Conscious Capitalism Chicago: Blog

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What’s Love Got to Do with It? - by Chris Johnson

October 10, 2018 12:59 PM | Deleted user

Come to find out, quite a bit.

Personally, it makes sense that when we receive and give care to another human being we feel more energized, connected, and loved in return.  

Yet, that’s not so obvious in the workplace - at least not to most.

Recent studies, however, show that those who perceive greater affection and caring from their co-workers perform better.

Professors of Management, Sigal Barsade and Olivia O’Neill have conducted a number of studies on this idea of creating a culture of “companionate love.”  

Companionate love includes shared experiences of affection, concern and compassion amongst co-workers.  Asking about an ill parent.  Offering a kind word during a hectic project. Listening to concerns vs. gossiping.

Their early results, within a non-profit, long-term healthcare facility, revealed that in this caring culture employees showed up to work more often and reported higher levels of satisfaction and teamwork.  

Further, the companionate love culture directly influenced patient mood and outcomes, their felt sense of quality of life, and resulted in fewer trips to the ER.

Ok, you think, it’s already a “caring culture,” so why the surprise?

Thought you’d ask.

These two professors then extended their research going on to survey 3,201 employees across seven industry groups from financial services to real estate on the idea of creating a culture of companionate love.

And, guess what? Love’s got a lot to do with it!

Love Culture

Seems that people, across business industries and within cultures where the freedom to express affection, tenderness and care for one another­ is valued, end up expressing greater satisfaction with their work.

Additionally, they hold solid commitments to their organizations, and show increased accountability for their overall performance. Solid business outcomes!

What’s not to love?!

Organizations leading the way in creating cultures of companionate love include the likes of Subaru, Starbucks, Zappos, Southwest Airlines, and Whole Foods.

In fact, Whole Foods was founded on the question, “Can you build a company on love and care, instead of fear and stress?”  

Care, compassion, and, yes, even love feature prominently in Whole Foods’ day-to-day work. Even when making hiring and promotion decisions they ask, what’s this candidate’s capacity for love and care?

The rest of us?  

  • ·        Expand your definition of workplace “culture” to include not only cognitive thinking skills (e.g. analysis & decision-making), but also emotional skills and ways of interacting with one another (e.g. kindness, listening, and empathy). What’s the best way to start? Pick one; act on it.
  • ·        Pay attention to the influence of your own emotional expressions at work, as they’ll inevitably impact the general mood and culture of everyone. Own them.
  • ·        Register for Conscious Capitalism 101: Building Conscious Business from the Inside Out coming up on November 2, 2018. 
  • This overview course highlights the four tenets of Conscious Capitalism: 1) Conscious Leadership, 2) Stakeholder Orientation, 3) Purpose, and, you guessed it, 4) Conscious Culture with its focus on caring for all employees, customers, suppliers, everybody in organizations. You might call it love.

Companionate love or business as usual?  What action will you take?


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