do so. This is something where you lay bricks and it takes many years to realize. I will say, to no fault of Hyatt, and I would say this is common in terms of big business and Fortune 500 companies. They are in the midst of shifting from that check the box culture to that raison d’etre. I’ve learned a lot from customers that host meetings at hotels. For example, big companies like PWC, Deloitte, Nike, and others. It’s been interesting in the last few years watching them prioritize wellness and wellbeing, watching them establish new positions like Chief Wellbeing Officers and SVPs of Wellbeing. I do think people are starting to learn the language, but it’s a start. We still have more work to do.
I find the future promising because what 2020 will do is accelerate this growth because we’ve had no choice, but to get real and to get human at work. One week, you’re all working happily and everyone ended up going home, corporate offices shut down, and suddenly you’re on Zoom. If you weren’t used to that before, the dogs are running by, the kids are running by, you’re homeschooling and you got to make a meeting. You have a terrible workspace because you haven’t had to work from home before. There are all of these things that are happening and our humanity, good, bad, indifferent are hanging out there. 2020 will force organizations to think differently about how they work. This will serve as a catalyst to move us beyond, “Let’s offer weight loss, or smoking cessation, or put a gym at work, or give them access to Headspace or Calm.” Let’s get real about bringing our whole selves to work, which is to be at home for a while.
I don’t want to give the impression that I’m a fan of this pandemic because I am not. I’ve gone a little bit stir crazy myself, but I will say this. What you said, I’m seeing over and over again. We’re all experiencing it now more than ever. We’re hearing the words now more than ever. I’ve talked about this in the previous episode. I might be repeating myself a little bit, but now more than ever people need connection. They need support and compassion. Because they’re physically isolated, they need the feeling that somebody is looking out for them. We know that we want wellbeing when the world seems to conspire against our having it. It’s bringing this idea into the context of, “This is what we need now.”
What’s so fascinating about that to me and what I like about what’s happening here is that it’s always been true. It’s not suddenly true where it wasn’t before. It’s just that now we have to face it. We have to look it in the eye and ask ourselves, what do we do to care for each other now and later? Let’s use this as a foundation to establish where we can go back to work for those of us who work in offices, or travel a lot, or hang out with other living and breathing human beings. We could come into that having made a lot of progress through this time.
About that woman who asked that question because she was struggling with her boss, I think it is all going to shake out. The reality is there are people that are in positions of having to care even more. We all can, but the reality is this has been teaching us what we’re good at, what we should be doing, what we shouldn’t be doing. Many of us have been in roles or jobs or working for companies that when it comes down to fit, it’s not a good fit. That’s going to come out in the wash, how we work, and how we treat each other. The kinds of conversations we might not have tolerated in the board room are now going to be front and center.
It’s amazing what happens when your focus is not on what the dividend payout is going to be, but it’s on surviving. It’s taking steps to ensure that you have a future, not what the future’s going to look like. Those are some of the blessings in disguise like all of the vaporware that has been around us. There’s no way to fake this. That’s one of the gifts of 2020. It’s being reminded on a personal level what’s important to us. Part of that is how and where we work and what we do. One thing I keep hearing in podcasts and articles and everything is for some people, they’ve looked at what they do and they found no meaning in it. They’re like, “I need to do work with greater purpose. I’ve been focused on something that I might lose and I don’t care about it. I’d rather not go back to work or to the office. I was that idiot commuting an hour and a half each way.”
This forced us into figuring out how to work remotely when my boss hated that idea before and now, we’re working better. “What’s going on and by the way, do we need the office?” There’s a healthy dialogue that’s being forced. It’s healthy self-realization, whether personally or professionally, or as I like to say, holistically. No one checks the fact that their mom, daughter, sister, brother, a community member is at the door before they walk into the office. It’s just now we’re more comfortable talking about all those pieces because they’ve been forced front and center.
We sit in each other’s living room.
It’s like, “I’ve never met you before. I wish I could pour you a cup of coffee.” We’re getting real. That’s the real gift of C19.
As we bring this in for a landing, I noticed you in your wonderful article on LinkedIn about love and business. You also made a reference to Tina Turner and it is the great business question of our time, What’s Love Got To Do With It? If you had to summarize all of the research that you’ve been doing, this incredible career that you’ve had and are engaged in now, the people that you’ve met and the experiences along the way, how could you or could you summarize your answers to that Tina Turner question, what’s love got to do with it?
