Home > Exclusive Articles, Leadership > Do you have sparkles in your eyes?

Do you have sparkles in your eyes?


sparkle1by Marjon Oosterhout
Passion for Talent

Read Marjon’s bio on the HR Performance Sites website

A few weeks ago I attended a fantastic performance by an amateur symphonic orchestra.

Later I learned they practice a whole year for this one event .

They don’t get any monetary reward for this, on the contrary they have to pay for their own instruments.

I asked a friend, who also plays in an amateur orchestra, what drives people to make such an extraordinary effort?  His response: “pride in their orchestra and passion for the music”.

The question that came to my mind is do we understand what drives our people in the workplace?

My belief is that also at work people want to be proud of their team and organization and they prefer to do something they have a passion for.

I’m not suggesting people will work without a fair remuneration, but I belief the impact of financial rewards is overestimated. In many corporate settings I have been part of discussions around resourcing challenges and most of the time the money aspect was thrown in as the first resolution.

I haven’t been part of too many conversations where appealing to pride and passion were discussed.

In addition there is research that shows that employee’s affiliation, emotional connection and pride with the organizations they work for are eroding.

In a time where people are a scarce asset that feels  like a dangerous trend.

What would it take to bring back the pride and passion for the organization and to tap into the energy and commitment people are putting into activities like the orchestra? I don’t have the answer, but I know when people have “it”;  these people have sparkles in their eyes when they talk about work.

I recently coached a young executive, Bert. He wanted help in making a career decision.

As he talked about one job option he used rational arguments and explained the positive impact this role would have on his future career. When he spoke about the second option, he started by saying that role wouldn’t  give his career an equal boost and his current manager had advised against it.  He continued to explain what the second role was about and I noticed the energy and sparkles.  I reflected this back to him. He smiled and said “I think deep in my heart I know what I should go for”.

I’m curious what decision Bert will make about his next role and career. I just hope the organization will recognize what drives him and respect his choice.

Particularly in our current context,  where so much discussion is taking place about greed of certain people at the top and  the extraordinary high remuneration packages I would like to see the discussion about passion taking over.

Are you aware of what drives the pride and passion of your people? Is your organization open to ambitions and aspirations that are different from the “norm”?  Do you recognize the sparkle in people’s eyes or the lack thereof?

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