What Has Love Got To Do With Business?
“Oh my, this is going to get weird! Love works for marriage, but for business?” And yet, I titled the last chapter in Millennials Matter, “Love is the Ultimate Measure of our Lives.”
What caused me to shift my thinking about love, as it relates to business?
Here are three personal aha’s I had about love + business.
Aha #1: It’s time to talk about clients as human beings…first
I had just spent two hours talking to a group of sales entrepreneurs about the problem of desocialization…we agreed that desocialization is happening on a global scale due to technology and social media. Yes, we can connect with each other via e-mail, LinkedIn, Facebook, texting, etc. However, these “faceless” mediums often leave us feeling isolated and lonely. In contrast, we need to be servant leaders who care for each other.
At the end of my session, the organizer, Cem, very measuredly and politely says, “Danita, there’s something we haven’t talked about yet.”
I’m racking my brain, thinking, ‘What have I missed?” I thought we had a very in-depth discussion on the importance of listening and asking questions to get to the heart of the problem. I was inspiring this group to be a real help to someone, not just another useless salesperson. I can’t imagine what Cem is thinking.
In true Danita style, I keep my cool as I calmly reply, “Yes, Cem, go ahead. What are we missing?”
I’m wondering if he’s going to say something about technical competence, sales process, or something relating to sales performance.
His next words take me by complete surprise…
“We haven’t spent enough time talking about…love!”
In my mind, I exclaim, “WHAT?!?”
However, on the outside, I smile and say, “Go on, Cem. Tell us more.”
Cem continues, “So many of us are focusing on our story, we forget what’s happening in our clients’ lives. We need to make time to talk to people about them and what’s going on with them…before we talk about their business. To be truly successful in business, we need to connect with people as human beings before we start talking about their human doings. We need to love our prospects and clients!”
This was an impactful moment in my leadership journey. And the same is true when we mentor and coach our emerging leader.We need to respect, care for, serve, and honor those we lead by listening to them and seeking to understand their world. ~ Danita Bye Click To Tweet
In fact, we need to love them.
Which brings me to my second story…
Aha #2 –It’s time to talk about a positive ROI
A small part of me was still pondering the validity of the “love in business” concept. In short, I was asking, “Is love good for business?”
In Millennials Matter, I write about the research from the 2014 Harvard Business Review article, “Employees Who Feel Love Perform Better.” According to the article, employees who felt they worked in a loving, caring culture, reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork.
What!?! Love is good for business? There’s a positive ROI on caring, really caring, for others!
As my analytical brain thinks about it, I wonder, “How do you operationalize love and caring in the workplace?” Here are some ideas:
- Recognize when your NextGen leader or salesperson goes the extra mile.
- Compliment a job well done via a handwritten note of appreciation.
- Do your work with excellence. (In fact, this is one of the primary ways in which we can live out the great commandment, to love God and love others.)
- Give a smile. As Mother Teresa said, “We shall never know all the good that a simple smile can do.”
And then, finally, there was the most surprising aha moment of all….
Aha #3 – It’s Time to Talk about Accountability and Raising the Bar
Can accountability and love be used in one sentence? No way, that’s not possible. You know what happens when you start talking about accountability! Eyes roll, deep sighs, even panic!
“Oh, here we go again…”
“What did I do wrong?”
“Now I’m going to get punished!”
I remember exactly when and where it happened. I was at JFK Airport reading The Advantage, by one of my favorite authors, Patrick Lencioni. I was very interested to learn his thoughts on accountability. You see, I’m passionate about accountability. To get engaged employees and peak performance, the leader needs to be willing to hold people accountable. I always felt like maybe this was a “mean” management thing to do. Accountability conversations can be tough conversations.
Then, I read this from Lencioni about “love” (in a business book!) – and my world was spinning!
“At its core, accountability is about having the courage to confront someone about their deficiencies and then to stand in the moment and deal with their reaction, which may not be pleasant. It is a selfless act, one rooted in a word that I don’t use lightly in a business book: love.”
So, if Lencioni says it, it must be true! 🙂
Summary of the Three Aha’s
I hope that my three aha moments inspire you – not only during February but all year round – to be intentional in caring for those around you.
For those of us who are task-oriented and love checking things off our ToDo List, (like me!) we need regular reminders of the title of the last chapter in Millennials Matter, “Love is the Ultimate Measure of Our Lives.”
Leadership Lesson: Caring, really caring is a powerful business strategy for leading, coaching, and mentoring the emerging leader in your life.
Leadership Question: What have you done to incorporate caring and serving as a business and leadership strategy?