Recently, a friend announced to me they were leaving their job as the business they were working in had lost its soul. They were clearly deflated. The last remnants of passion had been extinguished by a combination of bureaucracy, weak leadership and uninspiring vision. Their statement had impact, making me question “what is a company’s soul and is this important?” Soul is defined as emotional or intellectual energy or intensity. There is a lot written about great leadership, successful organisation and empowering, enabling cultures but seldom do they reference soul. Great fires start with a single, intense spark or flame. Perhaps that’s what my friend meant. Successful organisations often have individuals, usually in senior roles but not always, with great drive, commitment, intensity and grit. It’s their passion that inspires, motivates and guides the masses. These are champions, the big thinkers, unshackled by convention or expectation, they rise above the mediocrity, bringing others on their journeys. Obvious famous examples include Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Brian Cox, Malala, David Attenborough or even Joe Wicks. They are the people who live permanently outside of the box, creating windows for others to see the opportunities. Having these individuals or teams of individuals within an organisation ignites the magic for others. Companies lacking in passion and excitement rarely retain their talent and inevitable slide into mediocrity.
I am Simon Sinek fan; a true believer that companies need clear purpose, vision, goals and strategies to motivate employees to achieve results. But knowing ‘why’ isn’t enough. You also need people who will embody business passion and lead others if you want to the organisation to truly make a difference. According to experts, the biggest concern for any organisation should be when their passionate people become quiet. The leader must be aware and act on this immediately to build, nourish or rekindle its creative nucleus. When you have a passionate team inspired to help the company achieve its vision while fulfilling its purpose, you must do everything in your power to ensure that this team keeps this vibe. Otherwise, you run the risk of pushing away great talent while settling for mediocrity. Sadly it sounds like the lights dimmed at my friends current organisation and it has already lost its way. Fortunately, my friend knew when it was time to close the chapter, move onto the next adventure where these sparks will continue to fly.