Imagine the scene:

It’s 1997. Apple has been hemorrhaging money, and the company’s formerly exiled founder, Steve Jobs, is back in charge of a company that’s seemingly bleeding to death.

He says this at an informal staff meeting:


“So what?” you CPAs are saying.

Here’s what, Tom Hood retorts: Substitute “boxes” with “taxes” and see if that passage doesn’t ring true.

It’d better. That unwavering focus on passion, after all, what separates great leaders from everyone else.

That message was driven home over and over again on the final day of the MACPA’s 2013 Leadership Academy. Hood and fellow Insights to Action facilitator Gretchen Pisano made that point in a couple of inspiring ways.

First …
They channeled “Start With Why” author Simon Sinek, whose mantra echoed throughout the classroom like a call to arms: “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.” You’re not going to inspire people by the way you fill out that tax form. You will inspire them by living your passions and beliefs.

And by the way, if you haven’t heard Sinek talk about how great leaders inspire others, you must. Watch his TED talk here.

Second …
There’s the foundation of the Leadership Academy training. It all boils down to strengths-based leadership — utilizing and taking advantage of our personal strengths and those of the people who work for us.

As Gretchen explained, focusing on our strengths brings:

  • greater physical and mental well-being,
  • increased happiness,
  • decreased depression and stress, and
  • more engagement and hope.

Moreover, Gretchen says, employees that use four or more of their signature strengths at work are more likely to see work as a calling, rather than an obligation.

And then there’s this: According to Gretchen, when leaders focus on their employees’ strengths, the odds of each person being engaged goes up eightfold.

In fact, Gretchen says, the odds that we will flourish in our personal and professional lives lie at the intersection of our personal passions, our personal strengths, and the things that other people value. If we hit on all three of those things, we hit on magic, don’t we?

It all rolls back to Jobs, doesn’t it? People with passion can change the world.

What’s your passion? What do you believe?

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