We’ve spoken before of the importance of purpose and passion in igniting employee performance. Still, the question remains: what does this look like from a practical standpoint within an organization?
In The Open Organization, Red Hat CEO, Jim Whitehurst, devotes an entire chapter to the topic of igniting passion. This post summarizes 4 practical strategies that Jim says leaders can take to motivate and inspire workers at all levels toward a common purpose.
Strategy #1: Make It Personal. If your employees appear to lack passion, it may be because they haven’t made the connection between their specific role and your company’s overall mission and vision. Therefore, once you’ve defined your company’s mission and vision, it’s important take it a step further by helping your team members understand where and how their unique talents fit into the broader picture. This means they must first understand their strengths and be given the opportunity to utilize them daily through the work that they do. It also means that accomplishments should be celebrated together when they occur.
Strategy #2: Hire Passionate People. Passionate people are intrinsically motivated to do great work. Inspiring and motivating your employees requires creating opportunities for them to do what they do best. When you build teams based on the various strengths and talents that exist among members of your organization, and align those strengths to the overall mission and vision, you’ll experience higher rates of engagement and productivity as your people begin to take ownership of your business.
There are several ways to go about finding passionate people. You can create a referral program within your company that encourages existing employees to refer great talent to your team. You can also tailor your hiring process and interview questions toward discovering what truly motivates potential candidates (i.e. “what inspires you?” or “what are you passionate about?”)
Strategy #3: Recognize and Reinforce Passion. Create open vehicles, such as employee events, message boards and email lists, where people can bond, voice their passions, and celebrate their accomplishments together. Treat your organization like a community instead of a corporate office. In a passionate organization, the people are not just employees who do a job, go home, and shut off their brains until the next day; they become your friends and family members. This goes back to strategy #1—making it personal.
Strategy #4: Keep the Fires in Check. Passion is an emotion, and sometimes our emotions can run wild. In your effort to ignite the flames of passion, it’s important to keep the size of the fire in check so things don’t get out of control and become destructive. Help your workers see the impact of what they do beyond a paycheck, and encourage them to generate emotion around it, but to not lose sight of the facts in any situation.
Passion leverages the strengths and motivators of your team members to drive employee productivity through natural collective effort. At Throwing Words, we call this “relational productivity”—a method that helps leaders transform their organization from the inside out.
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