If It Feels Good, Do It! Passionately!

Posted by Rick DeMarco on 9 April 2015

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Can you think of a job or task that you have performed in the past for which you had no passion or commitment?  Something that you were ordered to do by a superior or even a parent and that you did simply out of compliance or obedience?  How was that different from a job in which you were passionate about what you were doing?  When someone is passionate about a task or job, they are much more willing to go the extra mile and become fully engaged and committed.  Effective leaders understand that they may have the ability to order someone to do something, but they will never gain total commitment until that person shares the same values, passion, and vision as the leader.  Stan Slap wrote a book called “Bury Your Heart in Conference Room B”.  The title intrigued me so I picked up a copy.  Stan builds the case that a leader can buy temporary loyalty from an employee with stock options, bonuses, reward and recognition programs, or even equity in the company.  But they will never capture their heart until that employee feels like they can live out their values on the job.  And that commonality of values and beliefs drives a common passion that results in a strong culture of employee engagement and team alignment. [Read more...]

Our society seems to be increasingly driven by people who have the attitude that “if it feels right or good to me, I should do it”.  Of course the inverse of that philosophy is that if it doesn’t feel good, I shouldn’t do it.  So in a “if it feels good, do it” world, leaders have to take the time to develop a shared passion, values, and vision, if they want to create a culture of employee engagement and team alignment and drive high performance.   So how does a leader create that culture so he/she can win the hearts and minds of people they lead?  

  1. It all starts with clear and concise vision, mission and values.  Leaders cannot expect those they lead to share a passion if they have done a poor job of communicating it and reinforcing it.  The vision must be shared. What that means is, don’t go out and say “here’s my vision I want to share with you”. Shared vision is created when it’s done collectively through abundant mentality and collaboration.
  2. Employees must have an opportunity to reconcile their values and beliefs with those of the organization for which they work.  This starts with the interview process.  Companies who are committed to creating a culture of engaged and inspired employees spend time interviewing for values and beliefs, rather just for technical competency.  I had the pleasure of spending time with a key executive at NetApp and he explained that managers go through 8 interviews when being considered for employment, 5 of which are focused on behavior and values.  This is why NetApp is consistently ranked one of the top 10 best places to work.
  3. For a group of people to share passion for a vision or strategy, leadership must clearly define the impact of achieving that vision on the company, community, society, and other people.  Study after study confirms that people are inspired when they feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves. 
  4.  If employees are to share the passion for the vision and strategy, leaders must clearly articulate the value to the employee or the WIFFM (What’s in it for me?)  When all members of a team believe that they win together or lose together, shared passion will become a foundation for their behavior and attitude and a culture of team alignment and employee engagement. 
  5. Finally, there needs to be a clear statement of the obstacles and clarification of what needs to change. Leadership should spell out clearly what the consequences are or will be if they fail in their goal. It should be challenging and inspiring simultaneously.

Well there you have it. Lead with passion. Inspire with passion. Engage with passion. Communicate with passion. Give it your all and your people will reciprocate.