When you chose to commit to a long-term relationship, did you love that person?

Of course, you say. Love was the main reason. I wanted to create a life with the person I loved.

Do you love your children?

Of course, you say again. With all my heart. I would do anything for them. I work hard to be the best parent I can be; someone my children can always count on to be there for them.

Do you love your job?

Well, now …. that’s a bit more complicated.

According to Gallup’s 2013 State of the American workplace survey, only 30% of the 150,000 people surveyed love their jobs.

At the other end of the scale, 18% said they hated their jobs, mostly due to bad leaders. They actively and publicly complain about their discontent.

The middle 52% show up to do their work but take very little pleasure from their jobs. They are passively discontented.

What’s love got to do with it?

Business has been slow to realize what we have always known to be true in life. Our passion is rooted in what we care most about. We will do whatever it takes to care of what – and whom — we love. If love is absent, passion is missing, too. We pull back and make the least acceptable effort.

Steve Farber, keynote speaker and author of the bestselling book, The Radical Leap, A Personal Lesson in Extreme Leadership, makes the provocative case that “love is a core business imperative”. Loaded with evidence from successful businesses, he declares, “The notion that love has nothing to do with business is insane.”

Let’s imagine I came to your restaurant looking for a special night out. You greet me at the door and offer me a choice of waiters. “Would you like to be served by Sally, who, by the way, absolutely loves working here, or Jill, who needs the job but has no love for this place?” My slam dunk answer is Sally.

Richard Sheridan, is the author of Joy, Inc. How We Built a Workplace People Love, and CEO of Menlo Innovations, an Ann Arbor, MI software development company. His book is the story of how Menlo is focused on the business value of joy. He poses this question to customers who tour his facility by the thousands each year. “What do you think would happen if half of the Menlo team had “joy” and half didn’t?” Which half would you want us to assign to your imagined project?” Of course, they always pick the joyful half.

Exuberance is a love affair with life. 

What if we made “living exuberantly” the point of it all?  Starting with love. Love of our work, love of our jobs, love of each other, love of life itself on this beautiful planet. Even being more loving and less critical of ourselves.

What kind of leader would you be if love were your core business principle? What if creating a culture of joy was your secret sauce to producing employees who were fully engaged, customers whose loyalty was unshakable, suppliers who go out of their way to make sure you stay “in love” with them and their services?

Take a look in the mirror. That’s where it starts. Begin by choosing the things that bring you most alive. Self nourishment. Purposeful achievement. Profound relationships. As the airlines tell us “put on your own oxygen mask first.” Take care of your own exuberance.

Then, be an exuberant leader. Show your people that love beats fear every time in business. Grow more exuberant leaders who spread the love, and engage the passion and inspire “extra mile effort” in everyone they interact with.

Stand up for love. For enriching people’s lives. For making sure your business is a force for love and compassion and deep connection in the world.

Create “zones of exuberance” all around you

Do your own “state of your workplace survey”. Measure your success by the number of people that report, “I love my life. I love my job. I love the people I work with and work for and the customers we serve. I am proud to be a living, breathing poster board for my company.”

And watch your profits soar.