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Episode 42:

Love as a Business Strategy: The Book

Writing a book has been a dream of ours for many years, and we can't believe that we can finally say it has come to fruition. Join us as we discuss and celebrate our new book Love as a Business Strategy: Resilience, Belonging & Success on the day of its launch and make sure to snag your copy today.

Speakers

Feel the love! We aren't experts - we're practitioners. With a passion that's a mix of equal parts strategy and love, we explore the human (and fun) side of work and business every week together.

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Jeff Ma
Host

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MohProfile

Mohammad Anwar
President

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ChrisProfile

Chris Pitre
Vice President

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Frank Danna
Director

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Transcript

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Jeff Ma
If you're interested in bringing love as a business strategy to your organization, we are now offering free mini sessions of our globally resonant Seneca Leaders training experience. These mini sessions dive into three topics to help begin transforming leadership behaviors and influencing culture for the better. Space is limited. So visit softway.com/events to learn more, and RSVP now, enjoy the show.

Jeff Ma
Well, no podcast intro today, boys. Today's the day. Today's the day.

Frank Danna
Today's the day.

Jeff Ma
Moh, Chris today is the day our book is now officially a real thing we did it.

Frank Danna
Oh my gosh, in the video. In the video three out of the four of us are holding books and Chris is gonna make up an excuse as to why a book is not near him. Chris, what is the reason?

Mohammad Anwar
It's in his trunk.

Chris Pitre
That's where majority of them are the other one is on my bookshelf downstairs and it's staged so I'm trying to not disturb it.

Jeff Ma
Alright, so not a normal episode today. I don't think we have any other type of energy in our body except book energy this week, right? So this is this what we want to talk about, you know, shameless self promotion this week is what it's all about, because we've work too hard and come too far not to just plug the crap out of this thing. So if you're listening, thank you for listening. But today, we want to talk about Love as a Business Strategy, the book.

Frank Danna
The book.

Jeff Ma
How we feeling, how are we feeling? Let's go around the, let's go around the room, Mohammad, how are you feeling?

Mohammad Anwar
I am excited, but at the same time, a little nervous. Because, you know, I don't know what the public's gonna think about the book. So that's my honest truth, excited of what we've accomplished, but nervous about what people are gonna think about it.

Jeff Ma
Sure. What about you, Chris?

Chris Pitre
I'm excited. So like, with things like this, I don't get nervous, because I feel like when you release things that you're proud of, like, I don't care if you don't like it, like, I loved it. And I'm proud of it. And I did what I thought was best, this is what we all believe. And so like, I'm fine defending the work, if necessary. But more importantly, I know that we created this book, not for selfish reasons, but to really promote what we believe is going to help sort of transform the workplace. And to me, maybe it's just me being completely like enamored and, and glamoured. And some vampire has sort of, you know, got me convinced that what we've created is, is remarkable enough that it's worth everyone's time, if you want to read it, if you want to learn from it, like great. But if it's not for you, it's not for you keep it moving. Yeah.

Jeff Ma
I completely agree. I think when we first got together, and we like, remember, the first, one of the first things we did almost a year ago is set out like what are our goals? If we're going to do this, what are we trying to do? And nowhere on that list was like, let's sell a bunch of copies and make money. And so, you know, we actually all of our goals were like, we want to actually make a difference. We actually want to put this out there. And so now that it's right here in our hands, it's your right, Chris, it's like it's very comforting to know that we've kind of done the hard part. I don't think we need to worry about anything from here. Besides, we've put what we wanted to into this, and I'm really proud of it as well, right.

