Digging back into earlier posts and inspiring comments, I wrote the following for this week’s MediaPost Spin…
Why Passion Matters
In a hyper-competitive market, competence is expected and only flawless execution is tolerable. But that’s no longer enough. Today, the ultimate competitive advantage is passion.
When passion lets loose, you drive focus, cultivate mastery, leverage spontaneity, foster creativity, build intuition and live toward mission. The dots connect. Clarity emerges. Your own bar of excellence sets higher, and you become infatuated with exceeding it.
The result is accelerated and extended value creation that otherwise would never have been possible.
Think of the places in your business where the presence of passion really matters – making you stand out beyond the rest, or sink into mediocrity. It’s about approaching things with the utmost thought and care, versus doing anything less.
In my experience, there are a few places in business especially sensitive to passion:
- Listening and understanding your customers and the market.
- Innovating based on your market insight and intuition.
- Building your product with quality and speed.
- Ensuring the highest aesthetic and usability.
- Refining your product over and over and over again, until it’s better and better and better.
- Paying attention to all the details and signals that comprise the experience.
- Inspiring your employees, customers, investors and other stakeholders.
- Engaging and collaborating with customers.
- Fixing things quickly when they go wrong – and then making them far better.
- Using your product yourself and recommending it to friends because you truly believe it’s the best.
Businesses with passion tend to excel in these areas, while businesses that don’t tend to just get by or break. I know – this is all obvious. But the irony is that most businesses and brands I encounter come up short.
It’s probably because passion is not something that can be bought, outsourced or faked. Rather, the presence of passion has more to do with an authentic and fierce desire for your product to really change the game. Of course, it also has a huge amount to do with the CEO and leadership. It has to do with hiring and grooming an employee base that is culturally aligned and motivated with a real stake in the outcome. Same for investors, advisors, customers and partners.
Who’s doing it right? We can all name some of the mega-brands that veer toward passion, like Apple, Google and JetBlue. But passion is equally important in smaller businesses, and perhaps more attainable and prevalent. In my life, some examples include instant-messaging aggregator Meebo and microblog platform Twitter. On a micro scale, there’s my barber Alberto at Astor Hair, the many local farmers at New York’s Green Markets, the Little Mexican CafÃ© near my home and, of course, my son’s nanny, Aliana.
Does your business and product embody passion? If not, it’s probably at risk of being displaced by one that does.
You're right. A lot of business people think that passion comes second. Demand and profits must come first. But in reality, passion is the most profitable thing on earth. If you have a passion for something, no matter what happens, you can make a business grow. You can also address your customer concerns better.
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