In this episode of The Leadership Habit podcast, Jenn Dewall talks to Crestcom faculty member, bestselling author, speaker, and President of Extreme Leadership Inc., Steve Farber. Steve Farber is a subject matter expert in business leadership and one of Inc. Magazine’s global top 50 leadership experts. Steve is here to talk about his newest book, Love is Just Damn Good Business and how we can leverage love as a core business principle that generates measurable results.
Full Transcript Below:
Jenn DeWall: Hi everyone. It’s Jenn DeWall, the Leadership Development Strategist for Crestcom. And today on The Leadership Habit podcast, we are talking to Steve Farber. Steve, it is so great to see you. Thank you so much for coming on the show today.
Steve Farber: Thank you so much, Jenn. It’s a great pleasure to be here with you.
Jenn DeWall: Oh my gosh, Steve, you’re a best selling author, and I’ve had the privilege of reading the majority of your books. The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and Greater Than Yourself, but I haven’t been able to read your newest book yet, Love is Just Damn Good Business.
Steve Farber: You know, it’s a funny thing. Neither have I! I mean, not in its book form anyway because yeah, at the time that we’re recording this -it’s just in production. So by the time people are listening to this, it’ll be out. So yeah, I’m excited about that. Thank you.
Jenn DeWall: Oh my gosh. Can you tell us a little bit about this is your fourth book?
Steve Farber: Yeah, my fourth book. I’ve done several additions of the first three books, but this is my first entirely new book in, believe it or not, ten years.
Jenn DeWall: Holy Cow.
Steve Farber: Yeah. Yeah. So these ideas have been out there for, you know, for a long time- since 2004- was when the first edition of The Radical Leap first came out. So, you know, people have been, have been using these ideas in all kinds of businesses and all kinds of contexts for, you know, 15 years. And it’s just been amazing to see the impact that these simple universal ideas have had on so many different people in so many different businesses. So I’m really excited. I’m thrilled about the new book as every author should be.
Love is an Untapped Resource
Jenn DeWall: Right. This is your new product. I mean, even the title, right? For me, not having read it yet, like Love is Just Damn Good Business. It’s such an important statement that love can be invested and included when we say business, those two can live together, and they’re in our life.
Steve Farber: Yes. And you know the reason that I like the title is- there’s one very simple reason. It’s because love is just damn good business. You’re right. We are not accustomed to hearing that word in the same sentence as business. There’s some kind of collective conditioning I think that we’ve all been subject to that says that love is weak when it comes to business. That love is, it’s too squishy. It’s too- it’s going to distract you from the hard work of business. And if you really look closely at it, if you put that under a magnifying glass, it’s just not true. It’s just something that we made up. What I’ve found in my work is that, and by the way, when I say in my work, I’ve been working with just about every kind of company you can imagine now. For now it’s been 30 years, believe it or not. But what I found is that not only is love not weak, not inappropriate to use a double negative, it really is at the foundation of what great leadership is. And is that the foundation of what great business is. So this is really our most potent competitive strategic advantage that we have. If we could really understand this and operationalize love as a business practice.
Jenn DeWall: So is it fair to say that maybe love is an untapped resource for many organizations?
