Sales and Marketing

Keys to Success - How to Keep the PASSION in Your Career - By John Hogan

Passion - It is not a word that most of us think about when we used adjectives to describe our work. Yet, work is where we spend approximately 25% or more of our time each week (if we work full time)

HTrends Passion

It is not a word that most of us think about when we used adjectives to describe our work.  Yet, work is where we spend approximately 25% or more of our time each week (if we work full time)

There are many employee engagement surveys and measurement tools in use these days, but I am going to offer a simpler approach. If your boss asked you to design the ingredients for the perfect workplace to guarantee job satisfaction and ongoing enthusiasm, what would you include?

Now do not read ahead, but think about this for a moment and imagine at least three things you would include in this Utopian environment.

Auren Uris in his 101 of the Greatest Ideas in Management, included some of these suggestions

  1. Recognition as a person and a professional, regardless of your chosen field, with the ability to have a voice in your work
  2. Enjoyable and pleasant working conditions, including facilities, schedules, safety factors. etc.
  3. Fair and competitive compensation and benefits
  4. A sense of being part of the team, with both our associates and supervisors
  5. The opportunity to personally grow and be challenged
  6. Job security. This is in relation to performance based issues, and one that avoids the political infighting and maneuvering that is too often present in the workplace and often by minimally competent individuals

While your personal list would likely include some additional suggestions, these six make an excellent base.  Yet, how many of us have even half of those items on the list?

I first wrote on this topic for the Birmingham Alabama, BUSINESS FIRST weekly business newspaper.  I recently found an old comic strip story,  in Sally Forth, where the 11-year-old daughter is asking her working mother for help in completing a school assignment.  The question is on careers and the mother is asked if her job is “fun.”  The mother responds that “fun” is not quite the right word for it. “Are you sure that is what it says?” she asks. The daughter spells F-U-N and the mother continues, “If work were fun, people would say ‘I’m going to fun’, rather than ‘I’m going to work.’ ”   The daughter answers she is confused; the mother puts everything into perspective by telling the daughter to “just put down that I usually like my job.”

Many of us do “usually like our job,” yet we really don’t quite have the enthusiasm we probably thought we would have had when we committed ourselves to our chosen career awhile back.  Is this because we do not have the personal commitment, or is it for other reasons?  Have we let the less than ideal situation of our everyday job experience sour our disposition?

Nordstrom department stores, which originated in California seems to have overcome this attitude problem. Their approach is simple and so easy to understand that is baffling why business leaders in general do not follow their lead.  The Nordstrom way of conducting business is summed up in this classified as that was reprinted in A PASSION FOR EXCELLENCE by Tom Peters and Nancy Austin:

Now Hiring – Wanted: People Power

It’s something that Nordstrom, the West’s leading fashion specialty store, feels very strongly about.

We are looking for experienced people who want to learn, grow and expand with us.

People who genuinely like people, who find satisfaction in helping others, who go out of their way to be of service.

We need people with an eye for detail, a will to succeed.

Experienced people to handle sales

People to lead and people to follow.

We need people to make things go smoothly.

People with ideas.

All kinds of people with all kinds of potential.

People Power, It’s the Difference at Nordstrom’s.

I was the opening general manager at a luxury all suites hotel and used this format to set the tone pf our hiring blitz, which was at the worst time of year.  We received outstanding applications and hired some great people – people who merely wanted to be appreciated and respected; people who wanted to have a voice, and be part of a team.  This sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Now, A PASSION FOR EXCELLENCE was published more than 20 years ago and I was curious what an internet search in 2010 would say about Nordstrom people and passion.

Here are a few of the hits from the first page of Google search:

