Here’s a word we don’t associate with work: love.
For a lot of us love is a four-letter word at work. We’re there to produce and make rational, emotionless decisions where you tell someone “It’s just business.”
But is that good business? Our guest this week says it might not be. This week on #WorkTrends, Steve Farber joins us to talk about his newest book, “Love Is Just Damn Good Business,” and about why we need to destigmatize love in the workplace.
Listen to the full conversation or read the recap below. Subscribe so you never miss an episode.
Why Is Love Good Business?
Love isn’t a word typically associated with business, but Farber says it’s used much more commonly than we think in professional settings. He cites numerous experiences sitting down with executives and hearing that they “love” their team.
Farber says he hopes to reclaim the word “love” and put it into a professional context because he believes it’s an essential part of great leadership and thriving businesses. “It’s more in the lines of love as a business practice, as a discipline versus a soft abstract feeling,” he says. “That’s the difference.”
What a Shipping Company Can Teach Us About Love
When asked about how leaders can bring more love to their workplace, Farber cites the turnaround story of a shipping logistics company in Jacksonville, Florida, called Trailer Bridge. The company had endured quite a bit of turnover — it had gone through four CEOs in three years — and was on its last legs when it promoted a manager, Mitch Luciano, to take over the organization.
Luciano set out to create a culture that would “operationalize love,” as Farber puts it. Luciano kept the majority of his employees but also worked to make sure they would interact more. He lowered the heights of the cubicles in the office so that employees could see each other. He brought in a food truck for lunch once a week so employees would create shared experiences. And he eliminated the policy of wearing name tags so that employees would be forced to learn each other’s names.
Luciano also made changes to how the company interacted with customers and approached its operations. And the hard work paid off. “The company’s revenue over the last two years is greater than the previous 25 years of the company combined,” Farber says. The company is now expanding and is atop lists of the best places to work in Jacksonville — and all it took was a little love.
Are You Bringing Love to Work?
We’ve all been on the wrong side of a breakup — we think we’re bringing all the love we can, but it can be humbling to find out that you’re going about things all wrong. And when that experience happens, it always helps to look in the mirror.
So how can you make sure you’re bringing love to work? Farber doesn’t have a magic mirror with all of the answers, but he does have a self-assessment you can take here. “It’s a reflection tool,” he says. “It’ll give you a sense of where you are and make some recommendations to you as to how to get to the next level. It’s a good reflection tool. It’s a nice starting place.”