What? Love and business? Yep. It is a concept I explain in Lovability, my new book — it means building a product that customers love and a business where people can do meaningful work and be happy doing it. The word “lovability” sounds friendly, but achieving it is not easy. It requires honoring a deep responsibility to yourself and your co-workers.
Let me give you a concrete example. A few years back, a member of our team needed to rush her daughter to the emergency room. There was no time to explain, but she had to go quickly. She posted a message via group chat. One of her colleagues picked up a scheduled customer meeting that was on her calendar with about three minutes’ notice, no questions asked.
That is lovability in action. It is about bringing your best to each day and helping your co-workers do the same.
Why would her colleague not jump in and help her? He was available and she needed someone to help. But I also realize that most of us have experienced the reverse scenario. The co-worker who was too focused on their own work to help. Or worse, the colleague who promised to help “later.” Or what about the person who refused to do work that they believed to be “below their pay grade”?
Lovability is about being happy at work and treating everyone with respect. It acknowledges that we spend more time with co-workers than our family and that we all benefit from making our business relationships meaningful. It leads to mutually positive interactions and exchanges of value that are lasting. And as that love deepens, people feel grateful and committed. This leads to sustainable happiness and achievement for everyone.
Do you want to be part of creating this type of workplace? If that sounds interesting, here is what I recommend you do — regardless of your role:
Be transparent. That means setting clear goals and sharing your plan of action. Share the “why” behind your plans and you will find ways to forge even more lasting bonds as you work together to make that plan a reality. Sharing also means that you cannot hoard knowledge or opportunities. Give your co-workers a chance to succeed at a project, rather than shutting them down before they even start.
Act as a supportive coach. This does not require that you directly manage another teammate. But it does require that you are personally vested in each person’s success. You do this by giving meaningful and direct feedback. And you also find opportunities to guide each other as you develop skills, grow into new ones, weather challenging times, and reach career goals. Oh, and do not forget that coaches celebrate wins. Look for ways to acknowledge achievements.
Put the team’s best interests first. Part of this is watching out for any dysfunctional elements that could hinder progress, such as office drama or work that does not fit into the overall goals. It is also about giving freely of your own time and energy. It might be a last-minute emergency request like the one I described earlier. But it might be smaller, like taking time out of your busy schedule to bounce off ideas or even just listen. It should not feel like an annoyance — but rather a welcomed responsibility.
Co-workers spend an awful lot of time with each other — when you can build trust, commitment, and even love together, you collectively will have the best opportunity to build lasting value.
Are you ready to take this on? You can find the tools for this love-forward approach in my new book. As I mentioned, it is not easy and every day is not perfect. It requires dedication and sacrifice. It will often push you to put the interests of others ahead of your own. But it leads to the ultimate reward — meaningful work and a happy team.