Frank Danna
I'm feeling a sense of accomplishment. And and you know, we're also coming up on Softway's 18th birthday, as a as a company as an organization. Mohammad, you've been here for the whole thing, because you founded the stinking thing, 18 years ago. And I I'm looking at this going we've talked about writing a book for years, right, we talked about it we talked about and there's a lot of things that we say we're going to do. And then I hold this in my hands. And I'm like flipping through pages, and I'm stopping at a page and I'm looking at something, I literally stopped at a page just now. And it was a reference to an Eminem song. And I'm over here like, hold on a second, this isn't a book. Like we're talking about knees weak, you know, mom's spaghetti, pop over here again, it's Mohammad saying, hey, let's get pizza. I don't know why all this is food themed. But the reality is that, that we've crafted something. And I just I this, this sense of accomplishment is really exciting. And for those that that are looking for a better path forward for people that are excited about wanting to bring something different and unique to their to their workplace. Like we wrote this book for you like this is this is yours. This isn't for us, this is for you. And we really wanted to make the biggest best impact we can. So we held absolutely nothing back. Like every single story in this is a real story. And we turned it up to 11 because we wanted you to feel what we felt we wanted you to experience what we experienced. And in doing so see yourself in the stories were telling. And I think that's that's a special thing.

Chris Pitre
Yeah, I what I like about it is that and maybe this is also part of why I'm not nervous is that these are our lived experiences. And if there's anything that I've learned is like don't be embarrassed by your lived experiences. That's what has gotten you to where you are. And if someone can't accept it, or someone wants to reject it, who is that a reflection of? It's not a reflection of me, right? It's not a reflection of us, right. And I think that for that reason, we've heard far more people interested in learning more about this topic, we, we know that there are people who are suffering inside of their current workplaces that are hoping that there's something out there that they can hand to someone and say, hey, you know, my voice is not enough to change or to influence you. But maybe this book is, maybe there are, you know, sort of folks out there that have been through what leaders are currently trying to figure out. And this can be a beacon of hope, you know, which is probably too dreamy of the word, but it could be just that for the leaders that are either scratching their heads, or maybe feel like they are, you know, above everything, and are doing everything right, even though their teams would, you know, vehemently disagree. But I think that is, that is what this book is really about, which is, you know, we've done there we, we trust me, whatever you think you've done, I promise you, there's a story in there that will show you that we, we took it a step further. Right. And, and I think in that I have solace in that we were authentically ourselves. We are not just showing the best parts of Softway, we're not just showing all the wonderful ideas and the cool things that we've done. We're showing you the gritty, grimy, like bad stuff that most people, most executives, most leaders would never admit to. Let alone write a book about and lead millions of people around the world read it and sort of learn from it. And you know, I always appreciate that in the in like self help books, right? Because they always tell you the what and the why, but not the how. But it was really important that we really get into the how, right and also share our our bad how's and our good how's. Right. And so that's what I'm really excited about is that like, this book talks about the how, and that is the bulk of the book, that is the the bulk of the book. And most self help books to tell you the why, and the what and this is important, and you really need this. And then you get into like, Okay, I'm convinced.

Frank Danna
How do we do it?

Chris Pitre
Where do I get started? How do I how do I and you're just left hanging right? Or you have to pay to get the real how, right. And that's what I wanted to make sure this book was not which is like just a tease, so to speak of, you know, a promise and a dream and an aspiration. But there's no how, and there's no believability to the achievability of the how.

Frank Danna
Yeah, that's good point.

Jeff Ma
I found something really interesting as I was kind of reflecting on the journey now that we've come to the somewhat of a finish line, kind of look back at when we were like putting this book together and all the conference. I mean, the hours and the nights and time we had to spend together virtually just to collaborate on this is funny because I don't think we ever, I don't think we ever stop at any point go and win. Like, should we include that in the book? We never, like everything is just like, yep, that's going. You just put it all out there. I'm looking back. I'm like, huh? Now I'm kind of like wondering, now it's gonna be in people's hands. And just like the realization that all of this is gonna be in front of people is very different. Because when we were writing it, there's like never that doubt. We're just like, Oh, yeah, that was really embarrassing. Which chapter should that go?

