I loved it when Tony Schwartz and Jim Loehr taught me that it’s Energy Management, not Time Management that really matters. Like that insight, authors Teresa Amabile and Steve Kramer teach us that the organizations that are seeking to hire the best talent and then manage that talent for retention and productivity might be missing the secret sauce that really matters: passion! They wrote a blog post on HBR that expands on the idea called: Talent, Passion, and the Creativity Maze in which they give three guidelines:
First, hire for passion as much as for talent. If you don’t look for passion in the people you hire, you could end up with employees who never engage deeply enough to dazzle you with their creative productivity. As Conant advises, get to know potential hires for important positions as thoroughly as possible, long before you might have an opening for them. When you talk to them, ask why they do what they do, what disappointments they’ve had, what their dream job would be. Look for fire in their eyes as they talk about the work itself, and listen for a deep desire to do something that hasn’t been done before. When you talk to their references, watch for mentions of passion.
Second, nourish that passion. Unfortunately, standard management approaches often (unwittingly) end up dousing passion and killing creativity. But keeping it alive isn’t rocket science. We have found that the single most important thing you can do to fuel intrinsic motivation is to support people’s progress in the work that they are so passionate about. This is the progress principle, and it applies even to the seemingly minor small wins that can lead to great breakthroughs. You can use the progress principle by understanding what progress and setbacks your people are experiencing day by day, getting at the root causes, and doing whatever you can to remove the inhibitors and enhance the catalysts to progress.
Finally, look to yourself. If you don’t have passion for your own work, you’ll end up disappointing both yourself and those who count on you. And you’re unlikely to develop your own best talents. One of us, Steve, is an avid photographer of landscapes. An important mentor, the photographer Craig Tanner, has taught both of us a great deal about the connection between passion and the development of talent. In a brilliant essay on “The Myth of Talent,” Craig says: “Long-term, focused, practice powered by the energy of passion [...] leads to amazing transformations. The bumbling beginner becomes the exalted expert. The trapped and depressed become the liberated and empowered.”
The full article is here: http://blogs.hbr.org/hbsfaculty/2012/02/talent-passion-and-the-creativ.html