Steve Farber: I think it’s very fair to say that, and maybe I’m oversimplifying this but for the most part we business people, (and I am one of them). We haven’t given ourselves permission to even explore it. And once we start asking the question, and this is the critical question, what does or what should that look like in the way that we do business? So in other words, I’m not talking about love as a sentiment or as an abstraction. I’m talking about love as a discipline and a practice. So for example, if we really loved our customers, which every company says it does-
Jenn DeWall: but there are some days that they definitely may not show that they love them
Steve Farber: Let’s just say that some days they may not show that they do. If you say, “Hey, what do you think about your customers? Tell me about them.” They’re not going to say, publicly anyway, “they’re a bunch of idiots, you know, if they would get out of our way, we can get our jobs done around here.” That’s not what they say. They say, “Oh, we love our customers; they are the center of our universe. We exist for our customers.” Every company says that. And they should, they should say it. But the point is, it’s not about saying it, it’s about doing it. So it’s not enough to say, “yeah, I love my customers.” The question is if you really did, what would you do differently? How would you show that in the way that you show up for them, in the way that you develop products and services for them, in the way that you service them in the way that you respond to their needs in the way that you handle complaints? You know, all of that stuff. If we lay that out there as the objective to show our customers that we loved them, I mean overtly and intentionally, it, it raises the bar on everything that we do and raises the standard on everything. On every expectation that we have internally and externally in our company. This is not a small thing. This is not a frivolous, you know, a Valentine’s Day card. This is serious stuff, and it opens up a whole new world of possibilities for us. Just like you said, untapped resources.
Jenn DeWall: Yeah, it will. And I think, you know, love. I like how you just gave that example of do you really love your customers? Well, yes, that’s what we’re programmed to say. We’re a business. We know that we need our customers, we do value them. But it’s that second piece- like, well, prove it. Like how are you actually showing that you love them? Like what does love look like to you? Because sometimes with the cable company, I don’t feel that the way that they’re showing me love is true love.
Steve Farber: Exactly. Exactly. But they’re happy to print a little button that says we love you in the webpage and put a banner on the wall that says we love our customers. Yeah. And so there’s a gap. You’re right. So for example, I’ll just to put this in tangible terms. We’ve mentioned a lot of talk about a lot of case studies in the book. So this is really, the book is really about example after example after example, about how do you apply this stuff? I don’t want just to inspire people and say, “Oh yeah, that’d be nice.” Well, here’s how this company does it. Here’s how that executive does it. Here’s how that leader does it. There’s a lot of that sort of illustration in the book because that’s how we learn, obviously. So for example, what would it look like if you loved your customer?
What Does Loving Your Customer Look Like?
Steve Farber: If you were, let’s take a really sexy business, like in shipping and logistics. Okay. So one of my favorite examples in the book is a company called Trailer Bridge. They’re in Jacksonville, Florida. Okay. So they are a shipping and logistics company. They primarily shipped from the mainland to Puerto Rico. Now 25, 30 years ago, they were toxic. They were the low price kind of alternative. They went bankrupt as a result of that, and then they emerged from bankruptcy a number of years ago and burned through four CEOs in three years. Wow. So just stop and think about what that culture was like right there. Customers only did business with them when they had to because they were the cheapest and that was how they tried to compete. Then, in the meantime, he had a really high turnover because people hated working there. And, you know, they had to turn the place around. So a guy named Mitch Luciano took over as CEO, and it just so happens he was an advocate of love. He had read The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, Greater Than Yourself. You know, my first three books that we talked about and he really took this stuff seriously. So he said he was asked to take over as CEO, and he said, “okay, I’ll do it, but, I’m going to do this differently. I’m going to create a culture that people love working in. And if I can create a culture that people love working in, our customers are gonna love us because we do great things for them, they’re not going to just tolerate us, and all the crap that we do because we’re so cheap.” Right? So he said to his board, “be prepared.”
Steve Farber: This is not going to look like it’s looked in the past because he was coming from a place of love. But first of all, let me tell you what the result has been the last two years. They have their revenue; their profitability has exceeded the previous 25 years combined. They are the number two “Best Place to Work” in the city of Jacksonville, Florida. They’re expanding. They’re growing. Their customer numbers are through the roof. It’s a true transformation because they’ve operationalized love. So that’s a very long backdrop to get to the specifics. Okay.
