Why are you in business? I don’t mean quote your marketing message, or sales pitch. What is the reason – beyond the goal every business has of making money – that gives life to the actions your business takes? Is this purpose beyond keeping stakeholders happy and hitting margins by controlling costs and moving a predetermined amount of units within a well defined timeline? Of course these metrics are important to run a business well (left-brain), but there has to be an emotional connection to purpose beyond these metrics if you are going to have any real form of quality engagement and a thriving organizational culture (right-brain).

chain linksThe amount of time spent on creating metrics, relative to the the time spent communicating passion, is grossly imbalanced. I have yet to hear one person looking to work for a company say, “They have such nice metrics. I’m so excited to work for them!” People – highly talented and passionate people full of vigor and innovative ideas – love to connect with and work alongside a purpose that is meaningful. The expression of that purpose may come in the form of selling computers, designing toilets or the latest creation in limb prosthetics.

The expression of our passion at The Leadership Advisor comes in the form of being a business advisory partner to our clients in the areas of leadership, culture and engagement. These are the areas in which we have chosen to express our passion. What’s our passion? Glad you asked…

We want to be recognized as a no-nonsense partner that is probably a bit unorthodox, but effective. 21st century business begs for business heretics (thanks Ted Coiné) that operate a bit left of center. We want to be known for positively impacting society because we showed businesses how to champion human potential in many contexts AND make a profit. Social good and profitable businesses don’t have to stand on opposite sides of the same fence. Hence, our call to action: It’s Time To Make A Difference. It’s our timeless admonition to demand a new standard and support those who feel moved to act.

We will forgive a multitude of shortcomings of someone who passionately embodies this sentiment in their work. I make sure the culture created in and by The Leadership Advisor is dripping and screaming this message in everything we do. People can connect with this and run like hell with it, and I want them to. Do we still use quality metrics that ensure business success? You bet your jelly doughnut we do. We just don’t let the metrics become a wet blanket for why we’re in business.

We want to leave a trail of renegades who “get it”. We want leaders who leave a wake of people who have been indelibly impacted in a way that won’t allow them to act, except that which reaps profits as well as contributing to the betterment of society. Is our goal and passion to change the world? You bet. Do we plan to make money while we’re doing it? Absolutely. Do we need to utilize both left and right brain approaches to make it happen? Every single day.

Passion is what takes us beyond job descriptions and gives us the ability conquer obstacles that would otherwise be impossible. Passion is what nurtures the application of discretionary effort and without passion, your culture is nothing more than a stuffed shirt.

Is your culture connected and driven by passion, or is it merely a bunch of words on posters hung in prominent places around the workplace?