Posts Tagged ‘passion’

Dynamic Loop Of Demise

March 25, 2012 1 comment

Uh Oh! Is Google going down the turd hole? First, in “Why I Left Google“, newly minted Microsoft employee James Whittaker says: last three months working for Google was a whirlwind of desperation, trying in vain to get my passion back. The Google I was passionate about was a technology company that empowered its employees to innovate. In such an environment you don’t have to be part of some executive’s inner circle to succeed. The Google I left was an advertising company with a single corporate-mandated focus.

Then, in “Google’s Mounting Trash Pile“, Paul Whyte writes:

Google’s engineering culture has been an incredible asset. But the record shows that without some discipline, that asset can subtly but inevitably work against Google in its mission as a titan of Internet search and software.

On the one hand, Mr. Whittaker bailed because he felt the dense fog of bureaucracy and a narrowing focus descending upon the company. On the other hand, the (not unreasonable) pressure to jettison bogus research projects with no revenue stream in sight seems to be draining the passion and engagement  out of the workforce. Can a vicious, self-reinforcing loop be in the making? Increase In Pressure For Profits -> Decrease In Reseach Funding -> Decrease In Employee Passion -> Decrease In Number And Quality Of Products -> Increase In Pressure For Profits.

I don’t think this dynamic loop of demise is one of Peter Senge‘s “Fifth Discipline” archetypes, but maybe it should be.

What Do You Do?

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

While perusing Dan Pink’s FLIP-Manifesto, point number 5 triggered a “WTF?” moment within my being:

Outraged” at Dan’s audacity to attack one of the pillars of my UCB (the burning desire to continually search for personal passion), I navigated directly to the blasphemous pages that rationalize his assertion.

I discovered that Dan is right. In lieu of  wrestling with an “endless self-examination and searching for some inscrutable holy emotional grail“, ask “what do I do?” instead of “what is my passion?“.

What do you think? More importantly, “what do you do“?

Categories: spirituality Tags: , ,

Process, Passion, And Quality

Naive managers (usually those who get drunk on large quantities of 6-sigma, CMMI, ISO-90XX, EVM, and/or PMP kool aid) tend to think of the correlation between process and quality like this:

This cause-effect diagram can be read as “more process imposition leads to more quality; less quality leads to more process imposition“. What’s missing in this simplistic diagram? Could it be something that represents the human element?

In the blarticle, “Process kills developer passion, James Turner writes about the human element of “passion“:

…passionate programmers write great code, but process kills passion. Disaffected programmers write poor code, and poor code makes management add more process in an attempt to “make” their programmers write good code. That just makes morale worse, and so on.

If you believe Mr. Turner, then the cause-effect diagram for process and passion is a self-reinforcing loop that may snuff out passion over time:

So, what about the relationship between passion and quality? I think that many would agree that it is thus:

When we integrate the two models above, we get….

Moving from left to right, and then from right to left we read that:

an increase in process triggers a decrease in passion, which triggers a decrease in quality, which triggers a further decrease in passion, which triggers an increase in process imposition. Round and round we go.

If we assume that “passion” is an integral player in the system, but hide it in the above diagram to simulate a common managerial blindspot, the end to end process-quality cause-effect diagram emerges as:

If we compare this derived result to the first naive manager mental model which doesn’t include the messy “passion” element, what’s the difference?

Without Any Sting

January 23, 2011 Leave a comment

Thanks to @stefanstern,  I discovered the MIX. In this blarticle, Moving Past Austerity—Let’s Make 2011 the Year of Honesty, Humanity and Generosity, Polly LaBarre eloquently states what I wish I could, and without any offensive sting:

“zero-sum thinking, profit-obsession, power, conformance, control, hierarchy, and obedience don’t stand a chance against community, interdependence, freedom, flexibility, transparency, meritocracy, and self-determination.”

When you feel isolated and alone with your “abnormal” thoughts about a particular topic, it’s always comforting to discover others with similar opinions. Polly, in specific, and the MIX, in general, fit the bill for me. Now, if I could only learn how to keep immature, offensive language and childish poopie pictures out of my posts, I might soothe the occasional pangs of guilt that course through my being.

The line between constructive passion and destructive obsession is a tenuous one. Do you tread the line, or do you keep yourself warm and cozy and numb, hiding in the womb and not wanting to “get involved“?

A Key Ingredient

As Tony Hsieh states in “Delivering Happiness“,

A key ingredient in strong (business) relationships is to develop emotional connections. – Tony Hsieh

In my fantasy world, I find this extremely ironic because, in “business”, most corpricracies only anoint those who can cleverly camouflage their emotions to exalted and coveted leadership positions. And yet, here is Mr. Chez, the CEO of a profitable billion dollar company in the cutthroat shoe retail industry, “nicely” flipping the finger at mainstream American business and the esteemed B-school advice they rode in on.

It’s funny how “passion”, which can be defined as a “strong emotion“, is demanded of the DICforce, but Spock-like emotional control is required by SCOLs and BOOGLs for ascension to the throne.

We Don’t Want Yours

December 30, 2009 Leave a comment

We want our group to be less conflict averse so that the best ideas can be forged within the crucible of debate and (sometimes) heated dialog. We also want passion from our people. As a matter of fact, we demand it of everyone in our group.


We don’t approve of your over-the-top confrontational style and we don’t approve of the ways that you externalize your passion. Sadly, we don’t have any role models in our management ranks to lead the “conflict aversion reduction and passion elevation” initiative. Thus, we have no clue of how we want our people to initiate confrontation or express passion, but we’ll know it when we see it, of course.


Targeted Ire

October 24, 2009 1 comment

What we need is more people to lose their temper in public. – Watts Wacker

Aargh Matey!

When you’re dissatisified with a stagnant, risk averse, and status-quo-loving bureaucratic group, how do you blow off steam without alienating or intimidating those few people who help you do your job better and those people you are committed to helping do their jobs better? One approach, which doesn’t work but is incredibly hard to abandon , is “targeted ire“.

Targeted Ire

When I perceive smug, fat headed executives and managers (of all types) talking up a storm, sucking more out of the org than they put in, and doing nothing of substance to improve everyone’s performance, it’s hard for me to “act professionally” (lol!) and keep my freakin’ mouth shut. In the back of my tortured mind, I often hear a faint and fearful voice saying “STFU you idiot“. Sadly, I find it incredibly hard, if not impossible, to follow that advice. Besides the ever present “fear of excommunication“, I think the fact that I don’t aspire to become a self-important, meeting-loving, and game-playing corpocrat drives my self-destructive behavior. Bummer……. or not?

“Never apologize for showing feeling. When you do so, you apologize for the truth.” – Benjamin Disraeli

So, how do you express your dissatisfaction with a stationary and fading organization when the world is crying out for movement and emergence? Do you do anything about it? Do you assume that you‘re powerless, ignore your passion, and force yourself to STFU? Do you put on “the mask of political correctness” such that your potentially sacred-cow-busting ideas and thoughts get obscured by all the sugar that you coat them with?  Are you paralyzed by fear? What do you advise?

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