If your company is a broad based business, like a retail store. You can’t be ‘passionate’ about batteries unless that’s all you sell. But you can, and should, be passionate about service. You and everyone at your business should be passionate about the appearance of the store. Those are givens. Passion isn’t the word. Caring might be better. I sometimes am annoyed with too much passion when I’m trying to find something in a 200 acre discount store. I don’t want a personal escort, chattering all the way, on a 6 mile trek to aisle 96 to locate my size of briefs.
That’s passion but I don’t want passion when I buy underwear.
But if your business is a specialty business. If you are in a single line—art supplies, carpet, gardening, paint, model trains, telescopes, furniture—then every person at your business needs to be passionate about what your business sells. Every person. Yes, even Maud who sits in the back, never seen by anyone who quietly keeps the books. Everyone. No exceptions.
You don’t think that matters? It matters.
Your business needs to ooze passion for gardening by everyone who works there. Everyone.
I often work with companies, large companies, where some members of senior level management are not familiar with what the company’s products do!
Here’s the real kicker.
I have never been to a company that was wildly successful where some of the talent didn’t really care about the product. Sure, they cared about their work. They did a good job. But they didn’t care about the product. Why should they? They work in accounting or shipping or HR. Ooooops. Did I say HR?
First, HR is dead. From now on it’s TALENT. Second, do you think it’s smart to have your people in talent not care, not be passionate, about your product? Do you want the talent manager of your camera store to not really be interested in photography? They are your new employees first contact and will probably handle the training of new talent. Do you really think it doesn’t matter if they care or not about your product line?
If you sell telescopes and the guy in shipping doesn’t care about telescopes, will he pack them with the care a delicate instrument deserves or will he just get the job done?
I’d guess about 80% who read this post will dismiss or diminish the seriousness of the point I’m making.
If you dismiss this as not that big of a deal, consider what I said earlier. I’ve never seen a very successful company violate the “everyone in the organization has a passion for our product” rule. Never.
I’ve seen companies branch into new areas, new product lines while some of the employees don’t like the new line. Those companies struggle for years and generally, in time, fail at the new venture.
Yes, Steve, this matters.