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Love: The New Competitive Edge

Olivia Parr-Rud December 10, 2018

Imagine hearing about a product or service that promises to help you attract and retain top talent, maximize long-term profitability, and bring joy to you, your team, your family, your community, and perhaps even the world at large.  And here’s the best news: it’s absolutely free! Wouldn’t you want to try it?

Modern definitions of love include “a virtue representing human kindness, compassion, and affection — the unselfish loyal and benevolent concern for the good of another.” This definition may also describe compassionate and affectionate actions towards other humans, one’s self, or animals.

As advocates for conscious business, we appreciate the heart-centered benefits of bringing compassion and care into business. What’s even more exciting is that the research suggests creating a culture of love also leads to higher profits. Imagine the impact!

So you might be asking “What’s changing? What is causing business culture to move in this direction?”

Many years ago, I entered the corporate world as an idealistic, open-hearted, naive statistician. The corporate culture was so fear-driven that I thought I had landed on another planet. I decided it wasn’t safe to be fully engaged. So I kept a big part of myself hidden.

My expertise was in high demand. I spent the next six years advancing through the ranks within the credit card industry. During that time, I survived two large mergers and watched the culture of fear grow even more toxic. The demand for analytic talent was so strong that the best people went elsewhere. I knew I had to get out, so I decided to start my own consulting business and write a book.

The international success of my first book launched me onto the global stage as an industry expert and thought leader. At the same time, I was beginning to notice a pattern. The companies that were enjoying the greatest success seemed to place more value on their human capital. So along with my presentations on data science, I began speaking and writing about the human competencies that are needed for success in our high-tech, fast-paced global economy. To some of the largest database marketing conferences, I pitched topics like the value of effective communication, collaboration, and how to manage change. Since no one else was proposing these topics, the conference organizers often asked me to do several presentations. I really enjoyed delivering these presentations because they touched people’s hearts.

As a data scientist with a specialty in predictive modeling, I was curious to see if there was causality. I wanted to understand the drivers of trends I was seeing — specifically placing value on human capital as a driver of success. I began researching corporate adaptability and resilience, which led me to deeper research in the areas of chaos theory, evolutionary biology, quantum physics, and the evolution of consciousness. Here are my main findings.


To thrive in today’s digitally driven global economy, companies have to be more agile and resilient. The old fear-based, top-down, command-and-control style of leadership may have worked 100 years ago, but it is inefficient today. By the time a market opportunity or threat is identified, goes up the ranks to the CEO for a decision, and then comes back down, the opportunity is often lost.

Instead, leaders need to empower their employees to sense changes and respond quickly at every level of the organization. The role of the leader shifts from high commander to coach and cheerleader who values and empowers his or her employees within a culture of trust and connection. The benefits range from breakout innovation and higher productivity to lower health-care costs and more.

Evolution of consciousness

One of the most compelling reasons for bringing “Love” into business is to attract the best talent. Integral Theory and Spiral Dynamics identify cultural shifts that are emerging as our consciousness evolves to higher levels. We often hear that Millennials or Gen Y’ers are more collaborative. They yearn for meaning in their work. The want to show up and feel valued for who they are, not just for what they do. They want a world that works for everyone. Now is our chance to give it to them.

The big “why?” 

Corporations are the most powerful entities on the planet — more powerful than most nation states. If we successfully convince corporate leaders that treating their employees with kindness, compassion, and affection is good for business, just imagine the impact we can have. Inviting leaders to empower their employees may challenge some egos and inspire some soul-searching, but the benefits are worth it. Given our current economic pressures, many companies are looking for new ways to grow. If one company within an industry makes the shift from a culture of fear to a culture of love, the rest will have to follow suit — just to stay in the game.

Social Entrepreneurship / Stakeholder Capitalism
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