Passion: a 2-Way Street

Passion is everywhere in recruiting nowadays. It’s almost a required word in job postings. It’s in blog posts. It’s a part of performance reviews. It’s talked about on Twitter. Now, it’s the topic of a Forbes column.

Generally, I get it. I like the idea. Passion – we need that. We need people with it. It works – in business, in sports, in politics, in deciding who you want to be around. You want to be surrounded by passion.

But too little is made of how fleeting passion is; how much it can wax and wane, be created and destroyed, how it is not just something we have or don’t have, but something we have one day about one thing but not the next day about another.

Give people all the things every management and human resources publication and training course and college business class talk about, and the passion goes up. 

Appreciation. Thank-yous. Flexibility. Autonomy — the chance to do your work your way, your creative way, how and when you can do it best. The chance to learn new skills. The chance to grow. Money – give people more money, and voila, the passion rises.

I’ve seen people who seem miserable at their jobs get better bosses or different working conditions and almost overnight they’re far more passionate.

I’ve seen employees get new bosses, or become part of new (merged/acquired) companies, or get new policies, and become far less passionate.

It’s important to hire people who are passionate about what your company is doing. But it’s also important to understand how and why people become passionate, or less so.



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