Love Is the Killer App

By Dr. Alice Waagen

I was delighted to find “Love Is the Killer App,” by Tim Sanders, the director of Yahoo’s in-house think tank.

Working from the premise that success in business comes more from being a nice guy than a mad dog, his book explains why love is the crucial element in the search for personal and professional success.

Sanders opens the book by introducing us to a rude and aggressive business leader who gets dis-invited to a critical team meeting. Not only are his career aspirations evaporating, he is miserable at home, and thoroughly stressed. Sanders takes him under his wing, and advises: “Be a lovecat.”

Why? Because it turns out that the “take no prisoners” attitude often heralded in leadership books is not the way to long-term success, Sanders insists. The lovecat approach, however, works like a charm because when you willingly share your knowledge, your network, and your compassion — you win valuable allies.

Here’s how to embrace the lovecat in you:

Share your knowledge. Read about new trends, take mental notes about all of your interactions (successful and not), then relentlessly and openly share it with your colleagues. By playing off the old idea that “knowledge is power,” you will become the person in the office whom others trust and rely on for wisdom and advice.

Share your network. While hoarding your contact list and creating a closed universe that only you could access was once considered a good business practice, today we know that the opposite is true. By sharing contacts and networks, you open yourself to infinite expansion.

I know this from my own experience in networking. I am drawn to people that I like, people with similar beliefs and approaches to business and life. So when I introduce those in my network to each other, they tend to form positive bonds. As a result, my network has grown exponentially and is now filled with people I enjoy interacting with — who also enjoy each other. What a pleasure that is.

Share your compassion. This one aspect of the “lovecat way” is perhaps the most unusual for a business book. Here, Sanders challenges us to be more open with our feelings, which is something unheard of in business. Nonetheless, he insists that by being openly compassionate, we show our willingness to be human at work.

He encourages us to demonstrate our warmth through a simple, non-threatening gesture like touching someone on the shoulder, body language like uncrossing our arms, and by making eye contact. Try it.

The bottom line

At the core of Sanders’ lovecat approach is this simple idea: In this age of electronic relationships, strong interpersonal, authentically caring relations are the best killer app.

So take this challenge: Between now and my next e-newsletter in April, I challenge you to emulate the behaviors Sanders outlined in his book and see if you are more successful at work — and at home.

My guess is that if you do, you will be a more valued and valuable asset to your team. Send me an email and let me know what you find: