Bringing Passion to Your Work

By Ron Rosenberg

Maintaining a high level of passion about your work is an essential ingredient to sustaining the company’s performance. A recent trip to California really drove this point home for me.

I was flying to California to attend a magicians convention in Sacramento. On the first leg of the trip, from Raleigh to Chicago, we had an interesting welcome as we boarded the plane. The captain was standing at the doorway greeting each passenger with absolute enthusiasm.

"Hi, how are you this morning! Welcome aboard!"

"Here, let me help you with that bag!"

"Welcome aboard, we’ll get you safely to Cleveland! Just kidding—we’re going to Chicago!"

Once we were in the air, he gave the standard "we’re glad you chose to fly with us today" announcement, and apologized to anyone he hadn’t personally greeted! And, of course, when we were getting off the plane in Chicago, guess who was by the exit doorway wishing each and every passenger a pleasant day?

Here was a man who was clearly passionate about his job.

As I was walking through the terminal to get to my connection, I happened to see the captain getting a bite to eat. I explained that I had been on his flight from Raleigh, commented on how much I had enjoyed his enthusiasm throughout the trip, and then asked the question I had been dying to ask him: "So what’s your story?"

You see, anytime someone is so passionate about their work, there usually is a story behind it. Some "near-death" type of work experience causes them to rededicate themselves to their work with a fever pitch.

That was exactly what had happened to our captain. In the early ’80s, he was forced to stop flying for a while because the airline had too many pilots for the routes it was flying at the time. He was miserable.

After a few months things picked up again and he was finally back in the cockpit. His first day back on the job he made a commitment to himself that dramatically affected his attitude towards passengers: since his passion is to fly, and to keep a lot of other people flying, he would take exceptionally good care of every person on every trip.

Developing that kind of passion for the job and dedication to the customer is what makes companies successful. Try to do something today to make this happen in your organization.