From Excellence 2.0
What part does passion play in leadership?
I have often wondered what makes people successful. I have studied at length the elements of success. I wanted to know what made people or organizations the best. Being good is not enough. I wanted to know what it is that people and organizations possess that make them the leaders in their chosen endeavors.
A Passion for Leadership
By Roger Noe
Feb 18, 2007 - 8:51:38 AM
I am not interested in getting to the top. I want to do things that make a difference. I don’t want it to be a one time thing or a sometimes thing. I want to make a difference all the time and want to be the best at making a difference. I learned a lot of things in my pursuit of being the best. Here are a few of the lessons I have learned.
FAILURE is inevitable. People spend a great deal of time and energy trying to avoid the inevitable. Everyone fails. The difference is that the truly great ones not only learn from failure, they embrace it. In reality it is only a word, but it carries with it a great deal of pain, frustration and anxiety. The fear of failure has paralyzed so many dreams and so much potential through the years that it has become one of the most dreaded forces on earth. Only those that learn to harness failure and make it work for them can truly achieve great things.
I have learned “Failure is not negative. It is a teacher. It molds, refines, and polishes you so that one day your light will shine for all to see. It isn't the failure you experience that will determine your destiny, but your next step and then the next that will tell the story of your life.”
SELFISHNESS is the root of all failure. I have never met a selfish person that is truly successful. Sure enough, I have met selfish people that have money and material possessions. I have not met a selfish person that has contentment and a lot of friends. I have met many very talented people that could not reach their potential due to selfishness. I have seen very promising businesses fail due to greed.
I have seen families broken and seen children suffer due to the effects of selfishness. I have seen people with a great deal of intelligence squander their talents and dreams for selfish interest and instant pleasures. I have seen parents reject their children for instant gratification. I have seen athletes ruin careers for the pursuit of selfish gains. I have seen children turn against their parents for the lure of selfish pleasures. I have come to believe that there is no good in selfish desires. However, I have learned that we all have them and we all fall victim to these desires many times.
ANGER is an emotion that destroys more people, relationships and businesses than all the illness in the world. People seem to be so angry all the time. It seems as if people walk around with a chip on their shoulders all the time. This is probably a by-product of selfishness. Someone once told me that the emotions of fear, shame, and anger are the driving forces of human behavior.
The more I think and study on that, the more I believe it. I think the ones that learn how to make these emotions work for them are the ones that are successful. Unfortunately, most of us struggle through life falling victim to these emotions and never truly learn how to make them work for us.
BELONGING, ACHIEVEMENT AND RECOGNITION are vital to people. When I look at successful people and organizations I find they have an uncanny ability to make people feel as though they are special. Every successful aspect of society does this on some level. It may sound strange to say that gangs are successful.
However, in my work with juvenile delinquents, I find that this is the biggest draw that gangs have. They can make what the rest of society deems as misfits and failures feel a very strong sense of belonging, achievement and recognition. They do it so well that the rest of society cannot stop the enterprise of gangs. Indeed they have affected our society in many ways. Successful ball teams and businesses do the same. They have a great talent for making people feel as though they belong and have achieved. They are recognized for being someone special.
I have found these things to be true.
I thought that maybe these things mixed in with some education and some hard work would equal the success I yearned for. I found out that this is not enough. I learned this lesson from a man that I looked to as a mentor. My mentors name is BOOKER NOE (no relation). Booker was a good friend of mine. He recently passed away. Booker was the Master Distiller for Jim Beam for 50 years.
During his tenure with the business he built it into the most successful bourbon distillery in the world. I was fascinated with Booker the very first time I met him. He seemed to have a special quality about him. I found out as time went by that everyone that ever met him felt the same way. I had the privilege of sitting with Booker and his wife Annis in their kitchen on several occasions. During these visits Booker and his wife would share drinks of his signature bourbon with me. I always thought that to be a special event. I compared that to being able to sing a song with Elvis. I thought it was great. However, this was never the real treat. The real treat for me was the lessons Booker taught me.
He taught me many lessons in business. I was a sponge for the stories he would tell of how he ran the distillery and the different trials he faced in his career. I loved to hear him talk about making his bourbon, Bookers True Barrel Bourbon. He told stories of how he learned the business from his grandfather, Jim Beam. He told me tidbits of how bourbon is made and aged and all sorts of things about the industry. I would always ask questions. Quite frankly, I think I annoyed him and his wife a great deal. I would ask them over and over what is the most important thing in business. He told me a lot of things. I hung on every word. It turned out to be more of what he showed me than what he told me.
PASSION is defined as having a great deal of emotion or feeling. That is the one thing he always had. He was not the most educated distiller in the business. What he did have more than any others was passion. He had a passion for people and passion for his product. Those two things alone I think made him who he was and allowed him to achieve the great things he did. He was very generous and genuine.
He had a very big heart and helped innumerable people that were less fortunate. He loved his vocation and wanted to give people the very best. He was thankful for those that helped and mentored him. He always treated others with respect, regardless of their social standing. He did everything with great feeling and passion.
I have learned that passion for people and for your product is the most important ingredient for success. I don’t think it can be a passion for success, money or material gain. I believe it has to be a passion for people and your product. I believe that what the heart desires it finds. If it desires selfish gains, it will find selfish rewards. If it seeks anger, it will find angry rewards. If it seeks to help others and provide the best for them, it will find success.
© Copyright 2007 by Excellence 2.0 and respective authors