The fall issue of Motivated is out! And it is exploring the theme of “fear”. Once again it is filled with powerful insights, guidance and inspiration. I was most struck by “Love & Leadership Go Hand in Hand” by John Hope Bryant author of Love Leadership and founder and CEO of Operations Hope. He believes that most of our leaders lead by fear. The reason these leaders have done so well in the past is “feel-good, me-based, immediate gratification disease” which he calls “short-termism”. John says “over the past twenty or so years we have made dumb sexy”. Now he is on a mission to make “smart sexy again”. (I heard Justin Timberlake’s “Sexy Back” in my head as I read this.)
Love Leadership is based on what he calls “a perfect storm”. He explains “the first cousin to fear is short-termism, and short-term’s best friend is laziness, the roommate of laziness is greed, and the most popular word ever uttered by fear, short-termisim, laziness and greed is ‘me’.” Also known as “what’s in it for me?” John believes that in order to succeed over the long term the question needs to become “what do I have to give?”. I believe the mission to make smart sexy again is further challenged by our so-called leaders that have lead through fear parenting a new young generation of mini short-termismers that are now entering the work force. However, I do think this mission is well on it’s way, we have seen this in the re-occurring themes on HBR such as transparency, authenticity, and social responsibility. This recent video on “The Biggest Mistake a Leader Can Make” is a good reflection of this. John’s message reflects what we are finally seeing the business community begin to embrace, so his perspective did not enlighten me personally, it was the art in which he delivered it did that did. He used such powerful words that I think will better reach and resonate with the unconverted.
I could not agree with him more when he says that “the current economic crisis is not about some sophisticated or complex failure of free enterprise or capitalism as we know it, but rather simple-minded failure of greed itself.” AKA “short-termism”. He goes on to say “this crisis is more a crisis of virtues and values, than any sort of classic economic crisis. No doubt you’re feeling this crisis economically, but this is no different than when you have a cold; you feel or sense it when you sneeze.” In other words, it is a symptom.
Later in the article he stresses that “everyone needs to have an enlightened self-interest in the outcome of a business transaction and it should start with a genuine understanding of the concern with what’s best for the client”. That concern is what he calls love.
Perhaps I should update my tag line from “when meaningful change is needed” to “making smart sexy”… I’ll stick with mine as it is near and dear to my heart, but I do love and appreciate John’s mission and message.
I’m curious, do you think the word ‘love’ is too soft for the business community to embrace?