I spent three days recently at Steve Farber’s Extreme Leadership program. As usual, Steve had an amazing assortment of speakers and workshop exercises.
If you’re not familiar with Steve’s work, he’s the author of The Radical Leap, Greater than Yourself and The Radical Edge. The seminar rotated around the core of Steve’s work which is building a culture in your company around these four words: love, energy, audacity, and proof. And, that’s the topic of today’s conversation.
You don’t need to use these four words as your core values, but they are words you want to pay attention to if you want to create a company that is truly world class and be known as a great place to work. By the way, companies that do this will usually have better profits than their peers. Just an interesting result of applying these four words to what your company does.
Let’s start with the dreaded word, love.
The word love, should not be a dreaded word. We use the word all of the time with our families. I’ve always been confused why we can’t use the word in a business context.
After all, if you own your business, there’s a very good chance you love what you do. I bet you even love at least some of your customers and the same can be said for some of your suppliers and employees.
I want you to really think about the word love. I want you to think about how you can apply the word in the way you run your business. Do you love your customers? If the answer is no, it’s time to change your customers. Do you love your employees, and I’m not referring romantic love? If you don’t, you need to change those employees. What about your suppliers? You know what the answer is if you don’t love them.
For me, life is too short to work with people I’m not fond of and even love. I hope the same is true for you. BTW, when you love your stakeholders, life becomes much easier, and you don’t have to work as hard to keep your business running well.
Without energy, nothing gets done.
Here’s the funny thing about love. When you love what you do, and you love who you do it with, you’re going to find you have tons of energy for the work that you do. When you love everything about your business, work becomes effortless. You’ll be in “the zone” more often, and you’ll find that work doesn’t feel like a drain.
If you’re feeling that you’re burned out and getting the right amount of energy to do the right things in your business is tough, you might want to think about whether you’re doing the right things with the right people.
For me, this is an easy thing to do. My personal mission is to do interesting things with interesting people. For me to fulfill my mission, I need to love what I do, love the people I do it with and love the things I’m working on with the stakeholders in my life.
What about you? Are you feeling burned out? If so, you need to think about doing things differently.
Great things come from being audacious in what you’re trying to do.
You’ve learned that love is crucial to success and without energy you’re likely doing the wrong things. Let’s turn our attention to audacity. Too many times I see people like you playing it safe. Too many times I find that playing it safe is good for the short run, but it’s almost always going to cause you problems down the road.
Life is short. You want to make sure that when you turn 60 or 70 that you don’t look back at your life and wish you had done things differently. If you going to be a radical leader you need to be at least a little audacious. Sometimes it’s good to zig when the whole world seems to be zagging.
I can tell you that being willing to be different is something has brought lots of value to my life. Sometimes people will look at me a little strangely, but after a while being audacious is what people come to expect from you.
Here’s a caveat……being audacious is not a license to be obnoxious. If you’re obnoxious and you say, “I’m just audacious” you’re just giving yourself an excuse to act poorly. You always need to ask yourself this question, “Is the way I’m acting how I would act towards those I love?” If the answer is no, there’s a good chance you’re not audacious, you’re obnoxious.
Finally, without proof you have nothing.
Up to this point, you might be thinking that this blog has been too touchy-feely for you. And, without this step, you might be correct.
All programs that you start must have proof as part of what you do. This means you need metrics and dashboards. I’ve written extensively on this topic. Click here to read some posts on this topic.
The hard part with proof is that sometimes proof is not a measurable activity. Yes, your profits should go up with your use of LEAP (love, energy, audacity, and proof) in your business. You also will find that if you’ve done this well, you’ll find you’re having more fun with less effort. This is as much proof that things are better than seeing your profits increase.
If you want to have a personally and economically sustainable business, you need to pay attention to both. This is not an either-or situation. It’s when where both are important.
Why don’t you hit return and let me know what you think about being an extreme leader and incorporating love into your business?