Steve Farber: So for example, one of the things they did in the past as far as their customers were concerned, was they’re shipping a container from, let’s say Jacksonville to Puerto Rico. Okay, you’re a customer, and you’re shipping a car to Puerto Rico for your family, let’s say. And you’re expecting it to get there, to ship on a certain date and get there on a certain date. And then the company doesn’t ship. They don’t ship. Why didn’t they ship? Because the container wasn’t full enough, right? So they had a policy that said, unless we’re 70% full, we’re not going to sail it, and the number is X, give or take a percentage or two That was very internally focused because it costs us money to do that. Right? So screw the customer. Right? So here’s the question. If we really loved our customers, what would we do? If the ship was only 50% full on the date that we said we were going to ship, what will we do? If we really loved them, we’d ship, right?
Steve Farber: Because that’s what our customer expects. So that’s what they started doing. And now, you know, fast forward, they rarely ship less than 97% full. Wow. Because they’ve changed the whole expectation. And what Mitch did was, he pushed this idea through to the customer service folks. We love our customers. You do what it takes to take care of them. They’ve done things like send people out from their fleet to jumpstart a customer’s truck on the highway because their battery died after they picked it up from the dock. They’ve done so many things you know, and it just goes on and on. Just example after example of what love should look like? So that’s the challenge for all of us. It’s not enough to say, “Oh, I love my customers.” Like you said, Jenn, how do you prove it?
Jenn DeWall: That’s such a powerful example! What a huge revenue gain just by starting to really introduce love into their business model. I love that.
Why Don’t Business Leaders Cultivate Love?
Jenn DeWall: I have a few questions about your book that I wanted to ask because it is, you know, going back to that topic, it’s something that can be a little vulnerable, a little uncomfortable because we’re not accustomed to talking about it in business. But in talking about your book, love, just damn good business, why don’t leaders spend more time cultivating love at work?
Steve Farber: Yeah, I think it’s because we think that’s inappropriate or we have a misunderstanding of what it means, right? So we have to get really clear on what love means and what it doesn’t mean. So I appeal to common sense in this. Maybe that’s a dangerous thing to do on it. You know, I’ve had people say to me, well, “don’t you worry about,”- HR folks are particularly sensitive to this sort of thing. “Aren’t you concerned that people, that it’s going to give people permission to be inappropriate?” And it gets into that harassment kind of arena. So here’s what I have to say about that. That’s not love. That’s aggression, that’s predation, that’s not love. Love is about doing whatever you can to make the people around you as successful as they could possibly be. That includes your customers as well as your employees. So I think the reason we stay away from it is that it makes us nervous. We don’t really understand what it means. It has got some baggage associated with it. Another reason is what we, you know, what we talked about earlier. We’re kind of conditioned to believe that it’s what you do for your friends and family. And you know, people in your so-called personal life, but it doesn’t apply at work. Why? Because that’s the best answer we have. So I think that’s why we don’t pay attention to it as is. We think there’s something wrong with us.
Steve Farber: Jenn, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had people come up to me after listening to me speak at a conference or reading one of my books or whatever and say to me, ” you know what? I am so glad you’re talking about this because this is the way I’ve always felt. And I’ve always thought that there was something wrong with me. I thought that but haven’t done anything with it because people would think I was crazy.” So just hearing the confirmation that that impulse that you’ve had but haven’t acted on is the impulse you should act on is really liberating for a lot of people. There are people listening to this podcast right now, I guarantee you, that are saying, “wow, finally somebody is saying it now! What can I do differently? Because I know I’m not crazy.” Yeah. So that’s why we haven’t paid attention to it, because we haven’t thought we were supposed to. And maybe just giving people permission to pay attention to is enough to change the game.
Jenn DeWall: I do think we are conditioned in some way to think that our focus should always be the product or business operations or that in that love is seen as an emotion. And so that’s something that furthers us from accomplishing those goals in those areas. We’re programmed to think that way. Like, don’t get emotional or don’t get too invested or don’t treat your people like people because we need to get this process going or this product that way. I think we’re conditioned to look at it that way. And I think, you know, I love that movement of really seeing your people. You’re seeing your people, your customers, your employees, your coworkers and asking, “What can I do to help make your life better? Make you better? Make us better?”
