If you’ve been keeping up with this series, you know how important it is to have an aligned culture that supports your organization’s vision, mission and values, along with strong strategic planning to see sustainable success. And yet there is a key ingredient that ignites these components and without it, your engine will stall: passion. The more passion an organization has, the more fuel it has.

Passion is the combustion of energy, focus and emotion all coming together to power people. Give someone a reason to be passionate, and they will perform with more enthusiasm, thought, personal investment and resilience than you ever imagined possible. Think about it: passion doesn’t allow for mediocrity. It doesn’t allow you to give up. It doesn’t allow for indifference. It’s a vaccine against it all. And you want that vaccine.

Passion is the fuel of life — not just business. It’s what gives people the ability to take something and stand for it. And like leadership, it is not in just some of us…it is in all of us. It is up to leaders to spark passion and ignite it into positive action.

Here are some tips to ignite passion:

  1. Get people fired up about your vision and their role in bringing it to life. Help them understand the purpose of their work and its impact on helping your business achieve its mission.
  2. Be fanatical about engaging your people and customers. They speak on your behalf and when they speak about the organization with passion, they will be the loudest voice your marketing efforts will ever have.
  3. Learn what inspires your people to perform to their highest potential. Different generations and different personality types require different engagement techniques. Are your rewards and recognition programs igniting their passion?
  4. Make the work fun. Fun is not a committee, and it doesn’t have a Director! Fun gets everyone participating in what you are trying to achieve. Make your next project more fun, through competition, a special challenge or teamwork. People having fun have more energy, which triggers enthusiasm. Enthusiasm and pride ignite passion.
  5. Light the fire within your people, not beneath them. A strong leader doesn’t stand on the sideline barking orders. You must inspire people to play full out through careful preparation, coaching and example.

The Lesson

Culture (vision, mission, values, position and strategy) fueled by passion is highly effective. And yet you cannot teach passion…you can only awaken it. As a leader, you must demonstrate and inspire passion if you truly want to inspire it in others. To have passion, you must feel it. To lead with passion, you must choose to live with passion.