Balancing Passion with Math
From the age of five I have always been passionate about reading. I will freely admit that entering Grand Valley State at age 17 majoring in improvisational theater and broadcasting that my passions mainly centered around self. America in particular has an obsession, even a disease with self, which is not an excuse for any one individual's behavior or my own. When I was a child . . . It may be in part why Dutch Social Psychologist Geert Hofstede added indulgence versus restraint as a sixth dimension in measures of culture after many years with just five dimensions.
In a number of meetings and phone conversations with non-profit leaders recently as well I continue to see some of those same issues. Requiring my graduate students in Organizational Leadership to work with local organizations we often see two main types of boards: Completely passionate with little fiscal expertise or lots of expertise and no passion. There is a third leg often missing from that stool as well in effective training of board members in governance, values, responsibilities and expectations.
|From Management Reset by Lawler, Worley & Creelman|
If we push too far into organizational efficiencies like TQM, Six Sigma and Lean we diminish the individual and group passion that drives us to go beyond the difficult norms many firms face today to create a more equitable and profitable future. If our passions overwhelm our sense of responsibility to the mission of the organization and strong governance we'll hinder individual and organizational development and may run ourselves out of business. I don't have a problem with efficiency and spend a lot of time helping others improve customer service levels. Balance is what's required though for individual and organizational sustainability. That's one of the reasons that leaders such as Google and Microsoft don't expect their employees to be devoting 100% of their time to their specific jobs, and more organizations are including exercise opportunities into the work day. To achieve a healthier work life balance (another of Hofstede's measures).
Today is as good a day as any to run the passion versus math scale and see where we are. If we don't know there's an imbalance, the cliff drop given the changes to global finance as well as state and federal funders, isn't that far away. Finding one's passion for life and humanity is the focus of Wofford College President Ben Dunlap below. Finance, Lean and governance can be taught and we're never too young to learn.