Is Love the Next Buzzword in Business? This the title of a recent article in Forbes. And according to Corey Michael Blake, the answer is that it should be; yet too many people are missing the boat.
Having attended the recent Conscious Capitalism CEO Summit in Austin, Texas, Blake shares with us what it means to be a conscious company; and yes, it involves that famous four letter word: L…O…V…E…amazingly abstract yet concrete at the same time. And a word that is often shunned in business.
After hanging out for half a week with amazing people working hard to connect with one another, at the end of the day, Blake had a moment of clarity: That too many people are “chasing the wrong definition of what it means to be conscious.” In short and as a reminder of what Tom Brokaw once said: “It’s easy to make a buck. It’s a lot tougher to make a difference.” In other words, it can be quite easy to make money and give a portion of that profit to charities of your choice; but “breathing love into an organization is an entirely different proposition.”
Inspired by John Mackey and Raj Sisodia’s book, Conscious Capitalism, all of us who are familiar with this work more than appreciate their effort to bring love into the leadership conversation. “But leading with love is not an intellectual exercise” or something you can study or obtain from attending a conference. “It’s a lifestyle you have to commit to with time, energy and resources.”
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Love…that intense feeling of deep affection which cannot be possible until we see and fully understand one another.
Love…that condition in the human spirit so profound, “it encourages us to develop courage and build bridges and then trust those bridges…in attempts to reach other human beings.” (Maya Angelou).
Love…that force of nature that cannot be commanded or taken away.
But What is Love?
Ask this question and you will receive multiple answers. A physicist will tell you that love is based on chemistry. A psychologist may tell you that love falls under many guises. The philosopher might refer to love as passionate commitment. An author might say that love is the driver of all great stories. And an IT person could tell you it’s the most popular word search on Google.
The definition of love comes in many shapes and sizes and is unique to each of us. And while it may be challenging to define, one thing seems clear: Until we can “open ourselves up and share space with fellow human beings, appreciating and respecting their journey; love is not accessible.”
Open ourselves up?
In order to create sustainable organizations that will lead us through the future, love and leadership must unite. Love is the next evolution in leadership.
If leaders and organizations do not renew, they are sure to decay and become toxic. It is therefore imperative that you and your organization renew the capacity to communicate authentically; engage and build deeper relationships with the people in your organization; and cultivate a culture of respect. Love must underpin all of it — because with love comes trust.
What also comes with love is vulnerability. And I believe that is why the “L-Word” is seldom spoken at the office.
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We need to stop hiding from one another. We must permit ourselves to be vulnerable – communicating in ways that allow us to be deeply seen and known to others. It is only then that we will create opportunities for the deep connection required to cultivate love. And what I mean by “deep connection” comes from Brene Brown: “The energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued; when they can give and receive without judgment [or repercussion]; and when they derive sustenance, strength [and meaning] from their [business] relationships.”
So dare to authentically communicate.
Dare to make deep connection.
And yes…even dare to love.
Because without communication, there is no relationship.
Without respect, there is no love.
And without trust, there is no reason to continue.