Saturday, August 28, 2021

You can't fake passion

OK, I'll wait a moment while you make whatever jokes popped into your head when you read that headline...


I am of course talking about the G-rated passions in your life, whether it's a hobby, a charity, or the focus of this post, your job.

One of the advantages of having worked in so many different places since the early 90s is that I have gained a wide perspective on what makes a great workplace.

The perks are always nice, of course, and I have nothing against those employers who install slides, ping pong tables, gaming consoles, etc. in their office. And hey, no one is going to complain when a bonus check shows up on payday.

But as cliché as it sounds, the best workplaces are the ones with the best people. And more to the point, people who love what they're doing and the organization for which they're doing it.

It is an absolute struggle to work in a place where employees are ambivalent about their jobs. No matter how conscientious you are, you'll feel that lack of energy personally, and it will undoubtedly affect your performance.

One of the first things I noticed about Goodyear is that people there love the company and feel a strong loyalty toward the brand. This may be attributable to the fact that so many of them have worked there for 20, 30 or even 40 years. There are lots of long-timers at the Home of the Winged Foot, and their personal identities are often wrapped up in Goodyear's identity.

In many ways, the same was true when I was at Vitamix. It's a family-owned company that has much to recommend it as an employer, and people are justly proud of the organization and its products.

This is especially helpful as a corporate communicator. When someone loves what they do and you talk with them about it for, say, a company video or intranet article, it's immediately obvious. It's not the kind of thing you can pretend.

If you're not truly all in, I can tell within 10 seconds. And the resulting communication is going to reflect that, no matter how much I try to pretty it up.

I haven't been at Goodyear long enough to have developed that connection myself, but I do hope it happens.

The problem is that, when it does, this blog will no longer be called 5 Kids, 1 Wife, but probably something like "4 Tires, 1 Car."

And nobody really wants to see that.

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