A walk in the woods this weekend with my sons, ages 8 and 3, was initiated with the expectation that the snow on the trails would have melted enough for us to walk on the ground or, as this time of year in northern New England typically requires, in the mud. Unfortunately, we didn’t find any mud (nor the associated puddles that are so much fun to stomp in) and, instead, discovered the trails were still covered by a good foot of heavy, compacted snow.
I contemplated turning around, and heading back after a short walk, but the boys were having a blast and convinced me to just keep going. Falling into the snow up to their knees, at times, didn’t sway them in the least. You see, for them, the importance was in spending time outside walking with each other. We worked hard walking on the snow-covered trails, much harder than was needed had we decided to walk on an asphalt trail in a park, but we carried on just to enjoy the day and be near each other.
The situation made me think of some comments left in response to my post on Marissa Mayer’s decision to end telework at Yahoo, a person going by the unfortunate name of “FuggleyBrew” over on reddit.com posted the following:
You don’t need to be passionate for a companies every action in order to be one of its top performers.
They’re a company, they pay you to provide a service for them, you can be dedicated to performing your job well and earning that money but not be devoted to the company.
While you can do work for money and do a fine job, imagine how much greater of a job you could do for a belief in addition to a paycheck. As my boys demonstrated, even children will work hard for something they believe is worthwhile. If you can combine that kind of belief with a skill so well developed people are willing to pay you for it, I can only imagine the degree of success that could be attained.
As business leaders and managers, it is important to bear this in mind, and to set an environment for people that engages their passions, and doesn’t just offers them a paycheck.