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Give Me Passion!

Building transformative organizations has more to do with who than what. In his book The Human Equation, Jeffrey Pfiffer used Wal-Mart and Southwest Airlines as examples that there is no connection between organizational success and industry characteristics such as conventional strategies. He goes on to note seven practices for successful organizations. (pg. 64-65) When I read these, it occurred to me that these are only effective if you have the right personnel in place. It’s all about the people. It is incumbent upon the leader to ensure that the organization is staffed with the right kind of employee. Proper training can improve capacity only if the “raw material” is willing to expand. When looking for the right “who” there are many components to consider. In my opinion, passion would be among the most important. Proper mentoring can improve skills, but passion comes from the inside. In his book Managers as Mentors, Chip Bell credits passion for giving followers and leaders a feeling of being inspired, incensed, and ennobled which ultimately leads to a sense of being renewed and revitalized. Passion unbridled can certainly be counterproductive but all rudder and no oar can cause an organization to grow stagnate. Passionate leadership keeps the fires of passion burning in the organization. As Bell puts it: “Passionate connections invite passionate responses.”