What does love and Valentine’s Day have to do with business? In a nutshell, everything!

  • Customers and employees who feel loved are more loyal to your company.
  • Employees who love their bosses and their jobs perform better.
  • Customers and employees who feel loved share their experiences with others.

What if this is true: “It’s all about love!”?

Simply put: Love aspires. Love inspires. Love grows.

Let’s look at two extraordinary companies, both of which were launched in 1971—more than 45 years ago—operating with love as an essential core value.

Have you ever enjoyed a burger and a beer at a Hard Rock Café? Did you know that the company was founded by two hippies who chose love, peace, and rock-‘n-roll as their mantra? Isaac Tigrett and Peter Morton were two shaggy-haired Americans who just wanted to find a good American burger while living in London. They built their first café on London’s Hyde Park corner as the first “classless” restaurant in the class-laden English society.

Today there are more than 175 Hard Rock locations, which include restaurants, hotels, casinos, and live music venues in 55 countries. Emblazoned on the wall of every property is, “Love All, Serve All.” It is the life—and business—success principle that Tigrett borrowed from his guru in India.

The Seminole Tribe acquired the Hard Rock companies in 2007, continuing to keep its love-based culture alive. Their mottos are still visible: “Love All, Serve All,” “Take Time to Be Kind,” “All Is One,” and “Save the Planet.” And how’s this for a core value: “Deliver kick-ass service.”

Southwest Airlines is another company that fearlessly embraces love (“LUV”) as a fundamental principle.

Since 1971, Southwest has continued to differentiate itself from other carriers with exemplary customer service delivered by nearly 45,000 employees to more than 100 million customers annually. They have been named to Fortune’s list of World’s Most Admired Companies for 22 consecutive years; and, notably, it is the only commercial airline to rank in the Top Ten.

In their own words (from the Southwest Airlines website), here’s a glimpse of how Southwest infuses their culture with “LUV”…

“What’s LUV? Southwest has been in LUV with our Customers from the very beginning. Therefore, it’s fitting that we began service … from Love Field in Dallas … As our company and customers grew, our LUV grew, too! With the prettiest flight attendants serving ‘Love Bites’ on our planes, and determined employees issuing tickets from our ‘Love Machines’, we changed the face of the airline industry throughout the 1970s. Then, in 1977, our stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol LUV. Over the ensuing years, our LUV has spread from coast to coast and border to border, thanks to our hardworking employees and their LUV for customer service…

“Southwest Airlines’ number one priority is to ensure the personal safety of each Southwest customer and employee. Beyond this, we follow The Golden Rule, meaning that we treat each other the way we want to be treated, which is why doing the right thing by our employees and customers is so inherent to who we are as a company. We believe in Living the Southwest Way, which is to have a “Warrior Spirit,” a “Servant’s Heart,” and a “Fun-LUVing Attitude.” Within each of these categories are specific behaviors to help us be a safe, profitable, and fun place to work.”

So, who says love doesn’t last? Indeed, love has everything to do with good business! Love is lasting—living in the hearts of all the people you and your organization touch.

If Hard Rock Café and Southwest Airlines can inoculate their companies with love and achieve lasting success, so can yours.

What are you and your organization doing to spread the love this Valentine’s Day and beyond?

Much success and fulfillment,

Ray

(Adapted from my book Energize Your Business: Engage Your Employees with an Inspiring Strategic Planning Process. Learn more or purchase at www.EnergizeYourBusiness.biz.)

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