Passion: A Competitive Advantage

newpassionStarting a company isn’t easy. Ask any entrepreneur how hard it is to survive that first year. The second year can be a rude awakening, and when you’re finally off the ground? That’s when things can get really tough. There’s more than one way to climb over the hurdles along the way to success, but how do you know you’re headed in the right direction?

The answer comes from within. Real, genuine passion is by far the easiest way to catapult your company to the next level. That doesn’t just mean having passion for what you’re working on but the heartbeat and soul of your company. For example, if you’re in the food manufacturing business, then it makes sense to be involved in food policy or management. Regardless of what issues your company is currently embroiled in, here are some strategies to help elevate that passion from the inside out.

1: A great place to start is to poll your employees to find out what community outreach they think make sense for the company. Your employees are your #1 resource and love knowing they are a part of something bigger that is not just a paycheck. In this poll, make sure that everyone has an equal but separate vote. Now not only do your coworkers opinions are genuinely valued but they KNOW that leadership values their opinions are valued as well. With your leadership team united with the employees passionate interests, this is a clear win / win!

2: Once you figure out where the company’s heart is, you can set an initiative that is aligned with it. This initiative doesn’t have to be financial, but when it is, it doesn’t have to be expensive either. Think about how your company’s special expertise, contributions, or manpower can make a real impact in the community and act upon it. You can definitely do better than one volunteer day per quarter, but that’s an easy start.

3: Set a goal that’s not only impactful but achievable as well. And once you find out that it’s achievable, build on it to grow momentum. Give books to a local elementary school. Have a blanket drive to make the local animal shelter a comfier place. Provide personalized support for the county’s woman shelter. All of these examples have clear goals that the employees, customers, and the media can understand (and talk about).

4: Take it one step further: Leverage your leadership in the target area to galvanize your partners, vendors, clients, or customers to join your effort. Not only does that make a bigger impact in the community but also means your company is not the sole spearhead of this plan.

5: Finally, tie this all back to your business principles. Success in community outreach translates to tangible gains, easy to leverage either for positive media coverage, recruiting or retaining your most talented employees, accruing further support for new initiatives, and above all, being a leader in civic or industry.

Utilizing passion to enrich your company culture can have positive outcomes in almost every aspect of your business. Starting this conversation today with your employees can have a large effect years down the line, so why wait any longer?

rounded_corners_John_B_AvatarJohn Bwarie is an impact professional working to connect people and solve problems while focusing on an actionable outcome. He has worked for elected officials directly and serves dozens of others in other capacities. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.