Love in the workplace

No, I’m not talking about coffee break romances, but rather about whether it’s possible to run a successful business with love. An article in the Harvard Business Review suggests that it is.1 It uses the analogy of the computer. Love should be the operating system (OS), and the other business strategies—sales, marketing, distribution, etc.—the apps. The apps are the most visible working part of the computer, but they’re only stable if there’s a strong OS.

The famous Peruvian chef and restaurant entrepreneur Gastón Acurio says, “We don’t want to be the most avant-garde. We just want to make people happy.”2 Though Gastón has won international awards, he teaches his cooks not to only be goal-oriented. He believes that if his cooks enjoy their work, serve in love, and seek to make others happy, the customers will enjoy the results.

People know when they’re genuinely cared for, and employees need to feel that their work is valued. We all do a better job when we’re appreciated. Even challenging an unmotivated worker can be a type of “tough love,” if it lets them know you trust in their abilities and believe in their potential.

Generosity is another attribute of love in the workplace. Among the many ways to express love in a professional setting, this is one that seems counterintuitive. One of the most common suggestions for achieving your own goals is to help other people be successful in theirs. As we reach out to help others, our own world gets larger.

By endorsing Peruvian and Latin American ethnic foods, Gastón Acurio became well known for promoting his country’s unique cuisine. As a result, Lima has become famous in recent years for its gastronomical tours. If Gastón Acurio had considered the other Lima restaurants only as competitors, his world might still consist only of his own local restaurant; but through his working with other chefs to promote Peruvian flavors overall, Lima’s cuisine has obtained international fame, and so has he.

  1. “Can You Really Power an Organization with Love?” Duncan Coombe, HBR, August 1st, 2016
  2. Interview with Bárbara Muñoz for El Mercurio, Chile, July 2nd, 2016