To understand the difference between a struggling business and a really successful one let’s look at two completely different situations:
1. Fred Smith is a business owner, and his apprentice mows his lawns at home.
2. Mike Jones, is a business owner, and his apprentice mows his lawns at home.
1. Fred is a frantically busy person. He fluffs around at work chatting to his mates , customers, and suppliers. His highest priority for the day is to buy a new engine for his boat. His staff resent Fred’s toys, it’s money that may have been used to purchase new equipment that would help their work.
Fred is unmotivated and the staff know it, their attitude is “well if he can’t be bothered why should we.” So Fred yells at his staff a lot and they do enough to stay out of serious trouble. Fred does not take much leave as everything seems to go wrong when he is away, no one wants to take responsibility.
Fred can’t be bothered mowing his lawns, and doesn’t think he should do so when he employees people who are paid good money to do as he tells them. So he tells the apprentice to do it. The apprentice sulks and complains to other members of staff how he is being used and isn’t getting his proper training.
2. Mike is a busy man, he works hard and plays hard. First up in the day he is with his staff making sure they know the work for the day and checking how they plan to carry it out. When people call he is polite, but business like, his time is valuable and so is the time of the caller. He respects that. His staff see someone whose first priority at work is moving the business forward.
Mike’s staff enjoy the journey and want to help him achieve the goals he shares with them. Mike wants to upgrade the motor in his boat, so when he has cleaned up the most important jobs he takes a break and makes some brief calls about this. Like the business calls it’s about achieving the relationship and purpose in a timely manner.
Staff are happy when Mike buys new toys, it’s a sign that things are going well. They are also happy when Mike is away on his frequent holidays as it gives them a chance to prove themselves, and they know he will return with an even stronger vision for the future. Mike is aware of the value of his time, so asks his apprentice if he would like to do something different for the afternoon and mow his lawns, the apprentice jumps at the opportunity to be given some autonomy.
The difference in the two businesses is PASSION, Mike is passionate about his business and will do what is necessary to follow this passion. Think of passion being like love in a relationship, sometimes it’s immediate at first experience, more often it’s something that has to be nurtured and grown. It grows in us and those around us.
Mikes’ staff see him working hard on moving the business forward, they become excited by the journey will willingly work hard too, they want to help, especially if they are given a chance to contribute ideas within what Mike has clearly stated he wishes to achieve.
Passion is the internal drive that gives us pleasure, simply from doing. A keen golfer is passionate about golf, that drive to be just that little bit better occupies their thoughts and actions constantly. I have a friend who is passionate about schools in East Timor, running this project is always on his mind, and every little win is reward in itself. He works hard at his business so it supports his bigger vision.
Passion in a business does not necessarily need to be about the subject of the business, it does need to be relevant to the business. Passion for bikes will drive a bike shop business, IF the owner loves bikes. The same business could also be driven by an owner who is not into bikes, but is passionate about customer service, or has a goal of building an orphanage in Africa. What is important is something to give us the drive to make the business a priority and get on with it with enthusiasm.
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Jim Boyer is a Bendigo Based Business Coach who works with businesses Australia wide. Jim comes from a small business background and has experienced firsthand the topics he writes about. If you think this topic is important to you and want to know more call Jim, he is happy to talk about your situation.