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For all the emphasis on romanticism and commercial trappings, Valentine’s Day at its heart is a celebration of love. According to Cambridge English Dictionary, ‘love encompasses a range of strong and positive emotional and mental states, from the most sublime virtue or good habit, the deepest interpersonal affection, to the simplest pleasure.’ This range is quite vast. For example, a mother’s love differs from a spouse’s love, which differs from the love for food.

This year’s celebration of St. Valentine falls on a Tuesday. And if you’re a working adult with a romantic partner outside work, you’re probably spending more time with your colleagues and customers today than with that special someone. Traditionally, mixing love and business has been frowned upon. And mixing certain types of love – for example granting professional favor to a romantic interest or a family member over others who are more qualified – is, certainly, just plain wrong. However, ‘love’ and ‘business’ are not mutually exclusive. Nor should they be. People have emotional attachments to many things in the business world – products, services, cultures, and yes, people.

In the world of work, love starts with having empathy and providing support to people. To me that’s like chocolate and peanut butter. To those who are allergic to nuts, maybe chocolate and caramel. And to those who can’t eat sweets or choose not to, it’s like a delectable, crunchy vegetable medley or a hearty protein paired with a favorite starch.

Six years ago last month, we founded Leapgen on 4 core values, the L.E.A.P. in our name:

  1. Love (it’s the first one!): Love what you do! Love people at work. Empathize with them. Respect them. Do what you can to support their whole being.
  2. Energy: When you love what you do and who you work with, it gives you energy to do great work.
  3. Audacity: Great work is audacious work: The kind that embraces change. The kind that makes people safer, happier or healthier in ways that have yet to be contemplated.
  4. Proof: Audacious work has an impact on the world. And you know what? It has real business value.

These values come from a book Steve Farber wrote called, The Radical Leap. My business partner, Jason Averbook, CEO & Co-Founder at Leapgen, introduced me to the book over 15 years ago and has personified these values for even longer than that. We and other Leapers do our best to consciously infuse love into our culture and that of our customers.

I encourage any leader who reads this to make love part of your business strategy. Put people at the center of every business decision. Who will be impacted? How will they benefit? How will they feel? How might we do better for them so they can better serve our customers, our partners and each other?

Listen to your people. Give them an environment where they can be their whole selves [and respect others]. Let them share their interests with others. Teach others – how they can be better at work, how they can help the organization make a bigger impact on the communities in which it operates.

We should all recognize that it is people who ultimately drive the business’s success. This does not just apply to the good times – like giving people some extra perks or pumping up compensation when times are good. It applies – I’d say even more so – during the challenging times. Love connects people. When people are united in a cause, united in a culture, they’re more likely to rise to the occasion. They are more likely to succeed and sustain that success over time.

So this Valentine’s Day, between getting things done at work and maybe making a last-minute dinner reservation or gift purchase, reach out to a colleague or two. Connect with them. See how they’re doing. Show them you care. Encourage them to connect with others. See what happens. There’s a good chance you’ll want to do it again tomorrow…maybe while eating some post-holiday chocolate…


Mike Brennan is Leapgen’s Chief Service Officer & Co-Founder. He is responsible for Leapgen’s Services organization, providing leadership by managing our rockstar Leaper team, methodology, growth and profitability. He also works with our Sales, Marketing and Delivery Teams to manage relationships with clients and ensure their success. Mike has nearly 20 years of enterprise consulting experience in both HCM and CRM with a strong track record for partnering with customers and building high-growth teams.


Leapgen is a digital HR company shaping the NOW of Work. Highly respected as consultants and advisors to the enterprise and the industry, we help our customers make HR digital. Leapgen helps leaders rethink how to better design and deliver workforce services and architect HR technology solutions that meet the expectations of workers and the needs of the business. Contact Leapgen to learn more.