Steve Farber: Yeah. We thought- we really did – think of love as an emotion, which it is. And according to the great Tina Turner, a secondhand one at that. But what’s really important in all of this, Jenn, is that we have a tendency, I think most of us have a tendency to sort things out into an either/or scenario, right? So I can’t do the “love thing” because I’m focused on product development, etc. Why are those mutually exclusive? The truth is, it’s about both. It’s not giving up one for the other. It’s not that, Okay – now I have to be a love-focused leader, that means I don’t care about results anymore, right? Entirely not the point. The point is you’re going to get better results no matter what it is you’re trying to do; and no matter how you determine or measure what those results are, results in terms of productivity results in terms of customer feedback, numbers, results in terms of turnover. It’s going to affect all of that. Now that sounds like a huge proposition, and it is, and I’m not saying it’s easy, you know. You show up for work tomorrow like, “now I love everybody.” It’s about starting with that and then getting to work, weaving that into the way that you do everything and that’s going to have an effect on all of the results that you get.
How do you Measure Love?
Jenn DeWall: And so I think it’s fair to say that it’s not all about trying to directly measure love as an emotion. It’s trying to see how switching your position and promoting love can drive the results. Because I think some “analyticals” might be saying you can’t measure love. So why would I do it? And it’s not about that. It’s about the ripple effect that’s created in your organization.
Steve Farber: Exactly, but it’s also a really good question. How do you measure love? How do you measure if, if somebody is really, seeing love be more tangible in the way they work. It’s a hard thing to do. But there are lots of things you can measure. So for example, one of the things that we love to use in the business world to measure customer love, we just haven’t used that language, but it does measure. It is a net promoter score.
Jenn DeWall: Ah Yes, yes.
Steve Farber: Promoter score is all based on, how likely are you to recommend our product and service to friends or family? Well, if, if I love your business, love your product, love your service, love the way you guys treat me, take care of me as your customer. Damn right, I’m going to be talking about you, and that’s going to be a ten on the net promoter score. We can measure customer’s responses; we can measure productivity at work. You know, how likely are people to do great work efficiently and creatively and consistently? You know, all those things that most companies try to measure. Then the question is, can you draw a direct parallel between those increases in numbers and love? And I think you can. I think a lot of the evidence here is admittedly anecdotal. Uh, but I think it’s because love is such a foundational thing that it has an effect on so many other things that are measurable. So a good question to ask yourself is, how’s it working without it?
Jenn DeWall: Yes. How happy are your people?
Steve Farber: Oh yeah. At Trailer Bridge, how was it working without it? When they blew through four CEOs in three years and four heads of HR in the same period of time and went bankrupt. How was that lack of love thing working? And then what happens once you added it? Okay, now can I draw a scientifically airtight argument that shows cause and effect and maybe, maybe not. But the anecdotal evidence is pretty damn strong, and it’s certainly worth a try if for no other reason than it’s going to feel a lot better.
Jenn DeWall: Great. Absolutely. Well, and you can see it, right? You see it. If you’re in an organization where people are unhappy, all you have to do is open your eyes, right? And you look around, and you can see people’s body language. You can see how they’re talking, and you can very easily see if they are in love with you. And if they love their jobs, like they will tell everyone about their jobs. If they’re not loving their jobs, they’re not going to tell anyone. And they will actually probably tell everyone never to consider working for you or doing business with you.
Steve Farber: Yeah, great example. So, to finish up this Trailer Bridge story, the other thing that they found is that here was a company that was spending tons of money on recruiting, right? Because you had to convince people to come and work there. They spend virtually no money on recruiting anymore because their best recruiters are their own employees and they’ve actually, you know, trained their employees on recruiting because they’re always bringing friends and family and people on because they want them to come work with them at this great place called Trailer Bridge. So they’ve saved tons of money on recruitment and have completely up-leveled the quality of their talent because they’re getting the right people in the door because everybody wants to work there. Now I want to say, everybody, I know it’s a slight exaggeration. A lot of people want to work there now because of the culture they’ve created.
