July 23, 2014

If passionate, failure firms resolve

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Don QuixoteThere’s a lot said about the need to invoke people’s passions in the workplace.  I don’t think it happens nearly as often as it should, since for the vast majority, employment is not about passion – it’s about income.  Nonetheless, it’s at least intuitively obvious that having people who don’t just enjoy what they do, but believe in its importance, is a good thing.

Where this might have the greatest benefit is when ideas don’t gain any traction and simply fall apart.  If there is no passion – then failure simply breeds resignation and complacency.  It results in something worse than defeat – the expectation of defeat.  If defeat is expected, then the enthusiasm to try your best simply dissipates.

It is said that success will breed a greater dedication to task.  Maybe, but perhaps that’s not entirely true, or only true for those who are after the material gains success brings.  For those with other aims, however, success isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for effort.

Like Don Quixote tilting at windmills, those with sincere belief will attack problems that are well beyond their ability to resolve.  In this sense, resolve is not a by-product of achieving goals, it is the unintended outcome of abject failure.

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