A Fresh Perspective: Tim Sanders

January 2002 / Fresh Perspective

Tim Sanders, “Love is the Killer App,” Fast Company, February 2002.

Back in the mid-eighties, if memory serves, Roger Harrison published an article on love in business. At that time he indicated that we couldn’t really discuss the idea of love because the socio-political dynamics and machismo that dominated the business culture of the time precluded it. Have times changed? Tim Sanders, a senior executive at Yahoo, seems to think so.

Citing Milton Mayeroff’s (On Caring) definition of love as the “selfless promotion of the growth of another,” Sanders extends the idea to business with this:

“Love is the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your knowledge, networks, and compassion with your business partners.”

And with regard to leadership he continues,

“The secret to being a high-impact leader and the essence of individual and corporate success: Learn as much as you can as quickly as you can and share your knowledge aggressively; expand your network of people who share your values and connect as many of them with each other as possible; and, perhaps most important, be as openly human as you can be and find the courage to express genuine emotion in the harried, pressure-filled world of work.”

A heady–no, “hearty!”–message from a corporate executive. In a sidebar the articles explains “why love conquers all.”

  1. You will build an outstanding brand.
  2. You will create and experience (that attracts others).
  3. You will get access to people’s attention.
  4. You will harness the power of positive presumption. (trust)
  5. You will receive exceptional feedback about the value of your knowledge.

Thus the three critical elements of the power of love in business are knowledge, networks and compassion

“People who love what they’re doing, who love to learn new things, to meet new people, and to share what and whom they know with others: These are the people who wind up creating the most economic value and, as a result, moving their companies forward.”

I wonder what Roger Harrison would think of that?

How does this article relate to the idea of Integral Leadership? I think it is in representing the value of bringing our full selves to leadership–and followership–including attention to the cultures of our organizations. When organizational cultures preclude bringing all that we bring as human beings, the holon is “broken” and our potential, individually and collectively, is diminished. Love is an expression of spirit. Spirit is one of the aspects of being human. It is one of the elements of integral development.