Feedback workshop: Passion at work!

Passion at work!
It wasn’t easy to start a workshop about passion and increased joy in your work and for the people working in your projects. How to start such a workshop? How can we approach this subject in a ‘ no pain, no gain’ environment where working hard and without complaining is key?

These were my questions before the workshop for the regional group Amsterdam of IPMA (International Project Management Association). We started by making clear what passion is all about and how we recognize passionate people. This led us quickly to an interesting discussion.

Does passion in a working environment help to bring down costs, work related illness and improve business results? But above all, can it help me to get more fun out of it!?
Research shows us that a lot of money is wasted because of lack of engagement. For instance, Gallup statistics show that unhappy workers cost the American business economy up to $350 billion annually in lost productivity. In The Netherlands the Instituut voor Werk en Stress declares the annual costs o psychological problems for the Dutch society are 4.7 Billion Euros. These figures are mind blowing.

With this group I tried to figure out a practical way to turn this around in our own daily practice. How to get the people in our projects committed and passionate about their work? From my own experience I know how hard it is to get this flow running in a project or programme. During the workshop I tried to make the examples as practical as possible. To get the passion live and kicking in projects, my basic suggestion is that alignment between organization and employees is a key factor!

Alignment is key
People get involved when they feel that their work is useful. It has to have a meaning to them. But also it has to be possible to measure the effects. An employee wants to be able to see that his or her efforts are paying off. And last but not least, they want to feel appreciated. By applying alignment to the ambitions of the employees and the organizational ambitions, you are able to do those things. Bron: Rampersad, 2008

When we transform this to managing organisational changes, we have to be able to alignment not only the ambition of the people and the organization, but also make a transition into the change. We have to align all three aspects with each other. The alignment between the organization and the change usually is made by producing a Business Case. But is this enough? I think we regularly see Business Cases that are looking fine, but aren’t felt and believed by the people working with it.
Next we have to look at the alignment between the people and the changes, the projects. Does the project member know what the project is about? Is he/she committed to the end result? And when he feels the management doesn’t believe their own Business Case, why should he?
Aligning these stakeholders and their ambitions to the project will increase the chance of the project going over budget and increase the chance of success.

Some reactions after the workshop:
Inspiring evening and fascinating subject”

 “It was moving to see Gabor show his own challenge and development regarding being passionate”

 “I had a great evening and got a lot of positive feedback” (IPMA organization)

 I’m very proud with all comments after the workshop and pleased with the inspiring interaction. We got some practical examples and tips to start working on passion in our own working place. A small start, but nevertheless a big ambition 🙂

I hope to see everyone next time. If you want to learn more about this or other workshops from Gabor, please contact us at Follow this link to see the presentation!

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