What About Love?

Tom Peters has a very interesting point on his blog about the basic principles that underlie all the good management books out there. He argues that the basic principles get less attention than do the newest programs in human resources or management.

Re-imagine management? Not by my lights. Instead, put the eternal but seldom practiced verities first and create a workplace that is constructed on a base of trust and respect and decency and commitment to personal growth and one another, and, yes, love.

As I think about his comment, I know that many, many managers would agree with the statement, but at the same time they are not really acting on it. They’re not mean bullies creating a horrible workplace, but at the same time they become too busy to really focus on respect and personal growth of everyone. When is the last time someone talked about love at work (that wasn’t gossip!)?

My sense is we are afraid. Why?


  1. 08.10.2007 at 1:20 pm

    A good posting, Jamie. Peter’s words are an important reminder of what leadership is really about.
    Afraid? Maybe–it will be interesting to see what responses you may get on this point.
    I think I might characterize the situation, when it occurs, as folks (including me) getting mixed up by what’s urgent, rather than what’s important. OTOH, I’m not sure when the last time I saw love as either an organizational strategic objective or a personal annual performance objective. Maybe time for a reassessment?

  2. Jay Karen
    09.10.2007 at 10:07 am

    I was just dealing with an issue between two of my staff yesterday. One accidentally backed into the other’s car, and while she is admitting fault, is acting incredibly childish and irresponsible about the matter. We are a small staff, and everyone is usually very friendly to each other…some have become friends over time too, which obviously happens in the workplace.
    The one whose car was hit actually put in her 2 weeks notice yesterday, because she feels she can no longer work with the person who has been acting very difficult and making life uncomfortable. I couldn’t believe that was the real reason she’d leave a job that she enjoyed, but that’s truly the reason. She said life is too short to be miserable and uncomfortable.
    When I talked with the staff person who caused the accident about how she was acting, I thought and talked about the presence of friendship and love in the office. In a small office like ours, there is a place for that love, and I’ve done my best to nurture that feeling in my four short months here. I asked her to close the loop on this car situation with as much compassion and friendship as possible, as she might with one of her dearest friends…with the hope that the other woman will change her mind about leaving.
    I’m committed to making this place an enjoyable place to be. We know that more awake hours are spent in a day with coworkers than family, so it’s important for there to be love in the office. When I accepted the CEO job, my board chair said, “We might not have a lot of money, but we have a lot of love.” I replied, “That’s a lot better than the opposite…the money will come, but you’ve gotta have that love, or you won’t enjoy your life.”
    Why isn’t more written about this? Life is too short to not have a vibe of friendship and love in the office at some level…more than just human decency.

  3. 09.10.2007 at 10:49 am

    Jamie — Thanks for the post. It is very easy to become so focused on schedules, results, and achieving goals that we allow our day to day relationships to fray. It sounds like Tom Peters is sharing the ancient wisdom that is recorded in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Tony