“Passion does not trigger commitment. Commitment triggers passion.”
Those words by Roy H Williams recently caught my attention. I have found myself thinking about them periodically ever since and asking myself whether or not I agree with them. You see they seem so counter-intuitive.
As a result I have been mulling over them even though I hate the word passion. After all my dictionary defines passion as “strong and barely controllable emotion ... an intense enthusiasm for something.” This is not really something you want to see in the workplace – especially when you factor in its further meaning of “an outburst of anger”!
Yet I am sure, like me, you want to see enthusiasm and energy in the workplace. For me, employee engagement is synonymous with enthusiasm. And that is why Williams' words have haunted me. If you replace “passion” with “enthusiasm” the sequence suddenly becomes more important, doesn’t it? You need to know that you are going about things the right way.
The good news, though, is that it actually makes your life easier and not more difficult. There are two reasons for this.
- Your people are already committed when they become an employee. After all nobody wants to do a bad job. So you have the commitment already, and so you only need to focus on the enthusiasm bit. And of course you are already trying to do that through your inspirational leadership and employee engagement initiatives. Well, you are, aren’t you?
- The process is actually a virtuous cycle. Thus the commitment triggers greater enthusiasm, which in turn triggers greater commitment.
Of course this latter point means the sequence is actually academic. It just makes it more important you ensure that you don’t do anything to undermine your employees' commitment. Because if you do, you turn the virtual cycle into a downward spiral of disengagement, disillusion and despair.
So, if you didn’t understand it fully before, now you know why employee engagement is such a hot issue and your most important priority as a manager and business leader. So what are you doing to retain and sustain your employee commitment that engenders it?