I visited a restaurant chain in South Africa as part of a documentary we are putting together on high performing organisations. The company is Primi World of restaurants and hotels.
One of the philosophies behind Primi is that people are the core to their business and the importance of having people engaged, passionate and full of energy. They have adopted various slogans and words to emphasise their philosophy. One of them is “Work is Love made Visible’. The company believes that if they do everything with “love” it makes the whole customer experience better and makes their lives better as well.
The quote comes from a Lebanese man in 1920 who was living in New York. The full quote reads:
“Work is love made visible. And if you cannot work with love but only with distaste, it is better that you should leave your work and sit at the gate of the temple and take alms of those who work with joy.”
As leaders, it is our job to help people understand the need for passion in what they do. Without that passion, the work becomes a chore, it becomes something that is hard to achieve and it becomes an uphill struggle. However, when we find our ability to love what we do, our work becomes a demonstration of our love; the work is love made visible.
In Primi, I interviewed staff at all levels, in a number of locations and asked them about their work. The common answers to why they enjoyed working for Primi were, because of the energy, the vibe and the confidence it gives them.
‘Work is love made visible’ is a frame of mind that centres around what you bring to your work rather than what you take from it. It creates a sense of purpose and desire that raises everything around it. In other words, it improves quality, improves service delivery, increases productivity and of course all of this makes for a profitable business. The difference is the effort comes from within rather than from an external force pushing for improvements.
So this month I ask you to consider your business or your team and ask yourself:
Is my work an example of my love for what I do?
Are my actions a demonstration of how much I enjoy the work I do?
Do my people feel the passion I have for what we are trying to achieve?
If you can’t be an example of your work being your love made visible, then you can’t expect it of others.
So, assuming that you answer yes to the above questions, then how do you encourage others to see their work and be an example of their love for doing what they do?
Now I can hear the comments from people about this already. “The work my people have to do is not something that they can love. It is mundane, it is repetitive and it is not something anyone enjoys doing.” Yes, I understand that is often the case; but consider what we are saying.
It isn’t about love the work you do. The expression is, ‘Work is love made visible’. The work when achieved is an example of your love. You may not like changing your babies nappy, but you do it with love for the baby. You may not like making your children’s sandwiches for school but the love for your child ensures that the sandwich is made well. Your love for your children enables you to do things that you don’t enjoy doing, with love and passion.
That subtle difference is what we are referring to. So the questions are:
Do you encourage your people to find something they can love that will be reflected in their work?
Do you help them discover what they can love that will inspire them to do what they do with love?
Where can they find the love they need to make their work an example of the love they have and how can you facilitate that?
Primi was a wonderful example of an organisation that managed to do that with their people at every level. The results were energized people and a wonderful customer experience.
Have a great month and may you always produce work that is a manifestation of the love you have within you.
Best Wishes, Paul