The Love Imperative: The Best Way to Lead any Organization


I am giving away one new copy of Joel Manby’s new book Love Works. To enter to win, please COMMENT on this blog post and I’ll be randomly selecting and announcing the winner on FRIDAY, JUNE 15.

If I told you that leading with love is the best way to lead any organization, would you buy that? If you are skeptical of the concept of blending ‘love’ and work, you aren’t alone. That is why I am asking you to continue read the rest of the blog post because I think you are in for a surprise.

It was around 7am on April 6, 2012 when I arrived at the Oregon Convention Center with my suit on. The place was gigantic. As I entered the ballroom, the place was packed with over hundred of tables filling the place easily with 1200 people. I was at the annual Portland Good Friday Breakast. My good friend Ben invited me to introduce me to his colleagues. It wasn’t long after the breakfast and small talks Joel Manby was introduced as the keynote speaker.

Joel Manby’s story absolutely mesmerized me. Graduated from Harvard Business School, he took on the accelerated path of leadership development, rising into senior executive positions in his mid thirties. He had stints as a senior executive in Saturn, then being promoted to the North American CEO of SAAB with outstanding performance. He then moved to being the CEO of an Internet start-up right before the Internet bubble burst. In the midst of his extraordinary success, Manby confessed he felt completely opposite where he found himself spiraling down into a sea of meaninglessness. His relationship with his wife and family was at the verge of destruction. He thought to himself all of this for what?

The same week was the lowest point in his life and he received a call from Jack Herschend the founder of Herschend Family Entertainment where he was a board member. Herschend made a timely call asking him to become the next CEO of HFE. Jack Herschend felt that there was no better person than Manby to work for a company like Herschend Family Entertainment where there was a complete fit of values and culture of HFE. After his scores of leadership experience in the auto industry, Manby confesses that it wasn’t until he worked for HFE, he learned the best way to lead. Leading with love.

What did he mean by leading with love? He wasn’t talk about love the emotion where you think about romantic and fuzzy feelings (eros), nor the love of friendship and the fellowship of being with people you enjoy (philos), nor the mutual affection between family members (storge).He talked about agape love – love the verb. It is deliberate and unconditional love that is the result of choices and behaviors rather than feelings and emotions. It is exactly this type of love that motivates people and organizations.

Joel Manby outlines seven principles of love in Love Works. These are paraphrases of the “love chapter” in 1 Corinthians 13.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

  1. Be patient—demonstrate self-control in difficult situations.
  2. Be kind—show encouragement and enthusiasm
  3. Be trusting—place confidence in those around you.
  4. Be unselfish—think of yourself less.
  5. Be truthful—define reality corporately and individually.
  6. Be forgiving—release the grip of the grudge.
  7. Be dedicated—stick to your values in all circumstances.

Choosing to lead with love is perhaps the most difficult decision a leader can make, but the payoff is enormous as you will see both your bottom line and culture thrive. This is a compelling book outlining a practical road map to a leadership that the trouble world desperately needs. Hope you will enjoy it too!

Joel Manby _ Love Works