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How to create passion in your people

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A short while ago I wrote an Article that had large and continual amounts of interest shown in it, so it struck me that it’d be a good idea to write a follow up. The article was called ‘The Definition of Passion in Business’, and this follow up answers the question I hear all the time in my coaching work from clients:

‘How can we create passion in our people?’

So here goes:

The short answer to ‘How can we create passion in our people?’ is:

‘You can’t, you can only create an organisation that attracts, incentivises and motivates people who share your passion, and repels those who just ‘want a job to get to pay the mortgage’’.

And the difference between the two is massive:

  • one type will propel you and your organisation to new heights of genuine customer loyalty, reputation and referrals,
  • and the second group will need lots of HR processes, management and ‘carrot and stick’ style motivation (a hugely tiring and expensive waste of effort compared to what you could have if you had passionate people in the first place!)

So, how can you create passion in your people?

It’s a long process … but well worth it. Remember: Rome wasn’t built in a day (and if it had been it would have crumbled into dust very quickly … just like all those ‘motivational events’, ‘incentives’ and ‘management initiatives’ do).

The key is to Slow down and focus on getting it right for the long-term right from the start: you don’t want costly and painful alterations down the line.

To start, you need to genuinely have passion yourself: this has to be led from within and by example: you can’t expect passion in others when you aren’t brimming over with it yourself.

Assuming this is happening, the next step is to put this into SIMPLE words. We call this a ‘Customer Focused Mission’: it sounds a bit naff (how many naff missions in organisations have we had the misfortune to have seen in the past?), but if it’s SHORT, SIMPLE, GENUINE, OUTCOME BASED and MEASURABLE, then it has the potential to work. Here are some good examples from our experience:

  • A worldwide cleaning franchise: ‘Caring Experts’
  • A UK based professional services provider: ‘A relationship that makes a real difference and gives you more freedom and success’
  • An international bank: ‘Business banking is all about long term relationships’
  • An award-winning pub restaurant: ‘Our aim is to make sure the customer leaves with a smile on their face keen to come again and bring their friends’
  • An online checking business: ‘To really care about getting it right’
  • An online shoe retailer: ‘Delivering happiness’

Getting this right, and making sure it’s simple and devoid of jargon can take some time and application (and usually needs the support of an outside coach, as they can see you objectively, not subjectively), but, when it’s complete, it forms the foundation of the passion you want to build in your organisation.

Then what you do is:

  1. Define the key strategies that come from this ‘Mission’.
  2. Design processes one by one (guided by this mission and checking that each process delivers on the 3 key emotional needs for the customer: ‘Trust’, an ‘Easier or better life’ and ‘Attention’.
  3. Put some simple powerful ‘Activity measures’ in place that measure each person’s performance of the key activities in the processes, (These are measures of the actions that produce the results, not the results themselves).
  4. Put in place some simple powerful ‘Go the Extra Inch’ Processes to keep reviewing and improving

Unfortunately, some of this sounds a bit like jargon or ‘Business BS’: it couldn’t be further from the truth, and it also couldn’t be more rare to see in practice.

If you do this continually, rigorously and consistently, it will make life too hard for those who aren’t passionate enough about what you do (so they leave), and will attract like a magnet the right kind of people to you who want to be part of the party … because they are passionate about the same things as you, and want to work with you to create the magic!

It’s not easy to stick to, it’s not a quick fix, and, very often, it will be challenging to stick to what you know is right: but the key is simply to get started: start anywhere and keep moving forward step by step every week: this is the way to get results for the LONG TERM, and this on its own will put you head and shoulders above your competitors.

Thus, over time, solving the question: ‘How can we create passion in our people?’

These are some of the principles and questions we address in Slow Selling: please click here to join our top tips and updates list or, if you have a question regarding your situation and would like a simple answer, drop us a line at [email protected]

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