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Find Your Passion

March 16, 2005

Organizations can use the "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose" approach to positively impact the bottom-line and reach other goals. Lynda Simmons used such a process to build the largest non-profit housing developer in the U.S., Phipps Houses. Tom Chappell, CEO of Tom's of Maine, and others applied this approach to building entrepreneurial ventures that blossomed into multimillion-dollar firms. Don Vanlandingham did likewise to build a 500 million-dollar for-profit technology company, Ball Aerospace & Technologies Corp.


"Ball Aerospace combines exciting, meaningful work with people's passions. Our unique culture revolves around the people, outstanding and very smart people, who do things that never have been done before. A lot of our people would work if you didn't pay them - they love what they're doing. People appreciate our values of integrity and professional freedom. Being totally successful is the standard."

Indeed, the corporate culture does make a difference. Research from the "Pursuit of Passionate Purpose" study indicates:

  • People are the most critical element in an organization's success. The work of the organization is a function of the work of the individuals and teams. Each person is following, knowingly or unknowingly, the four-stage process and determining: What do I value and find exciting, what do I want, how do I get it, and how are things going?

  • Organizations that accomplish extraordinary results know how to unleash and match people's fervor with important organizational purposes. The manager's job is to place people in positions that allow them to work their passions, individually and in teams, in line with meaningful work purposes.

  • An organization follows a comparable four-stage process: Know the organization (determining what are the values and core competencies - the passion of the organization); Find passionate purpose (discerning what needs in the marketplace to serve with the passion); Pursue purpose (establishing and implementing a plan for how to achieve the mission); and Assess and adjust along the way (asking how are things going and what's next).

  • Managers may find the following approaches helpful: Allow opportunities for personal exploration so that people get to know themselves better; consider company-paid education and training, job rotations and varying project assignments; use the feedback loop to build employee's self-confidence and strengthen a sense of meaningfulness by giving people choice where possible and provide validation of competency and progress through informal and formal assessments.

Excerpted from Pursuit of Passionate Purpose: Success Strategies for a Rewarding Personal and Business Life, (c) 2005 by Theresa M. Szczurek, Ph.D (Wiley).

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