Instilling Passion in the Workplace

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I am going to let you in on a little secret. I didn’t set out to snag a position at MHEDA because it was my "passion." In fact, I had no idea MHEDA or even "the material handling industry" existed when I was first approached about working here at the association. It just wasn’t on my radar. But I am extremely passionate about my job and the service I provide to others, including our members, other colleagues and most importantly, the people with whom I work beside day after day.
Before writing this column, I went online to do a little research about passion and how leaders cultivate it in their workplace. I was dismayed to learn from an article on gallup.com written by Kenneth A. Tucker that 55% of the US population is not engaged at work and, 16% of the US population is actively disengaged. I was dismayed but unfortunately not surprised. It’s all too often you encounter people who are so obviously unhappy with what they do.
Last week, during lunch, I told a co-worker I was running out to one of my least favorite places. She asked, "The dentist?" "No", I replied, "one of my other least favorite places." She then asked "(insert name of cellular phone company here)?" and I said "Yes!" There are certain places we just dread going to because we know it’s going to be a long and frustrating experience dealing with people who don’t want to be there. Side note: my visit to (insert name of cellular phone company here) was refreshingly more positive than it has ever been in the past. I even completed a survey to let them know what a good experience it was and how helpful I found the salesperson to be. There is hope.
In another article from Forbes.com, Maynard Webb writes about how to find passion in your work. The main point in his article is that passion starts from within and it’s up to the individual to find meaning in their work. He says (and I agree) it all starts with a positive attitude. Not long ago I was grocery shopping and during the course of my shopping, I kept hearing one of the checkers over the PA asking for assistance on various items. He was so upbeat and comically dramatic with his approach it made me laugh out loud. I made a point of going to his checkout line and I told him how much I enjoyed hearing his voice. He just smiled and said it makes his day go better and people like it. He is a grocery store clerk – good for him!
Passion: a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something.
Imagine a workplace filled with associates that arrive everyday with enthusiasm, excitement and passion for what they are doing? What ignites passion in your people? Have you asked them?
During the Convention, you will hear all sorts of stories about creating passion in the workplace. You’ll hear from four members during a panel discussion on how being community minded and socially responsible is not only the "right" thing to do, it ignites passion in your people and is ultimately good for business. You will interact with young adults who will soon be graduating from college and are enthused and excited about what their futures hold. They have passion! Let’s help them flourish. You’ll hear from two keynote speakers about how purpose and passion have changed their lives and changed the lives of others.
I learned early on in my career at MHEDA that the members I have the privilege of serving are incredibly passionate about their organizations and the service they are providing to their customers and the opportunities they are providing to their people. That passion has been contagious and for myself and my co-workers, we are eternally grateful for your passion and the motivation it gives us to deliver the best services and programming we can possibly provide.
We hope to see you at the convention as we welcome record crowds to the Washington DC area, April 30 – May 4 and celebrate Passion with Purpose!