Baseball season is upon us already. Spring training is over, the season has begun, and the players are at the top of their game. Here in Chicago, many of us are wondering if blowing up the dreaded Bartman ball will be enough to put the kibosh on the Cubbies' Curse. In the world of process automation, we are all wondering how to not only survive, but also prosper in these very "interesting times."
In Control's December 2003 issue ("Word from the Top" p47,) Honeywell's Jack Bolick said, "Think of yourself as a little general manager of your own life and career." Jack is spot on. Fast Company magazine has called this "Brand You." This is the way it is going to be, for the foreseeable future, so get used to it.
Dave Mills, from Procter and Gamble, wrote me, "But when you stop with generalizations I don't have any more basis to believe you than to believe a union protectionist who's trying to preserve his power base, or a NAFTA promoter who's trying to increase the value of his stock options." Dave is surely right, as is Dick Morley, in his Developing Your Potential column in this issue. Morley gives homework. Do it.
"I've been through three plant closings, and the plant I'm working at just announced they are moving operations to China. I'm too old to go through this again," another reader wrote me.
The key to survival in these times, it seems to me, is to be doing what you really want and thoroughly enjoy doing. That's why I'm the editor of Control. It's what my friend Curt Rosengren (http://www.rosengren.net) calls your "passion." There are all sorts of practical guides to help you find out what you really want to do, from What Color Is Your Parachute to Curt's "Passion Catalyst" program, to working with job placement firms and career coaches. They all say the same thing: look at yourself honestly, and follow your heart. If you find something you truly want to do, you will also figure out how to make a living doing it. People who are genuinely passionate about what they do clearly communicate that passion to their associates and their managers, and they tend to stay employed, and even help keep others employed as their passion permeates the enterprise. It doesn't matter what job you have either, as long as you are passionate about it.
You know, this works for companies as well. At a recent Emerson User Group meeting, John Berra put it extremely well: "I'm well aware of the pressures that come from financial analysts and the focus on quarterly results," he said. "However, I can't really do anything about that. What I can do is make sure that our company takes care of our customers in the best way we can. If you live up to your promises and do what you say you are going to do, the results will be there." Passion.
Passion is infectious. You can pass it to your co-workers, and they, in turn, can pass it on to theirs. Injecting passion into an enterprise is one of the best ways to improve working conditions, too. If everybody you work with has the same passion you do about the job, where you work will be fun, exciting, creative and vibrant. And not likely to move to China.