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The Smart Techie was renamed Siliconindia India Edition starting Feb 2012 to continue the nearly two decade track record of excellence of our US edition.

January - 2012 - issue > People Manager

Passion Plan for Leaders!

C Mahalingam (Mali)
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
C Mahalingam (Mali)
In this very first issue for the New Year 2012, I would like to touch upon a very dear subject in the domain of managing our people. This has got to do with harnessing the passion for what they do at work. Most published literature on managing talent is excessively focused on how to harness the intellect people bring to work as if that is all is needed to deliver the best value to our organizations and our customers. The reality is that the talent equation is larger than just the intellect. I would actually suggest that the equation be understood as Talent = Intellect x Passion. It is not intellect plus passion, but actually intellect times passion. And this implies that when passion is absent, the intellect is of little use. Addressing a team of 100 plus leaders working for a Bangalore-based subsidiary of an MNC, I asked a question: where do they think they are on a 1 to 10 scale to measure their emotional-connect with their people. And as expected, the leaders came out honest saying it is no more than a 5 or 6 out of 10. And for the same question on their rational-connect, the response was again on the expected lines – a score of 7 or 8 out of a high of 10.

Rational-connect & Emotional-connect:

This is not surprising at all, for most of us as managers have been schooled into relating rationally with other people. And this is absolutely critical and all the more in organizations. However, the power of emotions and more specifically the power of passion is often underestimated my most of us. Emotional-connect can lift the performance of our people to distinctly higher levels of productivity, team work and customer delight. And people will also see meaning in what they do. Emotional connect is a strength rather than a weakness as many managers often tend to think. Gary Hamel, speaking on the need for management innovation has this to say in his book, “The Future of Management”: “management innovation changes the way managers do what they do, and does so in a way that enhances organizational performance.” He also goes on to summarize, “ if you want to capture the economic high ground in the creative economy, you need employees who are more than acquiescent, attentive, and astute – they must also be zestful, zany and zealous.” And it is my view that employees do not turn out to be zestful, zany and zealous unless we as managers learn to harness the passion of our people. In reality what happens is this! Our employees do carry the whole package to workplace – their intellect and passion.” But what happens as they reach our parking lot is worth watching. As they park their scooters and cars, something sad happens… many of them perhaps also park their passion along and come in! Let us not forget that today’s workforce expect nothing short of meaning, purpose and autonomy at work. And when they do not experience any of this, their passion flags out and parks out. And without passion coming into the cubicles, what we do get is a good work that they can deliver without feeling guilty.

Hierarchy of Human capabilities:

Human capabilities can be recognized in an easy framework as below:


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