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Exploring 8 Rules for Creating Passionate Corporate Cultures (Round Three)

We have been exploring the concept of creating and sustaining passion within a corporate culture, using an article by Paul Alofs as a starting point. Previously (here and here), we examined Mr. Alofs’ first four elements of a “passion culture.” Now we move on to address points five and six.

Point 5: Be Ambitious

Each organization must have a mission that is reasonably attainable in the eyes of the employees.  Reasonable goals, however, still must be worthy of all the time and energy you and your employees are going to expend achieving them. If they think goals are achievable and worth achieving (a balance that is easier to strike if you involve the employees in goal development!), they will work hard.

“Ambition is sometimes seen as a negative these days, but without it we would stagnate,” writes Mr. Alofs. “You need a culture that supports big steps and powerful beliefs.”

We agree with powerful beliefs. Our only caveat is that you must ground beliefs in reality, make them reflective of your marketplace’s truths. Employees are pretty smart, and they are usually closer to the marketplace than senior executives, so they can spot poorly thought-out goals quickly. Conversely your employees can help shape appropriate corporate ambitions by helping winkle out the truth you need to know to create inspiring yet achievable goals.

Point 6: Celebrate differences

Mr. Alofs is spot-on with this one:

“Great cultures are built on a diversity of background, experience, and interests. These differences generate energy, which is critical to any enterprise.”

As part of our work with clients, we usually run behavioral and value assessments before each development session, and one reason why is that we share the group’s behavioral and values profiles with the session participants, to get them to realize how valuable each behavior and value system is in maximizing team productivity. We help them discover the utility of having all skill sets and values represented on a team. They see pretty quickly how a team of ‘dominant’ behavioral types with ‘theoretical’ value systems, for instance, would miss the creative impulses of a ‘high aesthetic’ who could channel the energy of the ‘high D’s’ in interesting new directions that would not occur to hard-chargers who simply “want the task done!”

Corporate diversity must be redefined as a concept that encompasses talent and mindset as well as background and skin color!

In previous posts we had differences of opinion with Paul Alofs’ Passion Culture thesis, but points five and six are solid!

What do you this about these two points? Or more generally, do you see value in focusing energy on creating a more passionate organizational culture, or is this recommendation more trouble than it is worth? Let us know in the comments section.

We will focus on Mr. Alofs’ last two points in a final post, coming in a few days.


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