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What Is Love?

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What Is Love?

The book I’m currently reading is called “When Pride Still Mattered”, which is a biography of Vince Lomabardi, one of the most successful and famous American Football coaches, in the history of the game.  During the 1960s he coached his team (The Green Bay Packers) to 5 championship titles, including a famous three in a row in 1965, 1966 and 1967.

In the book you get a real insight into the man, his character, what made him a great leader, and how he was able to successfully motivate his team to so many titles.  I’m almost finished reading the book, however there is something in particular that I wanted to share with you.

Lombardi was well known for his motivational speeches, and there is one speech that an ex-player recounts that I was really struck by.  In this speech began by asking his players “What is the meaning of love?”  Here is what he told them

Anybody can love something that is beautiful or smart or agile.  You will never know love until you can love something that isn’t beautiful, isn’t bright, isn’t glamorous.  It takes a special person to live something unattractive, someone unknown.  That is the test of love.  Everybody can love someone’s strengths and somebody’s good looks.  But can you accept someone for his inabilities?

He then went on to bring this back to team sport.  You might be playing with a guy who isn’t perfect, but you’ve got to love him, and maybe that love would enable you to help him.  And maybe you will do something more to overcome a difficult situation because of that love.  He wanted his players to think “What can I do to make it easier for my teammate?”

Bringing it back to Business

I just wanted to share my thoughts with you on how this can be translated to the world of business.

We all work as part of teams, some more than others, some in large teams, some in small teams.  I think it is fair to say that just like in sport, teams in business have people of mixed ability and experience.  Reflecting on Lombardi’s words about love and teamwork, it’s interesting to observe that there are too many people that don’t show compassion and understanding for people who are less experienced and maybe less talented.

I think we can take these words as a reminder to be more thoughtful, and to watch out for those people in our teams who need a bit of a helping hand, and some encouragement along the way.


I live in Kilkenny, Ireland, and I'm married with one daughter. I was born in Derry, and came to Kilkenny via Manchester, England, and Dublin. My passion is all things Social Media, and for the last 2 years I have been working as a Social Media Evangelist for Oracle, where I have worked for the last 8 years. This role entails, promoting the use of Social Media internally for improved communication and collaboration. My other interests include sports, especially football (soccer), reading, video games, movies/tv, music and walking.

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  • Facundo

    A nice reminder Frank. I think a key element would be to foment the love for the project/ job itself more than how should people consider each other. Probably when a group is “all in” with a project, the cordiality & helpfulness should come in as a consequence?

  • Love this post Frank! 🙂 nnI worked in, for and against many (so-called) teams in business. I’ve also led teams, in reality my job is really about helping to create teams for businesses. In saying that, while ‘team building’ and ‘working as part of a team’ are words that are used a lot in business.nnThe reality however is that the majority of businesses neither want or understand what it means to build a team. Businesses who understand the term build their business around their teams, businesses who don’t attempt to build their teams around their business. nnWe pay a lot of hommage to the notion that it’s about our people, that they are the most important factor, but in truth we rarely mean it?

  • Hi Frank, nnEdward De Bono made the point that the root of this may be in the education system, for example, we rewards kids based on their individual results whereas in the u2018real worldu2019 your success is determined more by how you collaborate with others.nnTeaching and rewarding kids to collaborate may be one way to change how we interact in business scenarios. I know I find this difficult as, even when working as part of a team, there is always the competitive element to be the cleverest, fastest etc. It ainu2019t easy :)nnIvann

  • Patricia

    What a great and thoughtful share Frank – ties into a statement that a great leader I was fortunate to work alongside often proclaimed to his ‘team’ – he compared our team to a bicycle wheel where “there are big cogs and little cogs but the wheel won’t turn unless all the cogs work in unison & every cog in the wheel has as much importance as the other.” This ethos created a fair and open work force where everyone give there best. I really like your message, though I’m not advocating we fall in love with bicycle’s …

  • Patricia

    What a great and thoughtful share Frank – ties into a statement that a great leader I was fortunate to work alongside often proclaimed to his ‘team’ – he compared our team to a bicycle wheel where “there are big cogs and little cogs but the wheel won’t turn unless all the cogs work in unison & every cog in the wheel has as much importance as the other.” This ethos created a fair and open work force where everyone give there best. I really like your message, though I’m not advocating we fall in love with bicycle’s …

  • Brilliant post Frank! I think Ivan hit the nail on the head when he mentioned our educational reward system. We are taught from a very young age to be single minded about getting ahead and often develop an intorelance for others not playing at our level. Thankfully that is changing. At my daughter’s Parent-Teacher meeting this year social skills played as big a part in the report as academic ability.nnWhen I was a party plan manager used the acroynm T.E.A.M. to help motivate my team to work together: together everyone achieves more.