Mohammad Anwar
I'll tell you something. So this weekend, I had my nieces, get an early copy of the book. And you know, they're 13 years old and 17 years old and 15 years old. And they read the book, they were reading the book, and the only thing they could come and tell me is, you were mean, you're like, Okay, that's all you got from the book is how mean I was but but to be honest, right? Like, they they really, they're they're so young. And they're enjoying the book. It's a business strategy book. And they're loving it, and they're already like Snapchat, Snapchatting it instagramming it to their friends. And now their friends are wanting to buy the book. And they're, they're only in high school. And it's quite interesting how they're finding it so fascinating. And I asked him, Why are they Why are they so interested in they're only in school? They're like, no, they want to go to business school, and they feel like this book is going to help them prepare for college. And I was like, okay, that's, that's pretty interesting. But most of all, I think what's important about the book that even you know, my nieces are finding really funny and, like, interesting to read, is the fact that we've actually shared our failures. We've shared real life experiences of how we weren't the greatest leaders. We weren't the greatest business folks. Everything in there is like, mistakes that usually people would hide away from books or not wanting to put out there about themselves. But we wanted to put it out there. We wanted people to learn from our mistakes. And so, a big part of this book is us being vulnerable and sharing our lived experiences. Of all the things we did wrong, not so that we could just go into self condemnation, but more so so that you guys can learn from it because we learned from it. And we had an opportunity to change. And we took the decision to change and transform, and we're still transforming. But I think there's a lot of lessons in there that I don't think I would have ever realized had I not gone through or had we all not experienced together, that we're trying to give a glimpse into the readers perspective to see how it might be happening even around them. And they just haven't realized that. So a big part of the book is all about bringing that realities of a workplace, and how you can still solve it, and how you can have an alternate reality which we're able to see for ourselves. And, and that's how we lead the book. It's all about let's share, not how great we are, let's share how bad we were, and how we've had to learn from it.

Frank Danna
For me, it's, it's, it's really interesting, because the the name of the book is love as a business strategy. And for those of you that have been listening to the podcast, you've actually heard some of the stories and heard some of the the concepts, but you've never seen it kind of come together the way that the book actually brings everything that we believe in our philosophy as an organization as a group of people together. And people ask us why love and are my responses because everything else has failed. Like if you look at how businesses today, business, as usual sucks. And we make mention of that early on in the story, not to say that other businesses suck, we said, the way we were running software, the way software was going, we would have been out of business that wouldn't have wouldn't have survived, had we not realized what needed to be done. And the people that I've shared this book with so far, they've come back to me and said, Every story you tell, I've either done it, or I've had it done to me. And I think there people are just sick and tired of working in places that they hate. They're just sick and tired of it. Like I don't want to work here anymore. But the reality is going from one place that treats you badly to another place that treats you worse isn't solving any problems. So we have to stop for a second and recognize the opportunity to create change from within. And, and for me that was one of the important takeaways of the book is seeing that software could transform because the people inside of the company believe that they could transform. And I'm hoping that this brings people some semblance of hope. And maybe you read it and you're in a management position or a middle manager position, or you're an aspiring leader, and you're like, I really need my boss to read this stinking book. Because you see all of the opportunities that do it, like share it with them. And and the worst thing that could happen is they they don't believe it. And there's actually a part of the book that we talked about, if that's the case, you know, let us know if you stay at that organization. But in the in the end of the day, what we wanted to create is something that pushes back against what corporate environments say is the norm, that this is how you should work. This is what work should be. This is how your life needs to look. I don't think that's the reality that we need to be crafting for ourselves as we move forward. I don't think that's that's where we should be. And so this is not just theory, it's practical application, but it's also rooted in an opportunity to change.

Jeff Ma
Chris? You've got words in your mouth, I feel like I know you.

