Saturday, November 28, 2009

Passion Wins

I've been a management consultant, run companies for nearly two decades, and worshiped at the altar of competitive advantage. But I might boil a lot advice down to:

Strategy and execution are absolutely essential.
But passion wins.

Passion wins because it's the foundation upon which all other pillars are built.

Passion ignites plans.
Passion drives action.
Passion pursues.
Passion perseveres.
Passion overcomes.
Passion wins.

Twenty years of learning and much of it distilled into two words.

In the last four years, we've completed more than 100 acquisitions. I recently spoke about the six common characteristics that these successful internet businesses share and indicated that the transformational ingredient for each business is passion. Each of these entrepreneurs won their spaces by applying more passion to their businesses than their competitors.

Passion does not substitute for other key ingredients, such as a clear strategic focus or a differentiated offering. But passion is what makes it happen.

I highly recommend a recent fabulous piece by John Hagel about passion in business.

John raises the issue about how to create or maintain passion in larger corporate settings. I think it starts at the top. Leaders must be risk-taking, idea-pushing, energy-enhancing, passion-propogating believers in the cause-- not just process leaders. If that sounds like a fine line between insanity and success, such is the nature of passion.

The key is to balance passion with process; see my post: how passion wins.


  1. I used to work on a company where passions definetly was one of the main ingredients on any level. I still remember the words of my boss where he said that the only reason for the company to stay alive was the people from there. Right now i'm trying to implement the same philosophy at my new place of work, we do things with the available resources mainly cause we want the product to work, in other words we believe in the product and we believe in the enhancement.

  2. Where does "unique tech" figure into the mix?

  3. Technology uniqueness is one of the best kinds. But to stay unique requires continous innovation.

  4. I love it. Passion breeds ingenuity--a desire to make it better--and resourcefulness--a desire to get the job done, however we can. I know when I'm no longer passionate about what I'm doing, it's time to either shake things up or move on. My passion feeds me as well as my employer and my customers. It's truly infectious. I know of certain companies that only allow people to stay in one position for 2-3 years (I know one that makes them change departments every 4-5 years).