Picture two companies, equal in every way but one. One company takes a "business as usual" approach with their employees, while the other does its best to tap into its employees' passions. Which one has the edge?
I have long held that passion isn't just a nice warm fuzzy idea - it makes good business sense. An article called Why Passion Pays in Fortune Small Business last year backs that up, drawing information from the book Follow This Path: How the World's Greatest Organizations Drive Growth by Unleashing Human Potential (co-authored by a senior scientist at Gallup).
The article says:
If your company is anything like the 300,000 businesses in Gallup's worldwide database, between 50 and 60 of your people are not doing their best work, probably because you haven't found a way to get them excited about your goals or to make them feel that their own needs and contributions are important. On top of that you have 15 to 20 employees who are what Gallup would call "actively disengaged." They're just showing up (or, frequently, not) and going through the motions, and they might quit at any moment. So in all, 75% to 80% of your people are achieving much less and feeling far less enthusiastic about their work than they could be.
Bummer! But so what?
Let's go back to the company that takes the passion approach. When you love what you do, you are de facto engaged in it. Remember what I said about good business sense? Here are some numbers to back that up, again from Gallup:
If all 100 of your employees were "fully engaged," meaning playing at the top of their game and happy about it, your customers would be 70% more loyal, your turnover would drop by 70%, and your profits would jump 40%.
Zowie! With numbers like that, it doesn't make a whole lot of sense to leave passion out of the picture.