The New Executive Position: CLO

Shep Hyken
Contributing Writer
Shepard Presentation

The word love is not used that often in the corporate or business world.

It may have been Tim Sanders in his revolutionary book, Love Is the Killer App, who helped bring the word love to the forefront for leaders trying to build a stronger culture and create a better experience for their customers. People were scared to use the L-word in business. Some still are. Some people say it’s “too soft,” but my take is that it just makes you real. If you truly love your people, love your customers and love what you do, it shows. It’s obvious. Love becomes part of the culture.

My buddy and professional gifting genius, John Ruhlin, talks about “loving on your customers.” It’s his expression for sending customers meaningful and memorable gifts.

I had a great call with a team of real estate agents the other day and we talked about how to show their clients how much they loved them. They were getting ready to promote someone to a position that managed the love process. They asked me if there was a title for that position. I thought about it and here’s what I came up with. This position will be known as the…

CLO, as in Chief Love Officer

If a company can have a CEO, a CFO, a COO, a CXO, why not a CLO? Welcome the newest title to the C-Suite! It turns out that I’m not the first person to come up with this. TV Personality, Steve Harvey, has given himself the title of CLO. A few others—albeit a very few—have also adopted the title.

What does a Chief Love Officer do? For the real estate company, we came up with some of the immediate responsibilities. I’m sure there will be more, and different companies in different industries will have different responsibilities. That said, here’s what we came up with in our first brainstorming session: The CLO…

…is in charge of expressing gratitude to customers.
…is in charge of appreciative follow-ups, such as thank you cards.
…is in charge of remembering birthdays, anniversaries and other important customer dates.
…is the person who makes sure others in the company express gratitude toward customers (and employees).
…in charge of the holiday card list—and other appropriate holiday celebrations, such as Valentine’s Day, where true love can happen.
…works with HR to ensure the people hired fit in with the “love culture.”

If you have been following my work, you know I love fun titles to describe the responsibilities we have in our businesses. My assistant is the Director of Details. We have a social media and marketing person whose title is Director of Reputation. I’m the Chief Amazement Officer. So, “Chief Love Officer” is not that farfetched. Even if you don’t want to assign someone this title, you can still operationalize love in your organization. So, love on your customers—and your employees!

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