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Passion – The Difference Maker

December 10, 2013

In today’s economy – a sophisticated economy increasingly based on design, thinking work, proprietary creativity, and the ability to grasp and apply complex intellectual abstractions – the need is greater than ever for those who can… think.

And thinking work is different from the typical jobs of even a generation or two past. A steel mill manager, a radio set salesman, or a train operator could measure their success in physical quantities: how much steel poured, sets sold, or tons shipped.

In an information economy, on the other hand, the measures of success are increasingly intangible. The iPod was better than other MP3 players not because it had more, but because it had fewer buttons and features – the right buttons and features for music on the go. A restaurant chain displaces a competitor because it feels more (or less) like home. A shoe company thrives because it gives away half the pairs that you buy. Even vacuum cleaners, cars, and backyard grills are made, marketed and sold in ways that were inconceivable in the last century.

The “difference maker” is the employee (“partner”) with a passion for the business. A zeal for the industry. An excitement, an enthusiasm, a zest for the art, and the craft, and the science, of what makes a company in the field succeed.

Finding people who can make those decisions well, and then execute on those decisions, is difficult for bosses.

They have to figure out who is going to understand the customer better, the manufacturing process better, the marketing better, the interface better, and so on.

And what bosses have discovered is that somebody who is passionate about the business is a better employee (“partner”) and a better professional to work with.

Because somebody who is passionate is inherently motivated, and internally driven to succeed, they try harder to find answers. They think up clever stuff on their own. They enjoy the business, and the customers, and the industry so much that they’re always discovering new things or perceiving additional ways that the business could succeed.

In short, passionate people are better employees (“partners”) because they care more than dispassionate people.

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