I was privileged to have a dialogue with Dr. Melinda Fouts, CEO of Success Starts With You on the question of love. In case you are wondering whether this article is about to turn into a dating advert, you would be wrong. We spoke of the need for love in business, life, and politics in a complex world. We live in a world where uncertainty has led to fear which manifests itself in hateful speech and behaviour. Such ‘closing down’ behaviours are not the hallmark of great leaders. We need to keep this in mind if we are to make mindful decisions into the future. Our dialogue is captured in this video:

Some of the main points Melinda and I discussed include:

If the word love is a bit too rich for your Business try the words purpose or passion. Companies like Virgin exemplify passion and combine this with purpose and profit. I was listening to a discussion between Mark Carney, Governor of The Bank of England and The Archbishop of Canterbury who are in agreement with me and Daniel Pink about the fact that great leaders combine purpose, passion, and profit.

In Sir Richard Branson’s case, it is clearly what drives him. We discussed the film premiere for “Don’t Look Down”, a story of courage, determination, despair and ultimate triumph, which I attended earlier this week. Without spoiling this marvelous film, it became clear that the only things left to Richard and his co-pilot Per Lindstrand were love and hope after they lost most of the fuel needed to cross the Pacific Ocean. A series of miracles occurred to help them cheat death.

In politics, many of our current world leaders have traded on fear rather than love. Peter discusses his views on Donald Trump’s campaign and Brexit, in particular how Gina Miller stood alone against the UK Government to insist on proper democratic processes. This act of love was met by threats of gang rape and beheading but has also been recognized by an outpouring of love from people.

Love is not sex and we would do well to distinguish between the two in romantic encounters and long-term business relationships. I had discussed this in my 2nd book “Sex, Leadership and Rock’n’Roll” in a deeply ironic way. For long term relationships be they romantic or business focused, get the relationship right before ‘getting down to business. I felt this may be one of the bigger mistakes that Donald Trump has been making in his early days as a political leader. Running a country is not the same as a business pitch on The Apprentice or a ‘one night stand’.

I think we’ll leave it there for you to add your own thoughts to on this article. Some questions:

Is love a better strategy than fear in business?

Can you challenge people you work with better if there is underlying UPR (unconditional positive regard)?

What advice would you give to our world leaders to heal divisions?


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PETER leads Human Dynamics, offering Business and Organisation Development. He also delivers keynotes around the world that blend business intelligence with parallel lessons from music via The Academy of Rock. Author of and contributor to twelve books on business leadership, acclaimed by Tom Peters, Professors Charles Handy, Adrian Furnham, and Harvey Goldsmith CBE. His blends his three passions are science, business, and music into unique inspiring keynotes based on the art of storytelling. His early life involved leading innovation teams for 18 years to develop life-saving drugs including the first treatments for HIV/AIDS, Herpes and the development of Human Insulin. 18 years in academia teaching MBAs and 18 + years running his businesses. All his life since the age of four playing music. Peter won a prize for his work from Sir Richard Branson after his mother claimed he was a Virgin birth. He now writes for Virgin.com.
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