Chris Pitre
I do. Like I'm trying to like find ways to organize them. So people like are listening and feel like they are audibly understanding what I'm saying, because, you know, my thoughts sort of smash together. When it comes to when it comes to this book, and you know, thinking about one the value that we are intending to create, but also the, the reactions that I know I've been receiving from those who have gotten sort of advanced copies is there are some readers that will probably come across this book, and maybe in situations or organizations where they don't really understand certain expectations that are coming forward, especially in today's times around like diversity and inclusion, equity, belonging, all of those terms and all of those things. And I feel like we've crafted the book in a way that if you feel the most foreign to those terms, if you feel those terms of overuse with no meaning or no definitions around them, we try and create, you know, a simple understanding right? So I I firmly believe that you know, if you You can lay things out in a simple fashion, it helps everybody to come along that journey faster. And I like that the book has done what I've been told is a great job of getting people to understand, you know, like inclusion and what that means and what that can look like from various lenses, but also carrying that forward into the other principles and, and tenants that we teach, and that we provide how tos around. So that way, it's not this sort of isolated incident or isolated series of events that you do to celebrate culture, right? And like, oh, what was my tissue month? Or Oh, it's Ramadan? Or, oh, it's these things, right? But it's really about the behaviors of how do you bring everybody together to create a high performance organization. And it's, it's to me regulatory, for a lot of people, or at least for me, watching people have those revelations and see, like, what some people have been talking about that feels so unapproachable feels so so much like rocket science and feel so sort of distant and unattainable is actually within everyone's fingertips. You don't have to wait for anybody above you, or around you away from you to do anything. We've put it in a place where you can in whatever seat you have, build the influence around those you work with, to do something about the change you want to see in your workplace.

Frank Danna
You did great, Chris. I mean, that was sounded fantastic.

Jeff Ma
I've, you articulated it, exactly how I feel. Because I was trying. For me, it's like, I'm especially proud of the same exact thing. And it comes from a perspective of like, I think even myself, I have like this unspoken kind of negative bias towards like a business book, or experiences with people trying to tell me things about business, not that I have it figured out, I just don't want to hear all the all the complicated jargon and all the other stuff down supposed to keep up with. And I think we put that extra effort of like, I mean, this book is not written like a business book, like it's got the word business on the cover. And that's about the end of it. Like, the rest of it is basically this, like tell all documentary have a soft way, like kind of organized in a way to help you understand those things, in the ways that we learn them. And I, I'm especially proud of that, because, you know, we don't it I guess it doesn't come across on the back cover or just in single blurbs. But the one thing I would say for anyone considering is that this is not your typical business book read at all, not even close, I don't think it's not, not that it's automatically boring, but it's not boring. And it's not, it's not like deeply technical or trying to break into light. And while it does handhold you through a lot of these concepts, it's not done in a way that treats you as if you know, it's hand holding the way that's like, you know, everyone has something to kind of realign and revisit on these topics. And we just want to give you a different perspective, we just want to give you our kind of learned kind of experience around what that looked like for us. And I think it's we've gotten feedback that's like really insightful for people to connect back to their own world back to their own experiences. And I hope that's I mean, if that plays out true to people who read this book here in there, I'll be so happy. Like, that's the outcome I was looking for coming into this, I just wanted people to hear our story and be like, I see myself right there in that story, have one new thought one new approach one new, you know, thing, they want to go into work and do differently. And I'll feel like you know, all of it has been worth it. That's where I'm at.

Chris Pitre
Speaking for someone who's gone to a traditional business school, gotten a business degree, I can tell you that in all of my time in college, it was never revealed to me that my behavior is really what makes the difference in the outcomes that I seek and the vision that I cast, and the financial rewards that I'm looking for, or the company is looking to get. And I think that is that, for me is probably going to be the most shocking, you know, from a business perspective is that, like, no one ever told me this? Like, why didn't anybody talk about this, when you talk about behavior in business, school is organizational behavior. You talk about how the whole group behaves, you don't talk about your behavior as a leader. And no one prepares you for those sorts of interactions and prepares you for how you might misbehave and how that turns into other things. And definitely, in all the finance classes that I was forced to take, that was not my my cup of tea, but no one ever said when you look at each number, each of these numbers on the balance sheet, just know they're all connected to human behaviors. And if you want to change these numbers, don't start looking at these religiously. You need to go and find the behaviors and influence those behaviors before you come back to the sheet because I'm not going to change it's not going to get better. And I think that that for me is something that we connected to in this book and we tried to bring out which is Hey, there are things And traditional business programs that you might never get told. But I promise you, once you're actually practicing business, and you're actually creating and managing and leading and starting a thing, these are the things that you wish your professionals would have actually told you, and giving you cheat sheets around. So that way, you don't have to start from the negative, you don't have to start from a deficit with your team, you don't have to start, you know, the rebuilding process years into whatever you are creating or working in.