  • Hi Frank, I missed this post earlier and just picked up on it via Niall’s links post and I am so delighted to have read it and I share a very recent and personal experience in relation to the message you convey in this post….. to cut a long story short nnI have an ethos of giving as much as I can to help others and have always been supportive of new team members and especially new entrants to the working world throughout my years working in the corporate sector. I was recently asked, now in business for myself, to undertake a project for a business I did not know, but I knew the head of marketing and for the very reason that you articulated in your post, this person was once the new member of my team and new to the workplace and it mattered so much that there was ‘love’ to use the word in your post by way of encouragement, support, open door to help, guidance and so on. I never realised the impact of what you do can ressonate with another person for so long (the negative we all get that it is remembered for a very long time but the good stuff it is great to know it makes a difference). Whilst this is a very personal story I felt that it relates to your post and gives us a little evidence of the importance of team work on every level. I am a great believer that everyone in your business is an equal and has something to bring to the table and making them feel like this is unmeasurable. Too often people are geared to impress, pay attention to those ranking higher in business because they often hold the key to ones future – however we never know how the future turns out and just who can hold a future key. n

  • If we believe in abundance rather than scarcity, we are all team players, and all winners.nnJeff Jarvis discusses in his book “What Would Google Do?” the internet (and Google specifically) is changing from a scarcity to abundance state, as now we can communicate and trade with anyone in the world, and not have to battle for shelf space, column inches or media minutes.nAnd hopefully as young people grow within communities online, they will appreciate that collaborating with non-perfect people can still be rewarding.nnI love Patricia’s bicycle analogy below – and great thoughtful post, thank you Frank.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Facundo. In reality I think you will have projects that are a joy to be part of, and you will have projects that are a disaster zone, and are a real pain to participate in. nnIt’s easy for everyone to get along during a project in which everything is going smoothly. I think the real test of character comes, when you find yourself in a difficult project.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Niall. I think there are lots of things that businesses pay lip service to, and it would certainly seem that for quite a few the notion of “our people coming first” is sorely lacking.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Ivan. Very well said. Thinking back to my Secondary school days in the late 80s and early 90s, I find it hard to recall any group based projects, in which we needed to collaborate with our classmates.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Mairead. It’s good to hear that things are changing in schools. Are they encouraging more group based projects that contribute to final exam results?

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Sharon. Wonderful story that illustrates the point made in my posts. Thanks for sharing. I remember my first ever boss saying to me that Ireland is such a small place and that one should never burn bridges. Your story also shows that by going in the opposite direction and building bridges can pay off a long time down the line.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Patricia. For what it’s worth I love bicycles. I saw a brilliant quote recently from H.G. Wells that said “When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race”.nnGreat analogy.nnWe all have great fondness for great leaders we’ve had the luck to work under in the past. One of the features that comes across in the book about Lombardi, was how highly those who played under spoke of him.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for the comment Elaine. I’ve taken a note of the book you mention, and have added it to my to-read list.

  • Anonymous

    This is one of the most memorable interviews I’ve read in a long time, Sian.  You really know how to bring out the interesting bits. The pics added a lot.  As a gardener, I especially enjoyed it. And the tie-in with self-employment she made was excellent, also.

    – Anita

  • Thanks Julie – I’m looking forward to hearing more of the Zoopharmacognosy too 🙂

  • Thanks Anita – to be honest it wasn’t difficult with such an interesting person to interview as Lynne is.

  • What a great observation Lewis and thanks so much for the comment

  • Ronald Woolston

    interesting reading….thanks

  • Sian, this is a fab interview! Lewis makes a very interesting observation, one that’s definitely worth exploring further!   

  • Anonymous

    Great article Sian. I really liked Lynne’s thoughts about treating every winter as a recession, so you have to plant anew each year. Did you feel truly inspired after the interview?

  • Thanks Eamonn. I am always inspired after speaking to Lynne. It’s like recharging the brain and thought batteries

  • Thanks Elaine – Lynne certainly leads a very full life and I think her structure proves it can be done. And I saw the piglets which were gorgeous too 🙂

  • I mentioned to Lynne about the lovely comments on here – this is her reply (which she asked me to post)

    “I have tried to reply – logged in through Google a/c but it just keeps saying ‘please
    wait’ – for Christ’s Sake if it read the bloody article it would know I don’t do waiting!!! x

    Can you post this for me and tell everyone I’m thrilled with response and will keep trying to reply!”

  • I’m glad you liked it Kimberly. Lynne is a great inspiration model so I hope it rubs off on you too 🙂

  • I always preach – rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. If you have rehearsed enough if technology fails you will know the material backwards and forwards and can go on without it.

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