MAD Perspectives Blog

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 What's your passion?

Peggy Dau - Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Think about the businesses that are most fascinating to you.  What do they offer that is appealing to you? Is it their financial statements? Probably not.  Is it their business model, product, marketing or customer service? Possibly. My guess is that it is the energy they put into their business. This energy, or passion, compels them to create a business that matters. The business may offer a product or service that simplifies daily life, alleviates health concerns, enables connectivity to others or enhances the way technology works.  Regardless of the solution provided, the business owner, managers and employees portray a passion that sets them apart from competitors.

Companies that exhibit passion on a daily basis, in my opinion, are Apple, Facebook, LinkedIn, Microsoft, JetBlue and Whole Foods. These companies stand out because every employee consistently, and passionately, represents their core business values EVERY day. I've known several former HP colleagues who pursued opportunities at Microsoft.  I've been amazed at the Microsoft on-boarding process that I jokingly refer to as "drinking the kool-aid".  Each one of my colleagues has emerged from this process a staunch advocate of Microsoft and its technologies.  Of course, Microsoft understands how to optimize its software to simplify the daily business lives of its employees and by doing so, they understand the value to their customers.  However, they cannot force their employees to constantly and consistently rave about the benefits of Microsoft solutions - yet their employees do just that.  It's the same at Apple, LinkedIn and other companies who have a strongly held belief in the value their company provides.

This passion comes through in the way they communicate.  Think about images of Steve Ballmer leaping and jumping on the stage at Microsoft events, or Steve Jobs' compelling presence when announcing new products or Mark Zuckerberg's geeky intensity when explaining Facebook features.  These business leaders exude more than confidence or leadership.  They are the face of their companies.  Bill Gates represented the "evil empire" of the possibly monopolistic Microsoft, until, he went public about his philanthropic efforts.  By presenting an alternative view of himself, Microsoft's image improved. Employees maintained a passionate dedication to the value that Microsoft products could provide to their customers.

Whatever your business is and whatever product or service it provides should reflect a passion you enjoy.  In my career at HP i was drawn to emerging businesses.  I enjoyed the ability to create new business models, develop differentiating programs, communicate incremental value, learn about innovative technologies and provide customers with meaningful solutions.  Throughout my career at HP, I was always communicating with colleagues, management, partners and customers.  I was very aware of the value of clear communication and the emergence of technologies to enhance and improve interaction and collaboration.  

Passion fuels a clarity of intention, authenticity of voice and energy to succeed.  My last role at HP was in a vertical business unit with a passion for delivering innovative, meaningful solutions to customers.  The leader of this team exuded a level of energy and intensity that was infectious.  As a result, this globally distributed team consistently gave their best, exuded confidence in purpose and  maintained a customer centricity that bred interest, commitment and loyalty from customers.  

I came to realize that my passion is to help companies, and their employees, communicate their value.  With a desire for storytelling, I could help technology companies clarify their messaging, reminding them that they are sharing their story with humans first (technologists second!).  Thanks to my curiosity about emerging technologies I help companies prioritize and maximize the use of existing and emerging technologies for social communication, video conferencing and cross-company collaboration.  My passion is evident to my clients as we engage to develop strategies, gain alignment and create value.  I share this passion in my use of social networks to highlight solutions, methodologies, best practices and technologies relevant to my business.

Every company, be it large or small, needs to find their passion.  Their next challenge is to share it with their clients and the community within which they work.  This community can be local or virtual.  In either case, the company must develop a strategy and take advantage of the  communication solutions that allow them to inspire others.  Their passion for their product will compel action and win loyalty.  Isn't this what you want for your business?

What's your perspective?