I've been trying to get my mind wrapped around the ideas of Michael Polanyi since I first encountered his ideas while first studying MBM. One of his ideas that I have found to be particular fascinating is the role of passion. From what I have read Polanyi makes a connection between passion and discovery. I boil this down to some points:
- To make discoveries, we have to be immersed in what we do.
- Long run extended immersion is tied to being passionate.
- Passion is an ingredient to discovery.
I think this is hard to explain because the modern day use of passion has more an emotional connotation. I don't think that type of passion is what Polanyi meant.
Think of something you value deeply. It could be an activity, an idea, or a goal. Then, think of all that you have done for that value. Was it always fun? Was it always joy? In my personal experience, the things I am passionate about do have a lot of joy and fun associated with them, but they also have pain, endurance, despair, contemplation, peace, and a myriad of other emotions.
So, what does this have to do with MBM? If we want to make value-creating discoveries over the long haul, we have to have passion for what we're doing. Not the emotional passion, but the value that causes our minds to drift back to the seemingly unsolvable puzzle, the vision of something better that wakes us up at night with a brilliant inspiration or the simple commitment to excellence in our work that leads us to ask questions and find a better way.
I wonder if this is why the Guiding Principle of Fulfillment has some real "teeth" to it. It's not fluffy; it's tied to action. I guess for me, it's about passion in a Polanyi-sense.
Fulfillment: Produce results that create value to realize your full potential and find fulfillment in your work.
What do you think of when you think of Fulfillment? Is it a principle you've spent time thinking about recently? How can managers help their teams think clearly about this principle? Moreover, am I thinking clearly about it?