Love Works | Book Review

General Observations

Love Works is a compelling story; the rapid transition from the grind of a hard driving, impersonal and unsatisfying corporate career to a satisfying, holistic personal and professional life. Joel Manby encapsulates seven principles: Patience, Kindness, Trust, Unselfishness, Truthfulness, Forgiveness and Dedication – with relevant personal stories that serve as excellent leadership examples. Love Works exposes the common yet false choice between purely financial goals and a genuine focus on people. Like Joel, many of our corporate experiences are primarily driven by “the numbers,” regardless our organization’s written values, mission statements and strategies. Repeatedly, Manby emphasizes that Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE) maintains aggressive financial goals - goals sustained based on a philosophy of agape love.

Thoughts on Love is a Verb

This is the heart of the book. [Pages 31-32] Ancient Greece articulated four primary kinds of love: eros (erotic), philos (friendship), storge (family), and agape (the verb). Manby describes agape love as the values we embrace as a way of life. This unified the author’s professional and personal life, and energized him as an authentic leader. 

Applications to Academy Leadership:

Agape love as an active verb is an excellent construct for any Academy Leadership program graduate or organization. If we construe agape love as a choice, as an unconditional commitment and willingness to give, and combine it with Action Plans and Personal Leadership Philosophies (for example), we have constructed a powerful recipe for lasting leadership improvement. This may help us with coaching or other follow up client activity.

Thoughts on Leading with Love

Pages 21-23 hit pretty hard: Manby deeply reflects

“All my life I had been living by the numbers because numbers were all my leaders seemed to care about.”

Most of us can identify with that statement. Likewise, Manby’s desire to unite who he was as a business leader with who he was as a person, and the rejection of a false dichotomy between profit and values, is authentic and powerful.

Applications to Academy Leadership:

This section reminds us that leaders must reach individual people, and dedicate ourselves to them with (unconditional) agape love. It also underscores the need to state non-financial goals in a Personal Leadership Philosophy, and then to live that way every day. This is also consistent with Herzberg’s motivation theory, or as HFE states “We achieve profits by doing the right thing for customers and employees.”

Thoughts on | Trusting   | Place Confidence in Someone

Thoughts on | Unselfish | Think of Yourself Less

Manby’s third and fourth principles, trust and unselfishness, correspond very well to consequences of [E2L] dominant green and dominant red overuse. On page 73 Manby discusses personal communication, and concludes, “Interrupting is a sign of distrust.” On page 104 – Being Unselfish with Decisions, Manby realizes Socratic leadership, rather than being the “expert” leader allows an organization to attract and grow to unprecedented levels. For Manby, this realization was a watershed, allowing him to actualize (page 105)

“my role is to be where the greatest need is for the organization.”

As facilitators and leaders, we may likewise tie client E2L profiles and client experiences toward similar revelations, forging breakthrough changes and results.

Final Thoughts on A Choice You Make

Manby finishes Love Works with cogent values declarations: Page 173:

“Leadership is about teaching an organization what you stand for; brand building is about teaching millions of customers what you stand for. Leadership and brand building require time, consistency, and constancy.”

He offers a final conclusion reiterating his own holistic growth on page 180: “When your personal values match your work values, you stand the best chance of being content.”

A unique, highly recommended book.

JE | August 2012