9 Ways To Be a Business Romantic
Tim Leberecht is author of The Business Romantic: Fall Back In Love with your Work and your Life.
The book promotes devotion over data, aiming to reveal that business can transcend mere rationality and self-interest. The following are a condensed version of his Business Romantic action items:
1) Come out as a Business Romantic
If you feel that the workplace or a brand does not accommodate your full range of spiritual, emotional and intellectual needs, it is time to come out as a Business Romantic. It is imperative that you don't just "confess". You can start by sending subtle signals: play your favourite music through your office speakers. Surprise your colleagues and friends with a reference to a romantic writer or movie. Tell them about a moment at work or a customer experience, seemingly small and fleeting, that meant a lot to you.
2) Spot other Business Romantics
Look for the subtle, often non-verbal cues. An expressed interest in the (liberal) arts is usually a good sign. Generosity and passion beyond work, too. You might identify an aura of secrecy, unreasonable behaviour, excessive attention to detail, and other aspects of strangeness. When you're sure you have found a fellow business romantic, say nothing. Everything will fall into place.
3) Go on a business date with another Business Romantic
Once you have come out as a business romantic, and you have identified other Business Romantics within or outside your work, this one should be easy. You have a lot to talk about. Just make sure you don't overshare and keep up the mystique. Broken hearts stay in the closet. No one wants to hear about past business relationships or flings. It's not about what you did but what you want to do together.
4) Go on a business date with a business cynic
This one is harder because many cynics are secretly romantics. So double-check and do some extra due diligence before you reach out. Once you are sure your date is a true cynic, the fun begins. At dinner, warm him or her up with personal anecdotes, then shock your date with some poetry before entrusting them with a secret you have not shared with anyone else. That will break the ice. Ask your date about the moment in which they felt the most alive. Ask them what they are afraid of and why. And then just listen.
5) Pretend to be a Business Romantic
Step into the shoes and psyche of your alter ego and embody and enact the business romantic's Rules of Enchantment, just for fun, just for a week. Or even just a day. Be a hermit, a rebel, a contrarian, a poet. Masks transform us, and yes, you can fake it till you make it.
6) Start a secret project (without reason)
Call a meeting, preferably off-site, and invite a small group of colleagues. Don't tell them the reason for the meeting, and even when you meet, do not pretend there is one. Just tell them that you would like to collaborate with them on a project that would "add value to the company and more the business forward". And then spend the whole kickoff meeting exploring together what that might be.
7) Host business romantic luncheons
Plan small lunches around a business romantic topic and invite a small group of colleagues, partners or customers. Keep it personal and ask specific questions, for example: "What was the most romantic moment of your life, and why? What can our company learn from it?" Discuss what it means to have a romantic relationship to work or to a brand.
8) Keep a diary of the brands that make your day
From the smile of the Starbucks barista in the morning to the supersmooth check-in on a flight with Lufthansa to the Volkswagen commercial that makes you laugh in the living room at night: honour the products and services that leave you wanting more.
9) Take on the big questions
Do we want to live in a business romantic society? How is it different from a romantic society? How big and how much romance can a prosperous society handle? What are the policies that support and inform a more romantic citizenry? Or will policies stifle it? Can you imagine a romantic law and government?