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“Business Does Better With Love”

By Shlomo Maital

So let’s be clear. Friendships do better with love. Marriage does better with love. Religion does better with love. Love does better with love. Obvious, right?

   Everything does better with love. Even war. Respect your enemy and retain your humanity even when fighting for your life.

   But – business?? After several decades of teaching MBA classes, in business schools that preach hard-core bottom-line business warfare, I am reading Moshe Engelberg’s new book, first of a series, The Amare Wave, with a combination of delight and perhaps, amusement – at how those who preach fierce capitalism will respond to it. *  (Amare means ‘love’ in Latin).

     Engelberg is a successful business consultant, founder of ResearchWorks; he has a Ph.D. degree from Stanford University.

     Business does better with love, Engelberg shows. Love for whom? Love for your stakeholders – your workers, managers, clients, shareholders… all those who have a stake in your success. It’s a mystery why so many businesses purposely exploit and squeeze their workers, when long-term, respectful love given to them drives long-term loyalty and motivation. If everything does better with love – why then have economists sold the idea that business is the exception – and business does well only with knife-in-the-teeth competition, perhaps the only human endeavor that is a no-love zone?

     How is company success measured? By short-term operating profits? How about, Engelberg writes, how well people are treated?   By how much real value is created for clients?   Imagine, Engelberg writes, that love is not only “the new necessity in business, it is simply how business is done in the 21st C and beyond”. And guess what? Because business is done better with love, it is also, in the end, more profitable. Engelberg knows; he has long years of experience as a consultant.

     Imagine — business acts to become kind, green, socially responsible, philanthropic and good for society. Imagine. All business.

   I eagerly await Engelberg’s second book in the series – a set of stories about love in business. I kind of wish Engelberg had started the series with the stories – narratives are, I think, far more powerful than polemics.

     Show us, Moshe, how business really does work better. You have a tough road ahead – Amazon, Facebook, Google are not exactly Mother Teresa. Google’s “do no harm” has done loads of harm, and Facebook doesn’t even pretend to do good, while Amazon ruins many small retail businesses and squeezes workers.

     Here are today’s market cap figures for these three companies: Google $894 b., Amazon $869 b., Facebook $551 b.   In contrast: Exxon’s market cap is only $67 b.

       Could Google, Facebook and Amazon have even bigger long-term market caps, if they practiced Engelberg-style love?   Well, I believe they could – but right now, very few agree.

     Alas.

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  • Moshe Engelberg, with Stacey Aaronson. The Amare Wave: Uplifting Business by Putting Love to Work. Angel Mountain Press, 2019. 359 pages.

 

Blog entries written by Prof. Shlomo Maital

Shlomo Maital

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