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Passion and Talent

Passion Passion is infectious; we are drawn to people who are passionate about topics and goals. We share their excitement and feel the rush, it is authentic and attractive. You cannot really fake passion, it is the raw unfiltered outflow that makes it recognizable as genuine.

I have been entertained by friends who are passionate about chess, dance and bird watching even though I have little interest in these topics. Yet when brought alive by genuine enthusiasm it is interesting. I have been talked into crazy adventures by people buzzing with excitement. I have invested in companies, enthralled by the passion for a vision described by their founders. I am not alone, it is a fundamental human urge.

Passion for a cause is powerful and while we cannot manufacture it, we can learn to channel our own genuine passion to help on projects. By opening up on what you are passionate about we can bring enthusiasm into any endeavor. Yet, we should be aware that passion is independent from talent.

Talent, the measure of proficiency, often accompanies experts who love their craft. They are focused, passionate and accomplished at their art; think of the great musicians and painters, they have passion and talent.

I have a passion, but not much of a talent for mountain biking, this is not the best combination. I love to ride, but crash more than most and as I’m getting older take longer to heal than before. I need to develop my biking skills, yet while still keen and willing to get out I have plenty of opportunities to learn and improve (or get into more trouble.)

The good news in the work environment is that a little passion about a cause goes a long way. The idea of leaders having to be charismatic rock-stars to get people to follow them is a myth. Research by Jim Collins in “Good to Great” proved this repeatedly; the Level 5 Leaders, of the “Great” companies were more often described as “quiet” and “considered” than “flamboyant” or “outspoken”. There just needs to be the occasional sparks of unprocessed joy for a goal to keep people engaged and looking for that next glimpse of passion.


caroline esterson

This article 'found me' at a time I'm investigating talent. I love passion, it rocks. I also understand what Jim Collins means. Passion is disruptive, without focus and dare I say it a system, it can cause anxiety, frustation and change for changes sake. Any thriving organisation needs a combination - the passion to disrupt and progress, the challenge to focus thinking and the systems to make it happen - this I reckon is a winning formula. However, talent also needs to be unearthed. The blog above talks about people who love their craft .. I think we also need to find the love within the craft for the many seemingly routine jobs that people do.... even in the most mundane jobs there is the opporutnity to contribute. In many organisations many hundreds of people have latent talent that is simply waiting for the right set of conditions to be prepared to uncover it. For talent to be unearthed what additional factors come into play to support the above?...a sense of purpose perhaps...the opporutnity to contribute...belief that what they do matters to others... the ability to develop. Talent should not be the remit of one person's KPIs, it needs to matter to every leader within the organisation - leadership is about growth of the business and people - let's get focused and unleash the talent!

Vishal Tulsian

We have all heard the advice that if you find your passion then you never have to work. Finding passion is easier said than done, but is worth the search. Methods range from reflecting back on your school days to listening to your heart. However, various loose definitions of passion have resulted in many people mistaking their extra-curricular activities or past time hobbies as their passion, thereby not striving to find their real passion which necessarily requires sacrifices and willingness to take risks.

Mike Griffiths

Hi Caroline,

Thanks for your comment, I agree that we need to seek and promote talent too. This can be a long journey, and some passion for a cause can really help fuel us along.

Best regards

Mike Griffiths

Hi Vishal,
Thanks for your post, I was not really talking about life-purpose, which often does require sacrifice and risk, but instead the common dictionary definition of Passion: “Any powerful or compelling emotion or feeling...”. We need to find ways to help people pursue long projects that are often mundane or met with resistance, passion for cause really helps motivate people. Quite separate (for me) is life-purpose the true goal we are aiming for in our lives. This, I agree is a bigger journey with different parameters.

Thanks for reading

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