Joel Manby (Zondervan, 195 pp., hardcover)
I have known of the Herschends for over 25 years. During this time my family and I have visited Silver Dollar City almost yearly. We have seen Love Works in action through the dedication of their employees. This book is not just a run-of-the-mill leadership book designed to help you become a better leader; it is the leadership book that will truly change the way you lead.
Joe Manby is the CEO of Herschend Family Entertainment (HFE). Through his close association with Jack and Peter Herschend, he has continued to develop a leadership legacy that impacts lives. Using a paraphrase of the love attributes from 1 Corinthians 13, Manby explains how these attributes are essential for anyone in leadership. Love “is about the values we embrace as a way of life, and it is a determination to behave in a certain way that stems from our regard for other humans beings, regardless of how we may feel about them.”
Many will think that having love as one’s main leadership attribute might lead to avoiding the hard truths and decisions in leading an organization. But love demands truth, while dealing with difficult issues with love. The author discovered that letting love be the goal in decision making has made HFE more profitable, both financially, and in enriching the lives of its employees. By honoring its employees, HFE has developed a family-type atmosphere that encourages its employees to grow in their jobs and become part of the decision-making process. The way HFE leadership made decisions on how to release employees during difficult economic times is a tribute to the love that motivates this organization.
Manby is transparent as he discusses not only his positive experiences in leadership, but also his failures when he did not let love lead his decisions. His illustrations on how employees have also embraced this leadership philosophy and learned what it means to find fulfillment encourages readers to do the same with those under them.
Love Works is a valuable book for pastors and church leaders. While the church’s bottom line is not money, it is in changed lives. In the goal to establish programs to reach people, pastors and leaders can often use people in the process, instead of valuing them and their input and contribution to the church. Love does work because it values people. Love Works will change how you lead others.
Reviewed by Richard L. Schoonover, associate editor, Enrichment journal, Springfield, Missouri.