It’s a fundamental, almost primordial component of the leader’s journey, and the essential factor for winning.
Yet how many times do we get up every day without it?
Too few leaders stop to ask themselves whether they still have the “juice” it takes to fuel their strategic pursuits and, if not, explore what to do about it.
When we drive organizational strategic growth faster, we find many leaders have never challenged themselves with such a deep question. And introducing meaningless programs or changes produce more hope than results.
Without passion, the outcomes are dismal. A passionless leader cannot lead a strategic initiative. Why can’t they fake it? Because followers are too smart.
How do we unearth the causes of passion loss so we can fix this?
Our findings detect a couple hints:
Passion as a Function of Corporate Life Cycle
Passion exists more readily with entrepreneurs. In an early stage of developing a new company or corporate initiative, passion exists because there’s an inherent risk that seems to only attract entrepreneurial spirit. Whether it’s a career risk, or a mortgage at risk, new efforts require passion for the possibility, something to motivate doing things differently or better.
But for companies that have been around awhile, this entrepreneurial passion becomes lost in the “operationalization” of the business. I find that half or more of the CEOs we work with struggle with maintaining the passion at some point in the life cycle of the company.
As your company grows and ages, be alert to the diminishing of the entrepreneurial spirit.
Passion as a Function of Professional Life Cycle
Like with organizations, we age and lose the spirit too. Where do you begin to look for passion if you’ve lost it? Well, that’s like asking how do you fall in love? If I knew that I’d make more money publishing romance novels than leadership books!
But seriously, it is difficult to plan. One thing you can do is begin a journey of introspection. Get some outside coaching, join a peer group, or explore different, unrelated avenues in sports, arts, hobbies, travel, or anything to get the brain exposed to different environments.
Also, introspection involves asking yourself questions about the meaning of your life. Open up to your issues around happiness, suffering, love and life itself.
Temporary Lapses of Passion
Not all lapses of passion are symptomatic of an emergency that requires a major change. I’m sure Gandhi got up some mornings and said, “Why the heck am I doing this?” Anybody who’s human find moments of passions lapsing. That’s when you have to ask yourself, ‘Is the possibility that I’m standing for worth more than my petty little distractions?’”
Define your passions. Be vigilant. Do great things.