Guess what today is? It’s the day we express our affection to those we care about and love with the bestowing of Valentine expressions. Cards, candy … maybe even heart-shaped trinkets … jewelry perhaps? I’m guessing that most Valentine’s Day expressions are presented to initiate or affirm a connection that we hope will be reciprocated. That reminds me; I need to retrieve this handmade coffee mug from the back of the cupboard that I made for my wife Nancy, aka Mimi to our four grandkids, during a pottery session with my grandsons. Zach made a Spiderman and Jacob a car. Mimi’s mug has a painted red heart-shaped handle … here it is … perfect for Valentine’s!
OK, back to “business”. What about love at work? As an icebreaker I have always grinned at the words of Jim Autry who wrote: “good management is largely a matter of love. Or if you’re uncomfortable with that word, call it caring, because proper management involves caring for people, not manipulating them”.
Autry wrote those words in the Introduction to his book Love and Profit. So what gives him the platform to espouse love as the heart of management? Answer: his 10 years as CEO of Meredith Corporation Magazine Group, publishers of Better Homes & Garden, Ladies Home Journal, etc.
Autry recently was given an “encore” in the second edition of my current reading, Firms of Endearment. The co-authors wrote: Autry focuses on strategically crucial dimensions of human behavior that relatively few companies acknowledge in their policies and operations. Most business leaders think in terms of numbers and profit. Love and Profit is an alien conjunction of words that is quantitatively murky. What’s the payoff? Well, as that sage of sages Albert Einstein said, “not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.” It is attention to the immeasurable qualitative dimensions of life that gives Firms of Endearment [FoE ] companies their crucial competitive differences from their competitors”
Daniel Pink, author, Whole New Mind, adds: “High concept involves the ability to create artistic and emotional beauty, to detect patterns and opportunities, to craft a satisfying narrative, and to combine seemingly unrelated ideas into novel intention. High touch involves the ability to empathize, to understand the subtleties of human interaction, to find joy in oneself and to elicit it in others, and to stretch beyond the quotidian, in pursuit of purpose and meaning”
FoE authors continue: “According to Pink, we are in a new era in which company survival and growth will depend less on quantitative factors and more on qualitative factors. Perhaps the most powerful qualitative factor present in the culture of FoEs we’ve examined is love – a deep, tender, ineffable feeling of affection that runs from company to stakeholder and back again to the company.”
Love it! FoE authors again: During the 1990s, the phrase “share of wallet” became popular among marketers. It became the primary focus of the marketing approach called customer relationship management (CRM). FoEs have bought into a different idea; they strive for a share of heart. Earn a place in the customer’s heart and she will gladly offer you a bigger share of her wallet. Do the same for an employee and the employee will give back with a quantum leap in productivity and work quality.
See the LUV connection now? Raise your hand if you’re bored with Southwest Airlines being the pinnacle example of corporate caring (dare I say love?) for people … employees and customers? It’s Valentine’s Day at Southwest Airlines everyday! Their example never gets old. My favorite “measure” of this is their constant waiting list of prospective employees.
How do they do that? Here’s how… And you can do it too!
- They have a cause… they stand for something!
- They tell, tell, tell … and not just once a year at annual meetings!
- “Top Down” … in a family, love is expressed first by the parents, in a business by the CEO or President. Room and board in the family context or a paycheck in the workplace … neither is a Valentine!
1, 2, 3 … that’s it! Whatever you want from someone, give it first!