Purpose or passion – which has a greater impact on job performance?

  • Purpose is the sense you are contributing to others
  • Purpose is something you can share
  • Passion is the feeling of excitement and enthusiasm
  • Passion is individualistic

I had a slide in my Bee Ready For Change workshop slide-deck that stated :  “Passion Powers Change”

I then added another slide:  “Purpose powers Change”

I also had a slide in my Bee Engaged workshop slide-deck which read:  “Purpose powers Employee Engagement”

I agree with the above quotes, however, each on their own  will not achieve the desired result. Passion will only get you so far. The problem is that passion without purpose is like having a whole lot of energy and enthusiasm without knowing where to focus it. You will end up looking like a young puppy who has been let out of the house after being cooped-up all day. Have you ever seen what a young puppy does when it is let out? It will race around the garden in all directions, like a mad thing.

After careful consideration I refined the slides further.

I believe this is a powerful statement. If you want change to stick and you want engaged employees to help make change stick, then you need both passion and purpose. Together these will get the best results and best performance.  Purpose alone will probably achieve better performance that passion alone.  However, if I had to choose one or the other, (to answer the question I posed earlier), I would choose purpose because purpose trumps passion every time.

All leaders are constantly pushing their employees for better performance. Here is a question for leaders:- Do all of your direct reports have a purpose for the job they are doing that is meaningful to them, motivates them to go above and beyond – and does it ignite their passion?

Paul Rigby – co-author of The Bee Book and facilitator for Bee Ready For Change and Bee Engaged workshops