The Leadership Blog

Love + Work

business building change change management coaching courageous leadership growth happiness leadership positive solutions Oct 07, 2023

In the organization I lead we focus on the 4-E’s, excellence, efficiency, effectiveness and entrepreneurship.  Today let’s dig into what it takes to be EXCELLENT.  According to former Gallup researcher, author and motivational speaker Marcus Buckingham, it takes LOVE.  You might be thinking, “What’s LOVE got to do with it?.”  The answer is everything.  I was so excited when I heard him explain the concept on a podcast recently.  His research showed that in order for a person to produce excellence they need to LOVE at least 20 percent of their job.  They can’t just like it.  They have to love it.  Buckingham explains it this way.  When rating aspects of your job on a scale of 1-5, the only number that matters are the 5’s.  If you rate something a four, you’re not going to be excellent at it.  Love and work are integrally linked when it comes to excellence.  Your brain on LOVE is you at your smartest and most creative.

Here are three clues to help you figure out what you love:

Before you do it, you look forward to it.

While you’re doing it, time speeds up.

When you’re done, you want to do it again.

In order to produce excellence, we need to figure out how to spend more time on our jobs in the areas that we truly love.  This next statistic really shocked me.  Seventy-three percent of people in America believe they have the freedom to modify their jobs but only about 17 percent of people surveyed said they did that and played to their strengths (what they love) every day.  The shocking part is most people don’t even try.

Buckingham’s research led him to believe that LOVE is the most powerful driver of business success.  LOVE is everything but he was quick to point out that it doesn’t mean being soft.  The best leaders have high standards and make no apologies for them.  

You can LOVINGLY terminate someone.

You can LOVINGLY hold people accountable.

You can LOVINGLY make company changes.

You can LOVINGLY not accept inferior work.

Here’s another tip Marcus suggests all leaders do each week.  Ask your direct reports what they loved and hated about what they did this week.  Don’t do it occasionally, you need to ask that question every single week.  Here’s the tough medicine.  He says if that bores you, then you shouldn’t be a leader. 

How can you create the best team?  Fill it with people who LOVE what they do.  When hiring, stop hiring for a specific skill set and hire people who will LOVE what you need them to do and then repeat the process for every responsibility in your organization.  

My challenge to you is to figure out how you can unleash LOVE on your job every single day or figure out what YOU love and turn IT into work.  Your career is a scavenger hunt for LOVE.