All you need is love

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August 18, 2003 // UPDATED 11:03 am - April 30, 2007
By: Elana Centor
Elana Centor

The new corporate mantra?

If someone told you that the way to succeed in business was to be a "lovecat," would you a) take them seriously, or b) have the tune to the B-52's 1989 hit "Love Shack" stuck in your head?

Evidently, quite a few people chose "a" because "Love is the Killer App" by Tim Sanders is a New York Times Bestseller.

In Sanders' world, business people spread the love by sharing knowledge, their network and their compassion. In the book, he says, "The most important new trend in business is the downfall of barracuda, sharks and piranhas, and the ascendancy of nice, smart people."

Oops, the message apparently hasn't reached Tyler's office, where they prefer to keep such knowledge to themselves.

Tyler, who works for a financial service company, needed to have some claim forms redesigned. As corporate policy dictates, he went to his internal corporate communications department.

"They didn't have time to do the project, so they gave me approval to hire an outside vendor. I specifically asked about the graphic standards and they told me what type font to use and where the logo had to appear. With that, I hired the firm and spent $5,000," Tyler said.

I took it there was a small problem.

"How bout a $5,000 problem? My designer created the forms with all sorts of shading. When I showed it to corporate communications department they informed me that 'we don't do shading.' It's not written down anywhere, it's just their own little rule." It cost an additional $3,500 to correct the problem.

If only corporate communications had been lovecats. Tyler wouldn't have gone $3,500 over budget, and he wouldn't have lost "That Loving Feeling."

Love is the last thing Chad has been showing his co-worker Jean. Both are very competitive -- vying for top consultant of the year -- and they share a research assistant, Charles.

Charles' job is to prepare massive reports for their clients. There's a queuing system, but it seems that Chad has a tendency to break into the lineup and ask Charles to bump up his projects.

Interestingly, Charles reports directly to Chad.

"Charles isn't going to say 'no' to Chad. Last week, Charles was supposed to have two of my reports ready on Friday. So, on Thursday, I check in to see what time I'll have them -- that's when I learned that Chad had once again bumped the queue, and because his projects took 50 hours instead of the 10 he estimated, he told Charles to take Friday off," said Jean.

Jean had to be up until 3:00 in the morning to meet her Tuesday deadline.

Now, that would be the kind of "corporate compassion" I'm more familiar with: one corporate co-worker gleefully making mischief for another.

While "Love Is the Killer App" may have been a New York Times Best Seller, it's not exactly flying off the shelves at the Downtown Borders, 600 Hennepin Ave. N., and Barnes & Noble, 801 Nicollet Mall. In fact, as far as one Borders representative could tell, no one has bothered to think about lovecatting all summer.

If you believe that what the business world needs now is love sweet love, then maybe you want to pick up a copy -- there are plenty in stock. You can be the first on your floor to ride the "Love Train" and to start quoting Captain and Toni Tenille's 1975 hit, "Love Will Keep Us Together." Who knew it was an appropriate song to kickoff a business meeting?

If you have a good workplace dilemma or just a good story to tell, please contact Elana Centor at ecentor@mn.rr.com, or leave her a message at 825-9205 (then hit 102 for her voicemail). You can remain confidential, as can your company.