Is Love the Killer App in the Workplace?


That’s not the first word that comes to our minds when we think about business. Strategy, sustainability, operational efficiency, cash flow, etc. are all relevant topics in business, but what about love? In the infamous words of Tina Turner, “what’s love got to do with it?”

That’s a question answered by Tim Sanders in his book Love is the Killer App. I read this book a while ago and have been churning on its contents since then while thinking about how this impacts me as an organizational leader.

Here are a few thoughts from the book that will hopefully cause you to pause and think about this topic in your professional world.

To start with let’s define what a killer app is:

A killer application is an excellent idea that either supersedes an existing idea or establishes a new category in its field. It soon becomes so popular that it devastates the original business model.

So how does love become the killer app?

According to Sanders, those of us who use love as a point of differentiation in business will separate ourselves from our competitors. Love is defined as the selfless promotion of the growth of another. Bizlove is the act of intelligently and sensibly sharing your intangibles – knowledge, network and compassion – with your bizpartners. How we are perceived as human beings is becoming increasingly important in the new economy.

Knowledge = everything you’ve learned and continue to learn

Network = your entire web of relationships. Success will be based on the people we know. Knowledge is your power source or your battery, but relationship is your nerve center, your processor

Compassion = the human ability to reach out with warmth

When we start a job, we take on a contract to create more value than the dollar amount we are paid. If we don’t add value to our employer, we are value losses; we are value vampires.

Added value can be defined as the value created with you inside a situation is greater than the value without you. Sanders says we cannot afford to take on people who will sink our value boat, those people who disrupt or dilute the value we bring a situation or organization. We need to be self aware of the value we bring.

Sanders goes on to lay out the benefits of bizlove and why love is relevant in the business world:

You build an outstanding brand as a person – “Be distinct or be extinct” (Tom Peters). In the new economy, you are valued and rewarded for your knowledge and your network, not your seniority or pedigree. A successful brand will always give you powerful leverage. Build a brand so people will trust you, like you, pursue you. If you don’t build a brand, you risk becoming a commodity, no different than your competition.

You create an experience: People are looking for experiences not just service.

You have to access people’s attention: Attention is one of the world’s scarcest resources. Getting a decision maker’s attention is something companies are willing to spend billions to buy. Bizlove gets you attention because you are valued

You harness the power of positive presumption– Presumption rules in our attention scarce economy. People presume a proposal is bad if they don’t know you. If you have a relationship with your bizpartners they trust you which allows you more leeway in helping them change. Trying to change someone who doesn’t trust you is almost impossible.

You receive exceptional feedback: Others are more willing to give needed feedback because they know us and trust us. They tell us if our ideas will work or if that introduction was good or not.

You gain personal satisfaction: Ultimately, we are more valuable in our organization because leveraging your knowledge, network and being compassionate (your intangibles) creates more value for those we are doing business with.

It’s a good book and worth the read. It will introduce some paradigms that we just don’t see every day in the business world. It reinforces our need to build relational currency in our business contexts and the truth we all should work to position ourselves as linchpins.

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