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Article – Empowering Autonomy In The Workplace
July 21, 2014
Article – Change In turbulent Times
May 29, 2014

TTM associates Article

David Harman
David Harman, Senior Associate & Management Consultant, specialises in ‘people development’. His work has involved creating, designing and facilitating an international range of sales, management, leadership, team and employee engagement programmes.

In Jon Gordon’s book called Soup (2010), Nancy the CEO of Soup Inc, writes a memo about passion to share with all her employees. Here’s what she wrote:

“If we as a company are going to feel greatness and build a world-class company, then we need to infuse passion into our “soup” and into each other. This means that we must be a company that is filled with passionate people! In the past, you could be lukewarm and mediocre and still be successful. Not Anymore!“

Bearing in mind the above statement, it is fair to say that nowadays, individuals should be sharing a greater passion and purpose than the challenges they face. This may be the case because in today’s chaotic/competitive business environment, hindrances and difficulties are a constant challenge that individuals must face. Tackling these challenges without passion would not be to anyone’s advantage, don’t you think?

However, it is also fair to argue that not everyone can be constantly passionate regarding the daily responsibilities associated with their job. Nonetheless, it is important to note that in such cases, individuals should be focusing on the one aspect of their job that they feel most passionate about in order for them to be able to perform as well as possible and therefore create and become the actual difference that the organization wants them to be.

Mahatma Gandhi once said: “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
In order for employees to be that change and as a result, offer the value they are recruited to offer to the organization, passionate behaviour is one of the most important aspects a person should develop, maintain and apply at their workplace.

If one considers people who are constantly achieving their goals, one realises that it is not the actual results of the individuals’ actions that make them different in the business world, it is actually their commitment to this process as they “fall in love” with their daily practices rather than the action itself.

According to James Clear (2013), in order for you to become significantly better at anything, you have to fall in love with the process of doing it and build the identity of someone who does the work with passion, rather than merely dreaming about the results that you want.

This is because skills are not the only aspect that people should care about developing for themselves. It is important to focus on the actual behaviours that can support creation of the particular skill with passion. This should be the case if one is able to demonstrate passionate behaviours by valuing important elements such as diversity, customers’ expectations, understanding what motivates and inspires your and others as well as caring for and harmonizing with others. This will enhance individuals in achieving high performance goals and as a result will create a difference for the organization throughout a “passionate workforce”.

And remember as George Willhelm Friedrick Hegal once said: “Nothing great in the world has ever been accomplished without passion!”

Working with many multinational corporations in the Middle East, we managed to define the passionate skills and behaviours.

TTM associates’ Golden Behaviours to create a Passionate work Environment

1. Appreciate, embrace and celebrate diversity
Great cultures are built on a diversity of background, experience, and interests. These differences generate energy, which is critical to any enterprise.

2. Communicate with passion
Fertile culture is one that recognizes when things don’t work and adjusts to rectify the problem. Additionally, people need to feel safe and empowered to speak freely without fear of repercussion.
The art of communication tends to put the stress on talking, but listening is equally important. Great cultures grow around people who listen, not just to each other or to their clients and stakeholders. It’s also important to listen to what’s happening outside your walls. What is the market saying? What is the zeitgeist? What developments, trends, and calamities are going on? So, asking the right question is a key

3. Use positive energy in voice, words and body language
People want to be around those who make them feel better about themselves. Employees with positive attitudes tend to be more productive employees because they always see the opportunity associated with every challenge. Things are seldom as bad as you think they are: research shows that only eight percent of the things we worry about are worth being concerned about.

4. Encourage, support and help
Employees find interaction and communication with and attention from senior and executive managers to be motivational. In a recent study by Towers Watson, the Global Workforce Study, which included nearly 90,000 workers from 18 countries, it was found that the role of senior managers in generating employee discretionary effort exceeded that of immediate supervisors. So by coaching, delegating and motivating, one can create a passionate workplace.

5. Inspire and motivate
We know that stacking any worker’s plate too high with unexpected challenges can hinder that person’s motivation and performance. Yet allowing employees to get too comfortable can work to their detriment as well.
Both DeLuca and Besmertnik challenge their workers to innovate and excel beyond their potential as a way to keep things spry in the workplace. Motivation doesn’t have to take the form of a cash incentive, either. “Having some sense of autonomy is one of the things that drives employee satisfaction,” Besmertnik says. “There’s nothing more motivating than having success at what you are doing, that feeling of accomplishment and being pushed in a healthy kind of way.”

6. Create Trust Culture
Many experts agree that trust is perhaps the most important element of a harmonious, synergistic and efficient work environment. Organizations that have trust among employees are usually successful; those that don’t, frequently are not.
So, management often asks, “How can we build trust in the workforce, and how can we avoid losing it?” Well, it all starts at the very top, since trustfulness – and trustworthiness – can exist only if top management sets the example, and then builds that example into every department and unit.
Trust building is relationship building. If you don’t build trust, you don’t build relationships. No trust–no relationship; limited trust–limited relationship; strong trust–strong relationship.
Philosopher Onora O’Neill in a TED talk entitled “What We Don’t Understand About Trust” crystallized it when she said, “You can’t rebuild what other people give to you. But, you can provide useable evidence that you are worthy of their trust.”


  • “What We Don’t Understand About Trust”, Onora O’Neill at TED [Link]
  • “SOUP”, Jon Gordon, 2010 [Link]
  • “Towers Watson 2012 Global Workforce Study”, 2012 [Link]
  • “How to Stay Focused When You Get Bored Working Toward Your Goals”, James Clear [Link]
Read more about Behavioural Leadership and Passion and about how TTM associates is developing passionate behaviours in clients’ teams and individuals.