It’s very simple. I would say a whole hell of a lot more so than I ever imagined. I do believe that we can institutionalize love as a business strategy. There’s evidence and I will say that I went down this path with wellness and wellbeing. People don’t realize this wellness economy that you spoke about at the beginning is a $4.5 trillion economy. That’s three times the size of the global pharmaceutical industry. For me to believe in wellness and wellbeing, I needed to see the science and evidence behind it and how it could impact businesses. I now have had that exact experience with love that prepared me for this. When you look at the ways in which you can bring love to the forefront and that starts with being comfortable to say that four-letter word, you have to stand to make a much greater impact.
I would encourage people to look at their management strategies. I would encourage people to ask themselves very realistically, are you starting every meeting with what the challenges are to solve versus the things that are going well? Do you have the courage to ask all your stakeholders, your board members, your consumers, your partners what they love about you? Only then will you be trusted enough to ask, what don’t you love about me or my company? By trying to institutionalize love, you can only build the house of love on a foundation of trust. A lot of people might find that they’re not as trusted as they’d like to be. All of those are good questions to ask that we should have the courage to ask.
It starts with saying the four-letter word and it’s okay to love in business as it is to life. It’s one being now. How we work, how we live, who we are, it’s one person, one company, one product, one service that all comes together in the name of love. I hugely believe in it. As Tina Turner asked, “What’s love got to do with it?” Jon Bon Jovi said, “You give love a bad name.” I giggle about this but don’t fool yourselves and thinking that you could wake up the next day and be like, “We’re all about love, let’s do this.” You can’t give it up in one night. You have to lay crumbs. You got to romance love. You’ve got to start with the one place you’re going to start, which I find is asking your colleagues and customers what they love about you. Have the courage to ask what they don’t love and start looking at management practices that celebrate love as a leadership practice. It brings you to positivity and all of these things. There’s so much science and evidence behind this that we can’t underestimate this. This doesn’t feel good. It does good. That’s what we need to focus on together as we climb our way out of 2020.
That’s beautifully summarized. Thank you, Mia. This has been fantastic. For people who would like to stay in touch with you, learn more about what you’re doing, and tell you how much they love you. What is the best way for people to connect with you?
They can find me on LinkedIn and Twitter. It’s simple, Mia Kyricos or @MKyricos. You can also find me at Kyricos.com. I’m there and it might take me a little while to get back to you, but I always will get back to you. I promise that in the spirit of love and business.
Thank you for joining us. Thanks for reading, folks. Until next time, remember to do the best you can, to do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.
- Kyricos & Associates, LLC
- Spafinder Wellness Inc.
- LinkedIn – Article
- Love Is The Killer App
- The Radical Leap
- Canyon Ranch
- Global Wellness Institute
- Mia Kyricos – LinkedIn
- @MKyricos – Twitter
About Mia Kyricos
Mia Kyricos is a globally respected thought leader with 25+ years of cultivating wellness, hospitality, lifestyle, and travel brands across 100+ countries. As President and Founder of Kyricos & Associates LLC, a strategic advisory and referral firm, Mia provides brand strategy, business development, and operational insight enabling public and private entities to thrive in the $4.5T global wellness economy. Most recently, she was SVP & Global Head of Wellbeing at Hyatt, setting a new hospitality industry standard as the leader and curator of the company’s global wellbeing strategy, spanning commercial health and wellness-related products, services, and partnerships, as well as colleague wellbeing worldwide. Prior to Hyatt, she was Chief Brand Officer of Spafinder Wellness, Inc., where she led the company’s brand evolution, positioning Spafinder as the global authority on wellness providers and resources. Mia also served as Vice President of EXOS where she oversaw and expanded the workplace wellness start-up division operating on Fortune 500 corporate campuses. Prior to EXOS, she was Director of Global Spa Brands at Starwood Hotels & Resorts where she led the creation of 6 international spa brands and managed the Starwood Spa Collection – a consortium of 60 wellness travel destinations across 26 countries. Named 2019’s Leading Woman in Wellness, and Cornell University’s Alumna of the Year, Mia’s work and expertise has been featured in business and trade publications including The New York Times, LA Times, CNN, Smart Money, Hotel Business, Travel Weekly, Lodging, Real Simple, Market Watch and more. She holds a Master of Management in Hospitality Administration (MMH) from Cornell University, and a BA in International Relations from Wheaton College in Massachusetts. She has served the boards of the Global Wellness Summit, and the University of California Irvine, and currently sits on the Advisory Boards of Cornell University, Wellness for Cancer, and the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a 501(c)(3) non-profit educational foundation she helped found. SHE SIMPLY ASPIRES TO HELP PEOPLE LIVE WELL AND LOVE MORE.
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