People with passion improve performance
Joel was a senior executive with a major retailer when I began working with him. He knows the importance of a safe, inspiring work environment. Joel had been in place for 18 months when he invited me in to help him embed his mantra in his leaders’ heads, hearts, and hands. I helped Joel educate his next-level leaders about the benefits of people with passion in his team. I also showed him how to create a work environment that increases people with passion instead of people eroding it.
The foundation of Joel’s mantra is that people are critical to business success. People touch everything that your company delivers, no matter what business you are in. By putting people before performance in his statement, Joel clearly communicated to his leaders that he wants them to pay attention to how people feel. To notice how engaged their people are, to how committed they are. And finally to see whether their people feel valued and respected as active partners in the business.
Measurement vs feelings
Performance is measured constantly in retail. Metrics and dashboards specify sales (in all manner of ways – month to month and store to store and the department to department comparisons), market share, customer service rankings, etc. frequently. Passion, however, is not something that is measured by many businesses. But it’s a very beneficial and desirable employee feeling to encourage.
Why? Passionate people ACT to move their passions forward. If employees are passionate about their company, colleagues, and customers, they will SHOW it. They are present. They are responsive. These people are pleasant, to everyone they interact with. They build their knowledge so they can serve others more effectively and more quickly.
What builds people with passion?
What builds passion in team members? Passion builds when company values are clear and values are demonstrated. They experience trust, respect, and dignity in every interaction with leaders and colleagues. People with passion know the goals that they, their team, and the company are striving for. They have the tools and knowledge to solve customers’ problems. Even more important, they have the authority and responsibility to ACT on that knowledge, without having to wait for permission from a boss or colleague.
What erodes passion in team members? Politics. Bullying. Unfair workloads. Unfair compensation. Poor behaviour tolerated or even reinforced. Being treated as a “cog in the wheel,” not a valued partner. Being told they are “not good enough.” Being given little say in how they approach the work and their customers.
Within 18 months of working with Joel and embedding his mantra, his region saw results and profits grow by 35%, employee engagement by 40%, and customer service by 40%. Joel helped his leaders create passionate people – and they performed beautifully.
S. Chris Edmonds is a speaker, author, and executive consultant. He shares insights on organizational culture, servant leadership, employee engagement, and workplace inspiration.
He writes books and articles and records podcasts.
In his free time, he’s a working musician with the Brian Raine band in Denver, CO.