Jeff Ma
You know, the one the one thing that really also stands out to me, that we're here is that, you know, I'm really thankful for the process. I think the process of putting this together has been a really exciting one. Shout out to our executive producer, you might have seen on the show a couple of times, Maggie McClurkin who make sure this thing happened in a timely manner, and kept us in check throughout the process. But But we I mean, that all the extra hours we spent together was also like, time that we further learned further misbehaved with each other further, you know, just real time adding lessons of the last minute into this book, because it just, you know, I feel like just this process, we should get going on, you know, Second Edition. Like now, because we're already like filling up another book worth and learning through the process. I really appreciate that that experience, whether we got, you know, here or not?

Chris Pitre
Yeah, no, I think that was, I mean, for those listeners who might be contemplating writing their own book, one, go for it, I'm always gonna be the one that says like, go for it, go for your wildest dreams, dare to dream, dare to chase those dreams. Yeah. But, you know, there's also the real estate of illnesses like now, what King goes to war and doesn't count the cost. Right. So, as you chase those dreams, know, what you're signing up for. Right? Well pledge, you know, fortunately, we we found that out, and what I will say, you know, if you are really interested in that process, really think about what you want to give, right, because I think many authors approach it from the perspective of, you know, I have all these things and like, I want to have a legacy or, you know, like those selfish sort of reasons. Like if you don't know what gifts you want to leave behind, and what others are needing and what people need to know, use or need to be successful. Like, you might find yourself wanting to write a book for the wrong reasons, because, you know, those reasons don't motivate you to stay up late at night to review manuscripts, right? That doesn't motivate you to you know, really sort of put in the work to write, rewrite, overwrite, you know, rethink everything, so to speak, before you get to the final words. And I think that that is, that was a huge sort of revelation for me, which is, like, your commitment to this process is likely driven by the need to motivate and do something for others moreso than, you know, selfish reward. And, you know, it's, it's something that you just you sort of have to have this drive. And for me, at least, it wasn't anything that was extrinsic, it was all intrinsic. But it also also the idea of knowing that there's going to be someone who's in a situation that I can't go and advocate for, I can't go and sort of represent and sort of, you know, tear down the table, you know, so to speak, and start yelling at the leaders to make better decisions, like my way of helping that person was in this book. And so that was always in my head as I was reviewing, editing, writing, drafting, you know, talking with you guys about things questioning what you guys are saying, right, and vice versa. And I think that that is something to just keep in mind is that like, know your purpose. Like if you don't know your purpose, or if your purpose is selfish, chances are your book might might reflect that. And it might I get what you are hoping to give.

Frank Danna
That was free. That was just like a just a free. Boom, right there, man. I love it. And yeah, it's. So for me personally, it's been a dream to write a book. You know, my, you guys know this, but my father passed away a few years ago. And it was his dream to write a book too. And he was he was writing a sci fi novel, he'd actually penned the entire thing. I have the document the manuscripts here, my house, is this random, like alien invasion book, right. And he had drafted it up and sketched it. And I remember watching him, penning it and writing and he would hand me chapters to read and I would give him critiques as like a 12 year old I'm like, I don't know what this means, but it's kind of fun. And now to see an opportunity like this come in, when we all decide together as a team, we're going to write this book and then make it a reality. It's, it's not just a dream come true. It shows me that anything is possible. You know, and part of that has to do with the the people that you the company that you keep, and the people that you surround yourself with. And for me, I'm lucky to share that with the three of you in that we are co authors of a book. And it's very rare for people to be as aligned as we are, I think in regards to how we wrote the book and the voice and tone we end up using in the book. And the fact that yes, there were some there were some some discussions and arguments and all sorts of fun stuff. But at the end of the day, we're the most aligned group of people I've ever seen in terms of in terms of getting to the right getting to the heart of the issue in a story. And so I, I don't think it would have been possible without the unique perspectives that each of us brought to this to this book. And I think it scares some people, when they look at it. They're like four people wrote it. I mean, how did you even How is that even possible to come up with a story, and then bring it together with it not saying like, in each chapter, it starts with Chris wrote this paragraph, Mohammad wrote this sentence, Jeff added this comma, like, that's not how it was. But seeing the dream come to reality, and seeing the accountability and the connection that we were able to bring to this, you will see our passion, you will see our voice. But it also proves to it's proven to me that I'm capable of more than I think I'm capable of. And and I'm hoping that that comes out truly for for people that are able to read it.

