Passion Revisited

Can it be taught? Learned? I say no.

I’ve written before about passion.

I’m the same guy I was five years ago, but writing has ignited an inner passion in me that never manifested itself while working as an IT consultant. Sure, I cared about my projects and clients, but it was never my candy store. CXOs always made the calls, and they could always take or leave my opinion.

When you call your own shots, you cannot be indifferent about the outcome.

Many employees in large organizations have their passions thwarted by internal politics, silly policies, bad managers, and the like. Others work with passion and purpose but don’t achieve results because they have no stake in the outcome. They lack a line of sight.

And it’s not just a problem with big companies. In many bands like Pink Floyd in the mid-1970s, one member (Roger Waters) routinely mocked the others for their “weak” contributions. His domineering style discouraged the other three men from contributing as much as they could have, and the band’s work probably suffered for it. More than 25 years of acrimony ensued.

Passion is not something you can teach or something you can learn. It’s easy to let others kill your passion. Don’t let them.

philanimated

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2 Comments

  1. Julian Schwarzenbach

    Phil,
    Another facet of modern business life that destroys passion that I have encountered both first and second hand are organisations who start a process of perpetual reorganisation.

    Whilst the organisation can believe that it is moving towards an ever more efficient operating model, the staff (who are the lifeblood of any organisation) are treated like pawns on a chess board. If they are willing to do what the company asks of them, then they have security of employment (i.e. the salary keeps rolling in) but what they lose is security of career.

    If people are in a situation where they have no long term perspective on what they can and want to do, and if they get into the point of thinking ‘there is no point going the extra mile on this because I’m about to be reorganised’ and output drops.

    More able people when faced with this situation will vote with their feet and find alternative outlets to re-engage their passion. This can leave an organisation with a less capable workforce with risky long term consequences.

    Organisations need to ensure that they encourage passion and enthusiasm in their employees and do not lose sight of these factors when planning any reorganisation.

    Julian Schwarzenbach.

    Reply
    • Phil Simon

      No argument here, Julian. It’s got to be tough to keep passion high when “reorganizations” are happening. 

      Reply

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