I admit to being skeptical when receiving Tim Sander’s book, Love Is A Killer App, from a friend. A lot has happened in the eight years since its publication, and I was sure that applying Sander’s philosophy of then to our post-recession economy now was going to be dated. Then I read a few pages to find that what the author discovered in 2002 through experience is a universal truth: “Men and women across the country were all trying desperately to understand how to maintain their value as professionals in the face of rapidly changing times.” Welcome to 2010, Mr. Sander. You got my attention.
It turns out this author’s insight into business is timeless. In fact, you could say some of it dates back to the Golden Rule. In Love Is The Killer App, the author outlines the benefits in business of being a ‘lovecat’ over a tiger, a sharer over a hoarder. What’s a lovecat, you ask? According to Sander, it’s “a businessperson known as a promoter of business growth.” They are filled with great information, a network of contacts they have turned into relationships and a personal quality that a computer can never have: compassion. And what do they do with their knowledge, network and compassion? They pay it forward so the three values can drive their career to the top.
Before you start singing Kumbaya thinking this is just a ‘feel good’ book urging us to go into our next business deal without a competitive edge, think again. The author argues this is our competitive edge. “My book really isn’t about succumbing to the enemy or not competing,” Sander said in an interview, “because I say in the book that
biz love is the sensible sharing of intangibles to promote other people’s growth.” That, he argues, is what separates the smart businessman or woman from the rest of the business pack.
We do this first by gaining the knowledge others need. Comparing the brain to a piggy bank, the author insists we must feed it to accumulate anything. If we don’t, we are stopping in the middle of a race, waiting for our competition to catch up. Veteran business leaders with enviable resumes and years of experience can find themselves in second place because they don’t equate knowledge-added as value-added in the business world.
The author’s promotion of the power of networking is one I’ve embraced for years. Those in your network can do almost anything for you, from finding your next job to making your current one more successful. But in addition to collecting networking members, the author encourages connecting them with others. Linking your contacts with each other can not only solve their immediate problems, it can also strengthen your business bond. Who doesn’t want to go the extra mile for someone who has already helped them?
Of course this dovetails into the author’s final value: compassion. Unlike the first two, everyone already has this resource at their disposal. They just need to use it. Showing appreciation to colleagues through words or actions, verbally supporting ideas and growth, even the simple act of eye contact shows commitment created by compassion. Being human doesn’t make someone less business-like. It creates an experience people remember. And that’s good for business.
Dr. Benjamin Ola. Akande is Dean of the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University. Follow him on Twitter: @Benjamin_Akande