Jenn DeWall: No, but that’s what happens. When those companies create that culture where people thrive, who wouldn’t want to work there, especially in a time where so many organizations are asking you to do more with less, if you’re in a smaller organization and thus the burnout rate is high, and you know, you’re not connected with what you’re doing. Or you can sense that there’s a lot of turnover and the culture is declining. Or if you’re experiencing layoffs or downsizing, there’s no love there. And how can you build that up? I mean, there are so many different periods that a business could really see value from bringing that into their culture.
Steve Farber: Absolutely. Well, yeah, you know, you’re singing my song.
Taking the Radical L.E.A.P.
Jenn DeWall: Well, I have another question for you. Um, you have a L.E.A.P. model- and leap is an acronym- but I’m curious, what is your L.E.A.P. model for Extreme Leadership and how can it explain love’s pivotal role in business strategy? And how can leaders use it to run a successful business?
Steve Farber: So, that’s a four-hour answer. I’ll try to do it in a couple of minutes. L.E.A.P. is a, obviously is part of the title of my first book, The Radical Leap. And it stands for Love, Energy, Audacity, and Proof. Okay? Cultivate love, generate energy, inspire audacity, provide proof. Now, so what you can infer from that is that I’ve been teaching this love thing for 15 years, because The Radical Leap first came out, as I mentioned, in 2004. Okay? So the whole framework is about applying love as a business principle. So you can think of it this way. Love is the foundation for the whole thing. Love generates energy. If you love your work, you’re more energetic about it. You bring more of yourself to it. If you love your team, you’re going to energize them. They’re going to be more committed. If you love your customer, as we’ve been talking about, you’re going to do things for them that are going to get them talking about you and spending more money with you, etc.
Steve Farber: So love generates energy. Love also inspires audacity. The way that I define audacity is it’s not “think outside the box.” It’s more like “what box?” It’s, it’s a, it’s a bold and blatant disregard from normal constraints in order to change things for the better. So we need to be audacious in our goals. You know, Jim Collins taught years ago and talked about it in Good to Greatest, Built to Last, he talked about the Big Hairy Audacious Goals, right? BHAGs. So it’s that kind of a thing. We want to be audacious with our challenges that we set for ourselves and the impact that we want to have on the people around us, including our customers. Love inspires audacity. If I love what we’re doing and the values that we stand for and everything that we’re trying to accomplish together, I will be more audacious.
Steve Farber: I’ll stretch more. I’ll think outside that proverbial box. I’ll try to accomplish really phenomenal things. And finally, love requires proof. So it’s not again, about using the right language. It’s about proving that we mean through the things that we do every day, including being congruent between our own words and our actions. Right? I need to prove my credibility to you by making sure that I’m consistent. That the things that you see me do are equated to the words that come out of my mouth. So if you take that L.E.A.P. framework: love, energy, audacity, and proof and apply it to anything that you’re working on. And I mean anything. So let’s say this podcast, okay? When you and the folks at Crestcom said, we’re going to do this really cool podcast- if you, first of all, love the idea, generate energy around everything that it would take to get it done, inspire you and the rest of the team to be audacious in the pursuit. Where are you going to reach people- all around the world, just in your neighborhood? Right? The more you love it, the more audacious you are. And then proving that you’re doing it through the actual steps, the implementation of the steps and the results that you get, right? Whatever it is that you’re trying to do if you can cultivate love for it, generate energy around it, inspire people to be audacious in the pursuit of it and prove that you’re making progress and it applies to absolutely everything. It’s a universal framework, and we’re seeing phenomenal results in companies. Like for example, Trailer Bridge We just, we see it play out over and over again. It’s, this is very tangible, concrete stuff. And, you know, I learned so much from my readers and my clients, you know, it’s amazing. I hear stories all the time, “well, here’s how we’re doing it.” I was like, wow, I never thought of that. That’s fantastic. So it’s a universal model.
