Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Leading With Passion!

Don't be afraid to take risks that other people are going to call you out on.  It's better to elicit passion than a lukewarm response.
Randi Zuckerberg, CEO, Zuckerberg Media

Several years ago, I reviewed the results of a recent "climate" survey.  Something was missing.  It seemed that no matter the question, the responses were all around a 3 (on a 1-5 scale).  In other words, not particularly bad, and not particularly good.  Just...blah!

What was missing was -- passion!  I wanted to see some emotion from respondents, something to suggest that they cared about the organization.  Tell me that you love something and can't live without it, that we are the best at something.  Conversely, I think I would have been thrilled to know that something was screwed up, and that people cared enough to call it out.  But 3s across the board?  Lukewarm.

I knew that my team cared.  They were a professional group and took their jobs very seriously.  I just didn't see any energy.  The responses were just so...average.  But to be honest, they were a reflection of our organization.  Just...average.  No risk, no excitement, no enthusiasm.  A good team that was happy to be good -- not great.  A collection of comfortable but competent workers, doing things the way they always got done.  (Yes...this was a government organization.  I think this is too common in government.  But, common doesn't make it right!)

Is this your team?  How can this be acceptable?  Would you want to join this team if you had a choice?  Could your "comfort" with these conditions be a contributor to future attrition of high performers or worse, future losses in profits, projects, or customers?

 Here are some things to think about this week:

  • Talk about passion with your teammates.  Find out what excites them.  If you can be doing things that people LOVE to do AND make money -- that's a winner!  Align people with their strengths.  If you don't know what your teammates are excited about -- ask them.  Motivating people is pretty easy when they are doing what fires them up!
  • Assess your collective willingness to take risk.  Look for those BHAGs -- Big, Hairy, Audacious Goals -- and sign up for them. 
  • Get people out of their comfort zones.  Move people who have been in one place too long.  Look for developmental opportunities.  New people in new positions can bring new ideas and...new energy!
  • Ask questions.  Sometimes the best leaders are the ones who ask, "Why do we do it this way?"  Challenge the status quo.  Look for new ways to do things.
  • Hire passionate people.  Good leaders can usually judge this pretty quickly when evaluating talent.  Either people have energy or...they take it!  Seek out the former and get rid of the latter!

Let's commit this week to leading with PASSION (emphasis intended!!). Let's bring the energy to every day, every task, every engagement. Let's challenge the status quo. Let's do what we must to get FIVES (or even ONES) on those surveys!  Life is too short to accept...BLAH!  We can do better.  That's...Leader Business!


Jerry Hingle said...

Passion is the key to doing something well. If you're lukewarm about something, the chances are you are going to be average at doing it. Once again, great advice.

Tom Magness said...

Well said, Jerry. Let's not accept average or lukewarm in anything we do! We must be "All In!" In our leadership endeavors, with the options of hot, cold, or lukewarm -- I choose HOT!! Thanks for your comments!