I’d say a 10-15 million dollar mistake, where an employee is kept, warrants a safe work culture: Love is just one of the reasons why

(Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, 2017)

You’re kidding me, right?

No, true story.

A few years back, I’d interviewed the marketing director at one of the largest, if not THE largest,  U.S. e-tailer.

This director, I’ll call him John, had made a mistake.

And, to most people, a huge one at that.

Actually, a 10-15 million dollar one.

Yet, his company still kept him.


They saw his potential.

And they saw a learning and teaching moment.

The day he was to present to his CEO and CFO about what happened, he thought, “I really could lose my job here.”  In addition to his realizing that not only had he’d made a very, very expensive mistake, but that he’d only been at the company 3-years.

But in he walked.

White board and marker in hand.

“Tell us what happened,” they wanted to know; however, not in a fear-based way, but a hope-based one.

John proceeded to explain that the decision he made was based on said data.

They could see that he was correct.

“Fix it,” they said confidently and lovingly.

And John did.

He would tell me, “I’ve probably got the most expensive education here,” and that he would go through a brick wall for those leaders and company based on how they believed in and trusted him.


Because they gave him a chance.

And they loved him.

Retired Colonel Arthur J. Athens (2008), also the U.S. Academy’s Vice Admiral of the James B. Stockdale Center for Ethical leadership, said, “I believe if you ask any extraordinary leader what does leadership and love have to do with it, they would tell you everything” (p. 17).

Col Athens, USMC (Ret)
(Col. Arthur J. Athens, USMC, (Ret.), n.d.)

And Kaye and Jordan-Evans (2005) believed in that concept so much so that they wrote, Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em: Getting Good People to Stay.

(Love ‘Em or Lose ‘Em, 2017)

So, the next time you have an employee who makes a mistake, consider the following:

“Is this employee salvageable?”

“Are they on the wrong seat on the bus?”

“Perhaps they don’t realize their potential yet?”

“Is pride, ego and jealously getting in the way of how I see them?”

“What about all the great things they are doing in my organization?

Yes, there are times, however, when an employee will have to be let go.

Perhaps they broke the law.  Something criminal may have occurred.  Something of that nature.

And sometimes, even, a leader and or an organization may not be ready for an employee or vice-versa.

The timing may not be just right.

That happens.

Yet, the next time you may be considering letting go or firing an employee, ask yourself the questions I poised earlier.

Add to that, Athens (2008) counsel, “Love your people, and you will see amazing things occurr” (p. 17).


To hear Retired Colonel  Athens’ talk on “Leadership: What’s love to to do with it” visit:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d-UoqgiAYNw

You can also download a PDF of his talk mentioned above: athens-_-leadership_whats-love-got-to-do-with-it



Athens, A. J. (2008).  Leadership: What’s love got to do with it?  Retrieved from http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA519727

Col. Arthur J. Athens, USMC, (Ret.). (n.d.).  Retrieved from https://www.usna.edu/Ethics/staff/AthensBio.php

Kaye, B. & Jordan-Evans, S. (2005). Love ’em or lose em’: Getting good people to stay.  San Francisco, CA: Berrett Koehler Publishers, Inc.

Love ’em or lose ’em. (2017).  Retrieved from https://www.amazon.com/Love-Em-Lose-Getting-People/dp/1576753271

Love ’em or lose ’em. (2017).  Retrieved from http://careersystemsintl.com/solutions/engagement-and-retention/love-em-or-lose-em-workshop-for-managers/


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Cynthia Kimball Davis: Hope-based guru, writer, teacher, smoothie, gum & dog lover, family is everything, disciple, is excellent, do great things! ;)

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