the P of Simple

the P of Simple

The P of SIMPLE is the P of Passion

The letter P stands for the passion that you have to achieve things. Things that you are enthusiastic about and that you want to take responsibility for. Alone and / or with your colleagues, business partners and friends.

In my previous blog posts I introduced an acronym: SIMPLE.
Each letter of the word SIMPLE stands for an approach, point or principle.

S = Success story or just story
I = Intelligence
M = Mission-driven
P = Passion
L = Love & Leadership
E = Energy-giving, empowerment

These words are carefully chosen. Not just because the first letter of each word, together form the word SIMPLE. The word SIMPLE has been my most important starting point. As said, the S, I and M are already posted, so now for the letter P.

Where do you find PASSION?

I think Passion is everywhere. If you look closely!
It is in mothers and fathers who are passionate to assist and encourage their children in sports or studies. It is in people who are committed to read a book to the visually impaired or the elderly. It is in volunteers of all walks of life. In people who support good causes by biking a mountain 6 times (Alpe d’Huez). By holding meetings to collect money. It is in the ones who remove weeds from the local park. And so on and so on. To see these people doing all these things awakens my fascination and admiration.

True leaders show their PASSION too. By doing what they do best:
• support people,
• doing things that matter,
• showing integrity,
• talk impassioned about the people who form the company,
• give people confidence to do the right things.

And in return, this passion fires the passion of the people they have a relationship with. Someone once said that “a vision of a leader is the same as a love affair with an idea.” Leadership is almost always about love and passion, but I like to get back to the love & leadership bit when I present the L of love and leadership in the weblogs that will follow.

Passion at work (1)
Some people have a passion for designing a building, a system or an architectural drawing to perfection. Others have a passion to discover things gradually, without searching for perfection, and do that perfectly. Some have a passion to pursue challenging goals. And in reaching that goal, go about their own way and are trusted by their manager to do the right thing.

Managers have discovered that passion at work is at the root of entrepreneurship. A stimulating environment for innovation, that makes people happier in the company. Of course managers like that and thus they would like to have ‘people with PASSION’. But lately managers distinguish it as a precondition for you to have this ‘feature’ when you apply for a job or new assignment so they can ‘have and hold’ this.

Passion however is not a property of someone. It works very differently and you cannot agree upon it in SMART metrics. Not with time boxes or as a preset goal in your contract.

Passion at work (2)

PASSION is a messy thing. Passion is emotion. It is a result of interaction with others who can have totally different opinions, views and things that they like to do passionately. Passion is allowing coincidence in your life and sometimes to just let go. This said, that doesn’t mean you can’t discover or recognize passion. It also doesn’t mean that passion isn’t something concrete. Because:

• PASSION does have a purpose
When you’re passionate, you do have goals and targets. Everyone can visualize a purpose too, because everyone knows what he / she becomes passionate about. For example: almost everyone knows how their lover looks and sounds like and how that person does, smells and feels like. Passion nourishes and drives a purpose.

• PASSION is specific:
To achieve what you want, you involve all your senses to visualize. This makes it more concrete and increases your passion on what goals you have. The goal doesn’t have to be realistic persé and may be very challenging. After all, even dreams can come true. And dreams can be quit specific too.
Here’s a passionate statement Dom Helder Camara made: “When we are dreaming alone it is only a dream. When we are dreaming with others, it is the beginning of reality.”

• PASSION works in small steps:
While visualizing your dream you can ask yourself: “What steps must I take first to fulfill this? Do I want to take those steps? Try not to outline everything in detail because that will take away your energy. Concentrate on what you’ve imagined (let’s say the BIG picture)

• PASSION also has a timeline and an end point
You should take some time after each step to think about: “Is this where I want to be and what is the next small step. It is also advisable to occasionally look a few steps ahead.
At some point you will reach your goal. No matter if it is exactly what you imagined, or not. It is then time for a new challenge.

PASSION strives when success is rewarded / celebrated:
Would you like a financial or a spiritual reward? A step up the career ladder or gain business? Or do you feel rewarded through better health, study, harmony in the family or belonging to other communities? Do not depend on someone else to reward you. Reward yourself! Enjoy a luxurious bath with nice bath oil. Be proud of yourself! Rent a great movie, go to a dinner or a musical performance. Reward yourself with an inspiring open space or seminar. Create your own music or give a presentation on your achievement. This will ignite more energy and more passion.

• PASSION creates new passion:
Find out what inspires and arouses your passion in the new goal you want to achieve. Does it give you a good feeling or a new sense of confidence? Use positive thoughts and energy to fight against obstacles that may occur on the way to achieving your goal.

Passion at work (3)

Passion at work often arises because the company has a valuable social function; it creates a product that meets a need or a service that delivers value to the client. True passion in the workplace occurs when managers and colleagues have respect for each other. Passion is in the skills of the people.

If you as a manager, let craftsmen do what they’re set about to do and trust them to do the job, you encourage their passion. If managers have a meaningful relationship with the people for whom they are responsible, you can be sure that passion comes naturally. Actually I think it’s a prime necessity for managers to realize that they are there for the workers and not the other way around.

Managers should admit they don’t know about the bits and pieces. They should welcome criticism and comments and give honor where honor is due. Doing stuff together, while recognizing and using each other’s strengths with respect for each other. This post gives practical suggestions on how to keep passion alive. These suggestions go beyond rational thinking models and the usual management models. No technical stuff in here. It’s about emotion and beauty, about meaning and passion.

Relationship and Passion

It’s all very relational. Like a vision, which is very important for a manager and also helps to keep peoples passion awake. A vision gives meaning to us, to the leader, to the company, to the family and to society. It gives meaning, because all of these organizational forms are made up of people. People have passion. Passion is in their genes.

Vision = passion
Three quarters of the companies in the Netherlands have a vision. Every self-respecting company should have one. At least it’s fashionable to have one. However, if we look at the places where we work there is a big gap between that vision and the way people have to work and behave. At one point we will find out we were seduced by managers to commit to a vision made in isolation. And then we realize we have committed ourselves to this non-executed vision and feel grossly wronged. A vision that uplifts sustained passion has to be made with the contributions of everyone. Therefore, a vision is not a product of analysis, but one of feeling and love. A vision can never be the outcome of the works of a management consultant. A vision (as a mission, see M of SIMPLE), cannot be formed by a committee as well, for that is unloving and sooooo not passionate.

This view is confirmed by the book with the somewhat silly title, “kus de visie wakker” (kiss your vision awake) by Hans van der Loo et al. It tells us of which parts a vision must consist. They use an acronym to explain this. AMORE for: Ambitieus, Motiverend, Onderscheidend, Relevant & echt en Evenwichtig & eenheid. It doesn’t translate into the same letters but it means: Ambitious, Motivated, Distinctive, Relevant & real and Balance & unity. The authors work to a vision that people can follow wholeheartedly, and with passion. I recommend managers and those who seriously want to ‘make’ a true vision, to read this book.

PASSION changes over time
Tom Peters, a management guru stated in 2005 that nowadays we need other things to run a business than was usual for a long time. This is what he said: ”we have to go:

• From rules -> to relationships
• From conquest -> to communication
• From a single task -> to multitasking
• From Yes, sir / madam -> to Thank You
• From the distribution of orders -> to asking questions
• From rigid claims -> to subtle hints
• From command and control -> to connect and compliment
• From competition and (match) -> to cooperate and play
• From managing -> to put you into power (see E of SIMPLE)
• From information on ‘a need to know’ basis -> to information because we want to share”

The things on the right give passion. The things on the left definitely don’t.

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