Mohammad Anwar
Absolutely. I think I think the exercise of us working together on this book has further aligned all of us. But to begin with, like we went through pretty, you know, stressful situations together that were the last few years of a transformation we've had to go through so much. That's it spend in the book, I think that brought us closer together already know, we spent, we traveled the whole world, doing Seneca leaders, you know, trying to train or 1000 leaders from 46 different countries, I think all of it. All of that has led its way to allowing us to be able to write this book in a very aligned fashion. But if anything, it's further aligned, selling their values and so forth, but all from different perspectives. Right. And I think that's important. I think that's reflective in the book. I think if it was a single author book, it wouldn't have been as rich as it is today, I think, because we all come from different lived experiences, we all come from different backgrounds, different ethnicities, even, I think we bring a very different perspective to the book, which I think has only made this that much more exciting. And, you know, fortunate for us to be able to write a book that I think is going to appeal to a lot of audiences. So I'm really proud of how we were able to work with each other because I've heard horror stories of two authors fighting each other and never getting a book out. So I think I think that's been, it's been quite impressive how we've been able to work with each other on this book.

Jeff Ma
Wouldn't have had it any other way.

Chris Pitre
Definitely meeting of the minds.

Mohammad Anwar
I think it was the love for one another that made this book a possibility to be honest.

Jeff Ma
So listen, bottom line, it's here, it's arrived, go get it, it's available now at amazon.com and also any other booksellers really, and for a limited time to celebrate this launch, because we really want to get this going to get this message out in as many hands as possible. For a limited time. If you're listening to this week of launch 99 cents for the ebook, if you just want to grab this right now we're putting the ebook out for just 99 cents, no reason not to go snag it. We really want to get this out there. We also of course have the paperback in a beautiful, hardcover copy available at many different retailers. And you can visit LoveAsABusinessStrategy.com to learn more. It's out there, folks. So we're excited. We're ready. We hope you enjoy this. We hope you We hope it brings you value. We look forward to your feedback. There's a whole chapter about feedback in here. So you can go read that chapter or feedback and then give us feedback about it. Because we love it. That's incredible. We, we we we look forward to it. So on behalf of Mohammad, Chris, Frank, myself, like thank you all for sticking with the podcast listening in today. And we really hope you enjoy this tell your friends really go out and share this because it means a lot to us and we hope it means something to you. And with that. Thank you all. We're excited. We're pumped more words, but I'm gonna stop Moh, Frank, Chris?

Mohammad Anwar
No, just go get it. Whether you're a leader, a CEO, a middle management, upcoming leader, a student in business school, or high school. All of you guys like we'd love it if you guys could go read the book and, you know, leave us a review but also learn from it. We'd love to hear your feedback and thoughts.

Chris Pitre
If nothing that we say convinces you do it for the children. They are our future. Not reading it means that you will not care about our future generations is what I'm saying.

Frank Danna
You know, weirdly enough, my daughter who's nine is reading this book, and so far she's enjoying it. So I'm just saying the children have already begun, you know, I'm saying,

Mohammad Anwar
Frank, did she think I was mean?

Frank Danna
She did. That's what she told me. Reading that story. Really, you know? Hmm... Anyway.

Mohammad Anwar
They all were like, you were so mean to Frank.

Mohammad Anwar
Listen, we've made amends. Everything is fine. And to find out what we're talking about. Read the book.

Chris Pitre
Yes. Read the book. Alright for the kids.

Jeff Ma
Signing off. See you guys later.

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