Jenn DeWall: You know, what’s interesting about love is its- I think the other piece that I probably pulled from that is that love gives you permission to be audacious, right? If you feel like you are loved and supported, and that you’re valued, who wouldn’t want to work harder for that? You know, love is a motivator. It’s extreme, like you said, the energy piece of the L.E.A.P. But love gives you permission to take risks because you can say, I, I’ve got this. You have that feeling that I can trust myself, or that I’ll figure it out if I hit any roadblocks. I think that’s a really powerful piece of the L.E.A.P. model.
Steve Farber: Yeah, that’s a great observation. It comes back to the impact of culture on behavior, right? So every company nowadays says, “we want our people to be more innovative and creative,” right? We want to be disruptors. Yesterday we called it innovate. So we want people to be innovative, which means being creative, which means trying new things, which means being willing to take risks. And these are things that, that conceptually, just about every leader in business agrees with. But if I’m that person that’s being asked to be innovative and creative and take risks, if I’m scared that I’m going to be persecuted for taking a risk and then it doesn’t work out. If I really don’t believe that this company has my back, I’m just not going to do it. I’ll nod my head and say, “yeah ok, I’ll be more innovative, you betcha,” and that’ll be it. Right? So you’re right. When I feel loved, I’m going to be more audacious. I’m going to be more creative. I’m going to take more risks. I’m going to work harder because I’m intrinsically motivated to do that because I just want to make this place as great as it can be.
Love is not All Talk
Jenn DeWall: Yeah. And we want to do well. I guarantee that every single person that’s listening to this podcast right now wants to add value. They want to have meaning. They want to do things with love because they, I mean, it’s a beautiful energy to have just in the sense that it’s very motivating. It takes away that that gossip mentality, it takes away that criticism when you look at things through the lens of love, of how I can make you better instead of how can I tell you what you did wrong? There’s a different way that we feel and show up. And I think at a fundamental human level, we all desire that. It’s just going back to our earlier conversation, it’s either been a shot down request or something that’s not necessarily acceptable in the workplace, or maybe we just haven’t seen that it could work successfully within an organization that you can talk about this because it’s been so shunned.
Steve Farber: Yeah, that’s right. And you know, it’s not about just, you know, saying the right words. We really need to prove that we mean this. So from a leadership perspective, it’s not enough for me to, you know, to say, “I love you, man. I do. Just, hey, just want you guys to know that even though I treat you like crap, I really do love you. You know, at the deepest core of my being”, that’s not what we’re talking about here. We’re talking about how do you create an environment, what are the things you can do to show that love to those people that you work with and then they will be more likely to do better work.
Steve Farber: It’s not an either-or scenario. It’s not I either have to love people or have high expectations. Absolutely not. The greater the love is, the higher the expectations are. And the more accountable people are. Because if I love this place and I love this business, love what we’re trying to do together, my, in some ways, my tolerance for apathy, subpar behavior, a lack of follow-through- my tolerance actually decreases, right? Because I love this place so much. So this is not about, I’m not going to give you, “I love you.” I’m not going to give you, “I’m not going to call you out when you do something wrong.” Of course I am. I’m more likely to, but I’m going to do it in a way that’s more positive in a way, that’s more constructive because what I want to do is build this place up, not feel better by tearing you down.
Love and the Multi-generational Workforce
Jenn DeWall: I am a millennial. I’m closer to a Gen-Xer though. I’m not a very young millennial. The one thing that I will say from my experience of working with a lot of other millennials is we have the desire for that feedback, for that support, for that culture. You know what you’re promoting right now, love is just damn good business, is something that I would say, and this is kind of a generalization, but this is something that millennials have really kind of challenged organizations to switch the way that they’re doing things. And I can see how this fits in so nicely with the desires of the newest, biggest generation that’s hitting the workforce yet. That people do want more of a human connection than in the old techniques that were used in the past.
