I just came across this video interview with author and leadership expert Steve Farber. In his view love should be a feature of more businesses, whether they be in real estate sales, photography, or any other role:
It’s quite long, so here are some quotes from the video, as well as some of my own thoughts.
What’s love got to do with business?
Here’s an interesting quote from 8:30 in the Steve Farber interview:
“We want love in every aspect of our lives … and then we go to work and it no longer applies. It doesn’t make any sense. This idea that business is a purely rational endeavour, but we know it’s not.Steve Farber
… If business involves both the emotion and rational thought, then why would it include all emotions except love?”
For some reason a lot of us treat businesses, and the engagements we have with other people through our business, as if it should all be corporate and professional and sterile.
Why do we think that might be the ‘right way’ to do business? Why are we unwilling to engage with people as people?
I’ve been thinking about this, and I wonder if it’s because our past experiences with business leaders and bosses all took place through very bland conversations and corporate talk, and we feel that that’s just how you do things when you reach the top. We think the fun people are all at the bottom of each organisation, and as they climb further and further up the chain they seem to become more and more corporate.
It doesn’t have to be that way, and I think it’s great to see an increase in more casual dress and openess by leaders, especially the younger generations. They seem to grasp that business is a person-to-person interaction much more easily than older people do, and from what I’ve seen it’s working pretty well.
Here’s a quote from 16:50 in the above video:
“Leadership requires a connection of the heart. Because what we’re doing as leaders, regardless of our position or title, is we are striving to change things for the better – to change our piece of the world for the better and eventually the capital ‘W’, the whole wide world for the better, in the broadest possible sense.
And it’s the heart that drives us to do that. It’s the heart that creates connections between people. This is what we need to do as business people.
… This is not an easy thing to do … but operationalizing love, taking the experience of love and weaving it into the way that we do business, is hard work.”– Steve Farber
When we think about why we do what we do, it has to come back to doing it because we want a better world for us and those around us.
Why do we come to that conclusion? Because the love inside us compels us to pursue goodness. The problem is that we often push that to the side in our businesses because it doesn’t seem appropriate. Or at least that’s what we tell ourselves.
What does ‘love’ mean in practical terms?
“This is about raising the standards, not lowering them, (but) raising the standards, holding ourselves and the people around us accountable to those standards, but if we’re really coming from a place of love then we’ll do all that with kindness. The minute we lose kindness the love evaporates.”– Steve Farber
What he means here is that adopting a mindset of ‘love first’ will mean that we seek to deliver a better product and better outcomes for our clients and customers.
Are you seeking to be the best builder, the best real estate agent, or the best manager you can be? When we operate from a point of love, where we truly love and care for our customers and therefore we want the best for them, then nothing less than our best will be enough.
To give another example, loving our customers might mean being sure that we turn up on time for an appointment, and if we happen to be late then we communicate clearly and early.
It also means that we will not let our standards drop, regardless of the client we are working with at the time. For example, if you’re a real estate agent, then this means that you strive to communicate just as well, and work just as diligently, on the $100,000 listing as you do on the $10,000,000 listing.
To give another practical example, Steve emphasizes the benefits of putting your phone away and not texting or messaging someone whilst in the presence of your customers and others (from around 26:44 in the video above):
“If you can develop the capacity for being fully present with whomever you’re with – putting the phone away, not being distracted, really tuning in and really listening – you are going to gain a tremendous competitive advantage as a business person, as a human being because so few people … have that ability anymore, and people will always respond to it.”– Steve Farber
That might seem like a small thing, but I think it’s important because our team, and our customers, notice these things. In a world where everyone seeks to be connected via our devices, it’s nice to connect with someone face to face, and it’s that heightened level of engagement, where you ignore your phone and focus 100% on giving what others call ‘the currency of business – attention’, that builds businesses.
What’s your reputation?
Later on in the video they talk about how we might assess whether we are doing enough to love our customers, and here’s a comment from 1:04:34:
“The question you might want to ask yourself is – what is my reputation? Do I like my reputation? If I don’t like that reputation then it’s time to change it.”– Lynda West
So if you’re a real estate agent, and you’re trying to work out if you’re doing the right thing, then one way to assess that is to look at the reputation that you have. Getting an honest assessment on that from your customers will be more valuable to you then a self-assessment, but even if you can’t get your customers to complete a survey then at least try and review your reputation yourself to see if you are moving in the right direction.
Is your reputation in line with what we would expect from an agent, or a business, that loves their customers?
Steve Farber has an interesting definition for what we ought to be using to define our business roles (from 1:05:40):
“Do what you love in the service of people who love what you do.”– Steve Farber
… You can break that apart and use it as an assessment tool, or a conversation tool. To what degree are you doing what you love? To what degree are you serving people with what you love? To what degree do they love what you do? So you’re assessing yourself. You’re assessing the delivery, and you’re assessing the response.”
If you’re involved in real estate, then look at what you do and ask yourself:
‘Do I love helping people buy and sell their home?
Do I love the negotiating and the open homes and the property market?
Am I providing the level of service where my clients are delighted with what I’m doing for them?’
I think there’s a lot that any person involved in business can learn from that level of self-assessment, and I would encourage you to assess your business in this way on a regular basis. I know I will.