Is It Love at Work?
This time of year, there are two words that you’ll hear a lot: love and chocolate. When it comes to the workplace, one might be related more than the other. And that’s love.
Love. Really? Do we really have love in the workplace? Yes…and unfortunately no.
More and more companies (albeit still a small number) are embracing the understanding that love in its purest and most authentic form is an important part of a company’s make up. Interstate Batteries, the $1.6B manufacturer of batteries, states it as their first core value. While this is surprising, should it be? Love fundamentally is at the core of healthy relationships. And isn’t that what a great business is? A complex combination of healthy relationships. I’ve long believed that organizations exist to serve people, not the other way around. Great organizations create healthy relationships that allow people to combine their best talents in a way that creates unique value for others. Why wouldn’t Love be an integral ingredient in that?
Maybe to answer the question, we have to think about what love is. To me, it’s a choice…and it’s an action. It’s a choice to place the well-being of someone else as a primary concern without regard to what it means for you. And it manifests itself in the actions that ensue from that choice. (By the way, you can tell me I’m wrong on those accounts, because I can’t find a dictionary definition of love that comes close to that).
What love at work looks like.
How does love come into the workplace? Through simple actions. Taking the time to notice someone. Smiling. High-fiving. Hugging. Treating suppliers and vendors like people. Treating employees like people. Passing along positive feedback. Passing along constructive feedback. Taking the time to give feedback at all. Coaching someone up. Coaching someone out. Helping people recognize what their unique talents and gifts are. Saying thanks—and meaning it. Dealing with complex, challenging, and even political situations with a compassion and humanity that recognizes that people are at the heart of the decisions and that people’s lives are affected. And choosing courses of action that are good for the business but still honor and respect the dignity of people in the long term. Having the courage to make the decisions you believe are right in spite of short-term pain. Standing up to bureaucracy and politics and red tape and policies that aren’t right…and don’t preserve dignity. Or maybe you add a chocolate stash in the lunch room. (Maybe it is related.)
We don’t talk about love at TiER1 much. Frankly, it’s a little awkward to talk about. But, I see it in action every day and that to me is far more important. And I’m very encouraged to see many competitive, capitalist companies embracing love at the core of their organizations. Why not let it work for you?