If there is something hugely false in the enterprise today, then it is definitely something that is being called “enterprise passion”. I put those words under quotation marks because this is not the true passion for me. This is something that the actual people working those companies are imposing over each other and people around, as in “I care greatly about [something], and what about you ?”. The enterprises wish their people to have a huge connection with something as long as it is marketable – and who cares what it is, right? – this is me being sarcastic/caustic/ironic…
It is like “every celebrity must have some charitable cause“, and yes, there are positive effects of those “celebrities” “passions”, but there is no true passion in it. No, please, DO NOT even try to defend the external MUST PRINCIPLE in the passion. We need more truly caring people and not snake-oil careerists.
Without lowering a bit of the people who are truly passionate about great causes (or any causes for that matter), take a look around – how many people are truly caring beyond their own managers evalutions and their current score cards. Every single year I meet people who kick off with “new passions” and “special causes”, which typically correspond the beginning of the financial year of their company or their respectively achieved promotions.
Those people do not even realise that they put themselves into quite a weird position where they loose the respect of those people who have seen those “fake passions” over the decades again and again.
You are either passionate about something or you are not, and there is NO PROBLEM WITH IT, unless you are trying to sell the lie.
There are people who look for something they like & enjoy for years and decades, spending their lifetimes searching and not finding this something special they extensively care about… And this is absolutely normal.
There will never be a situation where you will find hundreds of passionate people being at the same place (well, unless it is a major subject-matter top conference), but in the working environment – this is nearly impossible. Most of the people do their job and that’s about it. There is and there will be no affection or passion.
Passion is defined as a strong and barely controllable emotion, and I won’t try to go further than that, besides adding that it is about caring beyond regular measure and wishing it well beyond a lot of things.
Passion is something that is located on the border with the reasonable, and that is also a personal definition for each person.
Why passion is so important for the enterprises currently?
Firstly because a passionate person will run circles around anyone else, trying to compete with them.
Secondly because passion might infect others to go an extra mile and eventually even becoming passionate about the issue themselves. Those passionate people who can do that are the true evangelists of their cause.
It is because someone who cares about some certain subject will dedicate extra time and effort on learning and improving it, without feeling a lot pressure.
If you are not passionate about something and trying to do it just for this money – you better be ready that your passionate concurrence are going to smash you, without loosing their breath. Because it is a true pleasure for them to learn and to compete. It is just a part of the game, part of the fun.
Why enterprises do fail to hire/integrate truly passionate people?
– Because most passionate people will simply not “buy into” the enterprise that suddenly changes their values, instead of building it up from the ground over a significant amount of time. The credibility can’t be earned in a matter of minutes/days, the trust is one of the hardest things to earn (and of the easiest to loose so fast).
– Because being passionate means that person will defend the cause he/she cares about, sometimes going over the established “corporate order” and unless there is a good protection for such people (by their direct managers, by the leadership team, by the established rules & laws of the enterprise, etc) there is no chance that they are going to last more than a couple of months.
– Because they fall out for the people telling stories/lies about their passions, instead of focusing on getting the people who are blatantly and “irrationally” passionate, who are in a lot of ways are nonconformists. Declaring yourself passionate is not the same as being passionate.
– Because they do not really care about what they do… But they should!
(Caring about the money is not the same as caring about a cause)
How do you define passionate people ?
Here is one of my favourite ways, from the good old “Think Different” Advertisement from the Apple Inc:
The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them.
About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They invent. They imagine. They heal. They explore. They create. They inspire. They push the human race forward.
Maybe they have to be crazy.
How else can you stare at an empty canvas and see a work of art? Or sit in silence and hear a song that’s never been written? Or gaze at a red planet and see a laboratory on wheels?
We make tools for these kinds of people.
While some see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.
Thinking about those great people on the image and in the Ad …
None of them seems to fit into any enterprise …
Maybe it is because none of the major modern enterprises fit into the definition of where great people would love to work ?