Score yourself on each question on a 1 to 5 scale in which:
1 = never/almost never
2 = seldom
3 = sometimes
4 = often
5 = almost always/always
- I know the one thing that I am most passionate about doing and am engaged with it.
- Others comment on how happy and/or passionate I am about my work.
- I am absolutely clear on what I’m passionate about.
- My decisions are based on my passions.
- My goals are aligned with my passions.
- My days are filled doing what I love with people I love.
In his book “Great by Choice”, author Jim Collins says that fanatical discipline is a characteristic of those companies and their leaders that are Great by Choice.
Discipline can mean different things to different people. What Collins and his team found in the best-performing leaders in their study was a discipline that involved consistency of action — consistency with values, long-term goals, and performance standards; consistency of method; and consistency over time.
This consistency, this discipline, involved rejecting conventional wisdom, hype, and the madness of crowds — essentially being a nonconformist.
For example one of his fanatically disciplined leaders, John Brown, former former president, CEO and chairman of Stryker Corp., which makes medical equipment and software. Stryker had the long-term goal of 20% annual net income growth, every year and Brown achieved this growth in more than 90% the 21 years he had this goal.
Having unrelenting passion makes self-discipline and fanatical organizational discipline so much easier. Discipline is easy when working with passion. This is crucial not only for yourself, but also for those with whom you form partnerships, either personally or professionally.
Wayne Alexander, Director of Catering at highly successful Einstein Bros. Bagels, Noah’s Bagels and Manhattan Bagels, seconds this idea when he discusses the qualities essential to a successful partnership. When Einstein Brothers moved into the franchise business, those buying into those franchises had a variety of needs to ensure their success. Alexander partnered with MonkeyMedia Software, a provider of complete catering solutions for multi-unit restaurant operator.
Mo Asgari, former COO and Director of Technology and President of MonkeyMedia Software, has been recognized for recent growth and solidification of the company and was considered the gold standard in catering solutions for the multi-unit environment. These accomplishments are attributed to the hard work of Mo Asgari and Erle Dardick, CEO.
Naturally, this partnership with Alexander provided an enormous advantage because Earl and Mo have “the ability to…face challenges with a resilience and a passion to solve some for some of those needs.”
Since the publication of “What Happy Companies Know,” which I wrote with Collings Hemmingway and Dan Baker, we have found one of the distinguishing traits of high-performance organizations is an obsessive focus on both the what and how of what you and or organization is passionate about.
- The what in business is: what is the one thing you are known for? What product or service differentiates the company from others in its market?
- The how in organizations is creating a high-performance culture. A high-performance culture is a requisite for the one thing to be sustainable.
So what’s your one thing that you choose to be a highly passionate performer at? Will you limit yourself from becoming a high performer, or will you identify and pursue your one thing focused on your passion?
If you choose to pursue your one thing, consider asking those around you to remind you to stay focused on it.
For questions about this post or for information on becoming a fearless leader, contact Dr. Cathy Greenberg and The Fearless Leader Group at (888) 320-1299 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.