Love is damn good business

Glenn Thomas
I have to first give a BIG shout-out to author (and mentor in my head) Steve Farber for this topic and title. His latest book “Love Is Just Damn Good Business” is a must read for anyone who even slightly thinks of themselves as a business enthusiast. And if you are just intrigued by the notion that business can be amplified via love, well, just grab this book and commence to being wowed! 
In recent history, love is a topic that has been relegated to family and close friends - the people that we interact with outside of work experiences. Love, the word, and the behaviors that are traditionally associated with love, typically are taboo in the workplace. 

Sure, we may say things like, “I love my job,” or “I love the people I work with” — and these indeed may be sentiments that are heartfelt and real. But at the core of these sayings, I wonder if we unintentionally gloss over what we really mean to say.

Meaning, are we truly being honest when we say “I love my team.” If so, then great. Because studies show that the workplace “love” that we share translates into deep, meaningful human connections that help develop cultures of inclusion and feelings of belonging.

In the study, ”What’s Love Got to Do With It?: The Influence of a Culture of Companionate Love in the Long-term Care Setting”, Wharton professors Sigal Barsade and Olivia A. O’Neill, surveyed 185 employees, 108 patients, and 42 patient family members at two points in time, 16 months apart, at a healthcare facility. Employees who felt they worked in a loving, caring culture reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork, and they showed up to work more often.

Their research also demonstrated that this type of culture related directly to client outcomes (“Love in the workplace” Marcella Bremer, 2018). Love simply shows up differently in the workplace, and that’s ok. Actually, it’s appropriate. Many leaders that I speak with attempt to rationalize the question “Why is love so important in the workplace if it presents itself differently?”

Dr. Ryan M. Niemiec shares that “Love simply takes on a different form, but it is still love. Love will often be expressed differently at home and in one’s closest relationships, perhaps with hugs, kisses, and loving touch. That is not the way love is expressed in most workplaces.”

What if love is the answer?

Love in the workplace can be seen in how we communicate with each other; the care, time and attention that takes place in meaningful conversations that are not rooted in ulterior motives. Love is also displayed in the way we connect and engage with each other.

It’s the way we decrease "self", in order to increase “us”. It’s the removal of long held biases and prejudices; the openness to add, not to fit. Love in the workplace is also how we adapt - adapt to change, to new experiences, even to failure. 

Love is how we purposefully lift each other in our darkest hour. It is ultimately how we deliver for each other. It’s how we translate emotions and words into influential behaviors and habits; it’s how we show up and show out for each other with vulnerability and courage; not caring what the noise says, only caring for each other with the most authentic version of ourselves.

Love is indeed damn good business. Without it, what do we really have? A product, or service - maybe. But with love, we have so much more. We become something so much greater than just the revenues and expenses that quantify the basics of what we offer to the world. Yes, love creates something within us that transcends the legalese and transactional elements of our day to day. Love makes what we do - what we create, “just damn good business”.