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16 Aug 2010

Passion For The Job And Creativity – 2 Case Studies

I had two opportunities to get feedback on the link between passion for the job and creativity. The director of a very successful organic farm was one. The owner of a Thai restaurant was the other. In both cases, they stressed people who had a passion for their work.

Organic Farming Case Study

In the director’s case, he felt talent followed passion. He found that passion could bring talent to the surface. In other words, an untrained but passionate employee would do better in the long run than a more talented but dispassionate one.

Thus, he looked at his job as one of fostering that passion. Yes, this meant encouragement and appreciation for employee’s work. It also meant work. That came in the form of follow up, of being there to seize teachable moments.

Thai Restaurant Case Study

In the restaurant owner’s case, he claimed there were two types of chefs. There were those who love the food that they cook. Then, there were those who cook because it’s a job.

There was no comparison in his mind. To him, attention to detail is critical. It affects taste. A small bit of spice or seasoning, too much or too little, can alter taste greatly. Yes, he agreed that some people are just more conscientious than others. Still, he found that even here their attention faltered if passion for the job did not exist.

Impact Of Passion For The Job On Creativity

This might not seem new or surprising. What might be is the impact of passion for the job on creativity. For this, I once had the honor to co-facilitate with J. Michael Fox of the International Center for Studies in Creativity a discussion on creativity. They found that motivation is the single most important factor that shot creativity off the charts.

In other words, when motivated people’s success in thinking and acting differently was virtually limitless. Motivation beat all other factors. That included intelligence, education, experience, aptitude and skill set.

Of course, creativity yields solid job benefits. People solve problems better. They make better decisions. They learn better. All can make the lesser experienced, passionate candidate better than a well-experienced dispassionate one. In short, training costs are likely to be less than first thought.

These days companies spend much trying to asses candidates’ experience, skills and personality. How do they assess passion though? In a competitive market, perhaps the simplest and best path is to hire the one with the most passion for the job.

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