Passion Management (i.e., Leadership)

“Passion is innovation’s midwife.”

Passion management is about excitement and obviously passion. It is managing, in part, through the use of emotion. People do not leave their personalities and emotions in the car in the parking lot. They bring all of it to work. So why not use it?

Passion can be transmitted throughout the organization in many ways including email, newsletters, conference calls, videoconferences, etc. However, probably the most effective is interpersonal relations on a one-to-one basis. It is often easier to transmit emotion, feelings, and enthusiasm person-to-person. This may be in part why management by walking around can be effective.  Person-to-person also has the added benefit of helping establish trust relationships throughout the organization.

In passion management you attempt to get the staffs’ commitment based on their desires and what turns them on. Then you link it and align it with the overall company objectives.

Can you manage passion?

Given that passion is about emotion and feelings, two topics that rarely are in the same sentence as management and control, it begs the question, “Can you manage passion?”  This reminds me of Machiavelli in the book The Prince asking the young prince would he rather be beloved or feared. The prince falls in to the small trap and says beloved and then explains why using all of the obvious reason. But then Machiavelli tries to set him straight by saying that it is better to be feared. The reason being that the love of the people was an emotion and a situation that he could not control. However, he could control how much the people feared him.

Passion management is a bit like that. Emotion and passion tend to have a life of their own. As a manager you may be able to monitor it, perhaps steer it a bit, but probably not manage it. As a result it is a high-risk management technique, especially when executives feel threatened by the fact that they cannot control the passion. However, it can be very effective in the correct situations.

So what then?

Ok given this, then how do you get higher level of commitment from your staff? First, make it a real adventure or a cause. Employees can see through ruses. Therefore, make the cause real. Use passion management to help instill passion throughout the organization. If you can reposition the work of your business so that it is seen as a cause, you will get the benefits I have just described, your products should be revolutionary to some degree anyway, if not you will not be successful in the marketplace.

Second, there is an added advantage if you can make the cause or adventure fun. People may work harder without additional incentives for work they like or find meaningful. Look at the number of volunteer, civic and social organizations. These are volunteer organizations that expect and get tremendous effort from their membership, without pay. A sense of satisfaction and fun can make the difference. Fun is contagious. People having fun, tend to spread fun, which just helps reinforce the feeling. If volunteer organizations can get high levels of effort and commitment, you should be able to get at least some increased effort if you actually pay, don’t you think?

Third, as mentioned in a previously article increase the high leverage activity intensity. By reducing low leverage tasks, employed talents’ productivity goes up. Employed talent is more likely to maintain or increase their effort when they see that they are accomplishing something; a sense of completion can be a motivator.

Fourth, you can get higher levels of commitment and effort from you employees, if you have the right employees. This goes back to the importance of recruitment and the importance of fit. This point cannot be stressed enough. Additionally, having a company with a cause or adventure makes it an easier sale for the recruiter. People want to be involved in making a difference, a higher cause, etc. The best, most talented people often require something extra, this can be it, which will make the task of attracting and keeping the best even easier.

In the end passion management is just good leadership . . . ah do I miss it.

  1. I have the passion, I want to make a difference, I want to work for a higher cause. I even have the opportunity right in front of me (!). How come I can’t take the step? Can you help me do it?

  2. In fact Alex, I can.

    Generally there are many opportunities that are surrounding each one of us all the time. However, most people are not even aware of them. So you are ahead of the game, you can see the opportunity. The next step is to decide what you want. You seemed to have done that – you want to make a difference. Question – Will the opportunity in front of you help you reach that goal? If the answer is no. Look for another opportunity. But if the answer is yes, that is good news. But here is where it gets a bit harder. You must decide to take a leap of faith and go for it. It is a leap of faith because you can never be sure what will happen; you just have to have the faith that with hard work you can realize your dreams through this opportunity.

    Alex, most people never see the opportunity. You have. So you should be commended. You are half way there. Why not go all the way?


  3. Alex,

    I’m an old serial start-up entrepreneur.
    When I started the hazardeous venture to take The Step some 40 yrs ago I was a teacher having a calm, secure and laid back lifestyle with children in class loving me.
    As yourself, I wanted a change and to find out my limitations. To do something More! I knew I had some talent but I didn’t know the extent of it.
    I said to myself: What is this? Leaving the security for a Maybe? Madness.
    And it came into my mind that just because this idea had popped up it was a request from my unconscious level that had already made the final decision for my future or it had not popped up at all.
    So I took The Step. Left my secure job and jumped into the cold out there with no opportunity but just an idea and the burning urge. (I still have). In the beginning I made several poor decisions but my solid conviction was that a bad fallout is no failure at all, on the contrary, its just a trial with unwanted effects adding experience to skillbase and the roar to a rapid change of the route for a next trial.
    All of us oldies, we were once rookies, too, making mistakes, but the joy to have tried and learnt of it is something that you cannot let go. It’s That fantastic to bridge the fear and to show up courage to oneself and to make a difference to mainstream.

    Take the opportunity or you’ll regret for life.
    Be thorough, calculating, analyzing and become a careful watchdog to new easygoing ”friends” popping up to join your dinner and be ware of costly consultants promising you castles. Keep focused and it will go your way in one way or the other.

    You have no alternative any longer your internal voice has spoken to you.
    Good Luck and start up Monday 30th of August at 9 am.

    Best rgds Bill

  4. Dear Mr. Brown,

    I read this very interesting article today, which I really loved. However, it led me to think over a practical applicability of it where I would request for your point of view.

    Analysis: Passion gets a person emotionally involved in something. Professional leg pulling in the office environments is quite normal in many parts of the world.

    Q: How to maintain a cool head within the middle of office politics as you might start taking things more personally by virtue of being passionate about your work?

    Your piece of advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanking in anticipation!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

You May Also Like