  • Nordstrom Jobs & Employment - FlipDog Job Search
    Find new Nordstrom jobs, careers, and employment opportunities at FlipDog. ... to foster and support culinary excellence in a fast-paced environment. We are dedicated to hiring outstanding individuals who share our passion for serving ... - Cached
  • Nordstrom RACK Jobs in Massachusetts |
    Find Nordstrom RACK jobs in Massachusetts on Job Search. ... cooks to foster and support culinary excellence in a fast-paced environment. We are dedicated to hiring outstanding individuals who share our passion for serving ...
  • Cornerstone Mortgage - Leahy & Associates
    We will be viewed as the “Nordstrom” of home lending because of our passion for excellence and the results we achieve daily. ... - Cached Robert Spector
  • Author of the business classic The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence, ... is a personal celebration and appreciation of the vision, passion, ... - Cached
  • Required Reading: Nordstrom's Class of Service -
    CRM magazine: The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence is almost ten years ... connected to the passion and energy of an organization's employees. ... -
  • The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook For ...
    Jun 18, 2009 ... All about The Nordstrom Way to Customer Service Excellence: A Handbook ... The Fred Factor: How passion in your work and life can turn the ... - Cached
  • UC Davis TXC and FPS Internships: Assistant Restaurant Manager ...
    Apr 18, 2010 ... Assistant Restaurant Manager (Nordstrom - Arden Fair Mall - Sacramento) ... culinary excellence and ensure a positive guest experience. We are dedicated to hiring outstanding individuals who share our passion for serving ... - Cached
  • Nordstrom Inc. – Specialty Coffee Assistant Manager - Garden State ...
    We are dedicated to hiring outstanding individuals who share our passion for ... of the specialty coffee bar to support excellence in service and product. ... –
  • Emerald FullText Article : Alchemy: the transformation to service ...
    Nordstrom's management philosophy encourages the development of a strong service ..... Peters, T, Austin, N (1994), A Passion for Excellence, The Leadership ...;jsessionid=CAA5EAAC323C50339A6090...
  • PFA Youth Ablaze - Excellence by Matt Maddix
    I'm inspired by companies such as Southwest Airlines, Apple, Nordstrom, Starbucks, and The Ritz Carlton, to apply their principles of excellence and passion ... - Cached
I was duly impressed by the range of comments and superlatives used by many different organizations in their assessment of the Nordstrom management philosophy commitment to each other after that 20-year period.

There is no easy answer in keeping the “passion” in one’s career, but below are a series of ideas that might work for you in  keeping your inner spirit alive, regardless of your position in the company:

  1. Promise. To keep something alive, there has to be spark of an ideal to begin with, Most of us have the desire to succeed, but the notion of the ideal has become dormant. Resurrect that submerged ideal as an achievable goal.
  2. Plan.   To merely wish for something is seldom enough to reach it.  Goal setting and a road map are critical to top performance and to achieving success on anything of value.
  3. Persist.  It usually takes careful balance to know when to quit or when to change course lightly, to go around, rather than wasting time and energy trying to go through an obstacle.
  4. Perspire.  It has been said that someone once asked Thomas Edison if he had become discouraged when he had allegedly tried 10,000 unsuccessful ways to make a battery work.  He responded just the opposite with the comeback that he knew 10,000  ways NOT to make one work.  He also said that genius was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration.                            FYI-  Edison was awarded 1368 separate and distinct patents during his lifetime
  5. Passion.   If you don’t look forward to going to work in the morning, you’ve probably lost  (or perhaps never had) passion. Try some diversion to rejuvenate yourself.  They can be anything from whistling to singing, from an afternoon movie by yourself to a refresher course in the subject of your choice. Change your routine, so that work can again become exciting and challenging
  6. Payoff.  This is the reward, You set the prize and work your way through the first four steps to reach the passion. Passion does not mean being a workaholic, rather energetically enjoying your career and making others take notice.
“Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.”

William Menninger

What is the state of your PASSION  today?

Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:

Consider & introduce incentives for staff in different departments.

Examples can range from a free lunch to a 3 day weekend trip. Be creative!

KEYS TO SUCCESS is the umbrella title for my 2010 programs, hospitality services and columns. This year’s writings will focus on a wide variety of topics for hotel owners, managers and professionals including both my "HOW TO" articles and HOSPITALITY CONVERSATIONS. My segments Lessons from the Field, Hotel Common Sense and Principles for Success will be featured at appropriate times in the year as well.

Feel free to share an idea for a column at anytime or contact me regarding consulting, customized workshops, speaking engagements. And remember – we all need a regular dose of common sense.

Autographed copies of LESSONS FROM THE FIELD – a COMMON SENSE APPROACH TO EFFECTIVE HOTEL SALES are available from THE ROOMS CHRONICLE, and other industry sources.

All rights reserved by John Hogan and this column may be included in an upcoming book on hotel management. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.

John Hogan is a successful hospitality executive, educator, author and consultant and is a frequent keynote speaker and seminar leader at many hospitality industry events.

Consulting Expertise and Research Interest

  1. Sales Management and training
  2. Turn-around and revenue management
  3. Professional Development for the Organization and the Individual
  4. Customer Service
  5. Making Cultural Diversity Real
  6. Developing Academic Hospitality programs
  7. Medical Lodging Consultants

If you need assistance in any of these areas or simply an independent review or opinion on a hospitality challenge, contact me directly for a prompt response and very personalized attention.
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