Love is a verb: Work Your Love.
James Carville, was the Campaign Manager and the brains behind Bill Clintons 1992 election campaign. In what they called the War Room he had a huge banner hung up. Famously it proclaimed, “It’s the Economy, Stupid” – meaning, stay focused on that issue, and we’ll win. And they did. But it’s a lesser-known statement that he made to his team, that he attributed to his Grandmother that I’ve always thought was the real key to his teams success, and Clintons election victory. He told them, “Love is a verb. To work, is an act of love.” That speech, and that idea, galvanised the team.
That attitude is a choice. It’s not determined by your choice of work. It’s an attitude that can be brought to any job. It’s the attitude I try to capture in people within the companies I film. To celebrate and shine a light on something that many people don’t realize is a heroic act – to work, and to work well.
Whether its documentaries or videos for business’ the best part of my job is listening – with a camera. Actively listening, not just to the spoken remarks, but to what people would love to say, but perhaps cant articulate, or are not even aware of themselves – to truly see the person behind the job. And to see the synthesis of the person with the job as an incredibly important end in itself. Something to be noticed and celebrated. When we are noticed and celebrated, we excel.
Stories must make the universal personal. Otherwise you are left with statistics on a spreadsheet. Private Ryan represents all soldiers. Batman represents everyone wrestling with ethical issues and justice. Its no different in the world of corporate stories. One person doing a job well is a surrogate for every team member. Seeing love as a verb can reverberate throughout an entire organization. But it starts with a person. And its told through storytelling.
At the end of a shoot day, my hope is that that person feels noticed and appreciated – that she feels her acts within the company are truly seen and heard. More and more the images we see on screen are of vacuous celebrities, captured by cameras, airbrushed, and foisted upon us at the supermarket check out. In the face of this, it’s incredibly affirming for a real person and her team to see themselves and their stories told well, celebrated and influencing others for the better.
At the end of filming, we can all be pretty tired. But it’s the right kind of tired, because everyone’s worked hard. We’ve done our best to serve and do justice to another’s story.
So what do you do? What work do your people do? Can it be elevated to an act of love? It might be far closer to home, and look, at first sight more prosaic than fantastic or glamorous. But if we look closer, and listen harder, we can find ways to showcase and celebrate those simple acts of work. Because work is precious. Work is love. And love is a verb. Follow that, amplify it, and your team, like James Carvilles will win.