Jenn DeWall: We’ll be happy that you have a job here or you have this, and we don’t necessarily have to have regard for your emotions, feelings at X,Y and Z. That’s changed with the global economy. With all of the information, we can see that there are other companies that are providing those needs. And when you’re not, or if you’re still running things the way that you did before, people will continue to leave because they have choices now and choices that were presented in a different way than what they were ten, twenty or thirty years ago. And so I love that this is almost prescriptive as an approach that many companies can take to create a culture that is one where I would say your younger millennials want to stay.
Steve Farber: Yeah, absolutely. You know, it’s really interesting, Jenn, because as you’re talking about the millennial generation and everything you said is true and I am a big fan of this thinking and with this, you know, native technology coming in, people that grew up with technology, and this desire for connection and making a difference. And the interesting thing is that this is not entirely new. Thirty years ago was it? Thirty years ago now, maybe a little less than that. You know, mid-nineties. Okay. When I first started at a place called the Tom Peters Company, right? So Tom Peters- who was one of the greatest management thinkers of our day- and I spent six and a half years as vice president of his company back then. These are the discussions we were having. Desire for meaning at work and that work is not a place that you’re going to, you’re not going to spend the rest of your life at one job that, that you’re going to, you know, contribute as much as you can while you’re here until you go onto the next great thing. Apple was talking about that back in those days, that your experience at Apple will help you anywhere else. It was kind of revolutionary. So this is not a product of the generation. This is a trend that we’ve been pursuing as business people for quite some time. What’s happening now, I think it’s the convergence of that desire with technology, with an older generation like myself, for example, who has grown up cultivating these ideas to some degree. So it’s not entirely shocking to us anymore. Right? So now we’re faced with how do we really make this happen?
Steve Farber: We’ve been talking about it for a long time. Now we have a chance to really make this the norm versus the exception, the norm versus the aberration, right? I think it should be normal for you and I to, you know, meet up at a cocktail party, and I say to you, you know, “hey, what are you doing? What are you working on? Where are you working?” And you rave about your company, “Oh, this place is fantastic. This is great work. I can’t wait until Monday!” You know, that kind of thing. My reaction to that should be, well, of course, because that’s what work is supposed to be, but that’s not my reaction now. Right? My reaction, I was going to be really, that’s incredible.
On the other hand, if you say, “Oh, it sucks! My boss is an idiot; people are stupid. My customers are, you know, they’re more honest than I want, and I’m just there to pay the bills.” I might have compassion for you listening to your tale of woe, but I’m not going to be surprised, right? Because that’s kind of what we expect. We need to flip that around, then. It needs to be that this is the norm. We spend so much of our lives at work. Why shouldn’t we bring our hearts there? The idea that, that we pluck our heart out of our chest and leave it throbbing on the sidewalk until the workday is over is, first of all, it’s insane. And second of all, it’s, it just doesn’t serve us. So why, why pursue it that way? Why not flip it around?
How Can Leaders Do Better?
Jenn DeWall: Yeah. Why not? Why not? So the, you know, one of the last questions I have for you then, Steve, is how can leaders apply love to better lead their organizations and elevate their customers?
Steve Farber: Well, I’ve got a great book for them to read, to start with. That’s a good place to start.
Jenn DeWall: Love is Just Damn Good Business.
