The Passion-Profit Connection: Why passion in the workplace is money in the bank

Have you ever noticed that some businesses (and people) make you feel good simply by virtue of coming into contact with them?

Well, I have. There’s a little coffee shop around the corner that I adore. The owner is a guy named Pat. He remeart-heart-caffeine-coffeembers my name, and looks me (and everyone I am with) in the eye when we come through the door. He is always happy to see us. The pictures on the walls have been carefully selected to create an ambiance that is both relaxing and upbeat. The lattes are created by someone who treats his job as his art and presents his creations with pride. The food is delectable. And we inevitably leave happier than we were when we came in.

My all time favorite sandwich shop is run by a married couple who stop to talk to us when we are there. Every once in a while, one of the owners will get a sly grin and give us drinks at no charge. “Today is Diane day,” he will say, slyly grinning as he hands me my cup. They hire people who make us feel special too. They ask about our kids. They crack jokes that make us giggle. We go there every weekend, often because there is no place else we’d rather have lunch. (The sandwiches are killer too.) And there is usually a line that goes all the way out the door, who come for the same reasons.

Should I stay or should I go?

When I walk into some stores and even offices, I feel good as soon as I step into the building. In others, I can’t wait to leave. It is not necessarily a matter of the displays, the furniture, or even the merchandise as it is the energy that is created by the people who are involved in some way with the experience people have while they are there. They infuse passion into their work. They make it a point to truly connect with people. And they bring who they really are to what they do.

We are discerning consumers.

People are beginning to recognize that there is a difference when products and services are derived from passionate people who care deeply about what they do and the impact it makes. Those who are going through the motions to make a buck will find that their customer bases are dwindling as we continue to realize that we can have better experiences somewhere else.

Enthusiasm begets enthusiasm.

When products and services make people feel good, it is often because the people involved in creating and administering them feel good when they do their work. Their work has become more than a means to an end. It is an experience that they have learned to show up and be present for. And they have found a way to make it meaningful not only for themselves, but for every person they come into contact with.

They have taken the notion that work isn’t supposed to be fun and turned it on its head. They’ve found a way to bust out of a paradigm that had them passing the time until the work day was over and living only for the weekends (or maybe they never bought into it at all.) And they may have suffered a mishap or two – the promotion they were hoping for went to someone else, the proposal they toiled on for hours ended up in someone’s trash can, the big sale slipped through their fingers. But they picked themselves up and focused on what they could do from that point forward.

These are the people that create the places, the products and the services I want to be a part of. They are bright eyed and big hearted. They care about others – and themselves too. They are courageous and also vulnerable. They’ve decided to stop playing small and when someone tells them it can’t be done, they do it anyway. They make the world brighter one moment at a time. These people have taken off the masks that keep people from seeing who they really are. No pretense, hype or facades.

And they attract the best and the brightest talent.

It’s is as true in big business as it is corner coffee shops. The movers and the shakers – those who become customer magnets, strategic influencers, and high performing superstars gravitate to workplaces that match their passion and vitality.

These businesses – and the people who work for them – have got it going on. I will gladly pay a premium to experience their energy, enthusiasm and passion. And judging from the masses who eagerly line up at their doors, I am not the only one.

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