Steve Farber: Yeah, that’s a good plan! No, seriously, I think a lot of this starts with something very simple. And, you know, we can also think of this as a summary for what we’ve been talking about here for this last bit of time. Start by asking yourself as a leader, businessperson, entrepreneur, start by asking yourself a question similar to this. Why do I love this business? Why do I love this business? That’s the introspective part, reflection part. And the second part of the question is, and how do I show it? Or how could I show it better, right? So instead of giving folks a long list of things to do on this podcast, I would love for people to play around with that question. Now it’s a variation on the theme is, um, what do I love about this business? Because honestly, for a lot of people who say, “why do I love this business? Well, I don’t really,” they really don’t, “why do I love my team? Um, well, the team I’m in right now?” So I understand it’s a high bar for some people to start at. So, the variation is what do I love about this? Whatever the context is, this team, this company, this customer, and how can I show that better? And what that does, that question is designed to help you inspire yourself to get you thinking in the right direction and to start generating some specific actionable steps that you can begin to take. And then like I said, I was being half facetious you know, in the book you’re going to see lots and lots and lots of examples of people that have answered that question, that very question and answered every day in the way they do business.
Jenn DeWall: That’s, I love that. That’s something that our listeners can really think about right now. What do you love about your organization, your customers, your projects, and assignments, your peers? And start to do that reflection and think about how would things change if we actually started to show them that we love them instead of saying that we loved them.
What Is Your Leadership Habit?
Jenn DeWall: Steve, I have one final question for you, and this is another question that we close every one of our podcasts with. And it is what is your leadership habit for success? What do you do to be successful or to be the leader that you are?
Steve Farber: That’s a really great question. I don’t know that this falls in the category of habit. But if I look over the course of my career, maybe it does. It’s about talking with people. For me, it’s having a personal connection, and learning other people’s stories that has informed everything that I do. And it’s also how I’ve built my network of really beloved friends. So for example, it is not out of character for me when I get an email from somebody who’s read one of my books, for example, “So just wanted to let you know, I read-” they’ll soon, maybe say they read Love is Just Damn Good Business, “and I’m just writing to say I really appreciate it, it made a difference for me.” Well, what I do is I pick up the phone, and I call that person, for one thing. It blows their mind for another thing. And this is rather selfish on my part. It gives me a chance to get some of that energy, you know, head-on. And I am not exaggerating, Jenn. There are people that I now count among my closest friends that started exactly that way. No kidding. Yeah, absolutely. From 15 years ago, when The Radical Leap first came out, when I first started getting those kinds of emails, which kind of blew my mind at first. And I just followed up with the phone call. And I don’t do it 100% of the time. It needs to be more of a habit than it has been. But, that’s one way. And then the other way is, you know, I get to meet people when I’m out and about and speaking, and people come to our events here in San Diego, like the Extreme Leadership Experience or a certification program. And I get to hear their stories and, and that informs everything that I do reminds me why I do the work that I do. And it helps me be a better teacher because I didn’t make any of this stuff up. This is all based on observation and working with people and hearing their stories.
Jenn DeWall: I love that. So it’s about, you know, it’s about connecting and being curious with people to understand their story. That’s genuine connections. It’s not just a, I’m going to send you a Facebook friend request, and we’ll call it a day. It’s I want to connect with you.
Steve Farber: Right? So the habit part of that- the actual action is to engage in one-to-one live conversation in some form or another.
Jenn DeWall: Oh, I love that. That’s a great challenge to our listeners to see if you can try what Steve does and have those genuine one-on-one connections.
Steve Farber: Try me out! Send me an email. See what happens.
Jenn DeWall: What’s your email, Steve, that they can email you at?
Steve Farber: Steve@extremeleadership.com
Jenn DeWall: That’s firstname.lastname@example.org, and you’ll also find it in our show notes. Steve, it was so great to talk to you today. I enjoyed our conversation and for those listeners, his newest book, Love is Just Damn Good Business is coming out, and I encourage you to check it out. I know that it’s going to be life-changing for you and your organization.
Steve Farber: Thanks so much, Jenn. It has been a real pleasure.
Thank you for joining us for this conversation with Steve Farber. You can find Steve’s newest book: Love is Just Damn Good Business on Amazon. In addition to his latest book, he also is the author of three other great reads: The Radical Leap, The Radical Edge, and Greater than Yourself, that Jenn DeWall and everyone at Crestcom would highly recommend! You can also connect with Steve by going to his website at SteveFarber.com.