Leaders: Fuel the Passion Discipline Duo

Today everyone is asking business leaders to engage employees. Fuel the passion! Business innovation requires it and long term success hinges on it. I agree that this is half the formula.

It takes two traits to be successful — passion and discipline.

Why has discipline fallen out of favor? Perhaps we are mistaking it for rigidity, dogmatism, and resistance to change. It is none of these things. It does not limit or constrain. It develops and guides.

It’s time for all leaders to fuel the passion discipline duo.

Leaders: Fuel Passion Discipline Duo Image by:dbking

The Passion Discipline Duo

  1. Passion starts the journey and discipline guides around the curves.
  2. Passion generates new ideas and discipline vets the possibility against tangible reality.
  3. Passion creates bonds with teammates and customers and discipline delivers the strength to bond even in tough times.
  4. Passion breaks through resistance and overcomes obstacles. Discipline sustains when passion wanes.

The Passion Discipline Duo is in Jeopardy When Leaders

    Are strong in passion or in discipline and don’t honor the other — in others.
    Use stressful times or times of decline as a reason to harp only on discipline.
    Demand evidence too early in a new venture or ignore evidence to avoid admitting mistakes.
    Allow any team member without the passion discipline duo to bully or sway the team to one trait.
    Give in to the fear of either trait.

High achievers of all types — from athletes to entrepreneurs and corporate leaders — fuel the passion discipline duo in themselves and their teams.

What actions do they take?
– Define passion and discipline with their teams

– Brainstorm and use a system to follow-through

– Give passion and discipline equal weight; celebrate both

– Keep the vision/goal always in sight of both

– Honor diverse team members and mentor their duo development

What would you add to this discussion about passion and discipline? What gets in the way of the duo? What fuels it?

From my experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach

©2011 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. If you want to re-post or republish this post, please email info@katenasser.com. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Related Post: The Weakness of Extreme Strength

With inspiration to action, Kate Nasser, The People-Skills Coach, turns obstacles to change into your professional success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote features, footage to view, and customer testimonials.

13 Responses to “Leaders: Fuel the Passion Discipline Duo”

  1. Joni Daniels says:

    Passion needs to be exported; discipline needs to be modeled

  2. Anne Egros says:

    At last someone telling the truth about passion at work ! Excellent post. Passion without discipline makes you totally irrational about your decisions regarding money or hiring new people. On the other end unless you are totally zen, you are missing the zest in your life and you get so bored you easily give up when a rock stops you on the way to success.

  3. Micah Yost says:

    Yeah, Kate! You are right on and it makes me smile to see someone else exhorting leaders towards discipline. I fear that as we lift disruptive innovation to the highest pedestal that we will loose sight of the critical importance of discipline. I recently wrote about this topic on my blog, but I really appreciate the way you approached the subject.

    I really don’t have much to add accept to affirm you in your stance on the subject. To take the conversation a bit further I feel that, like discipline, simplicity is the other trait that has fallen out of favor. Maybe it is also because we seem to associate simplicity with negatives as we do discipline. Yet it is discipline and simplicity that allow us to pursue the highest levels of excellence.

    Thanks for writing, Kate, and thanks for tagging me. For those that are interested, here are more of my thoughts on a similar subject. http://wp.me/p1d17r-e2

    Micah Yost

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Dear Micah,
      Pleased to see your comment here. What I see so much is that people of great passion who are change innovators, have a bias against discipline and vice versa. Not sure where the either/or mentality comes from. Perhaps the “passionates” believe that discipline minimizes the energy of innovation. Yet in truth it spurs innovation to true development.

      Those who revel in the completion have plenty of discipline yet ruffle when passionate people’s ideas are flowing. Yet without the ideas, what would there be to complete?

      The balance, the ability to value both passion and discipline and those who do each well, is the intersection of success. I love the statement in your blog post “Almost nothing happens with a single stroke of genius.”

      It tacitly states the same message — discipline is the engine of completion.

      Thanks Micah. Your ideas spurred me on.

  4. Kate – Your post created a flood of thoughts.

    As a very free-spirited child, “discipline” was a word that made me cringe and roll my eyes! As an adult: I think of how much I appreciate working with people who follow through and can be counted on to do what they say they will when they say they will.

    I love this point: The Passion Discipline Duo is in Jeopardy When Leaders Are: Strong in passion or in discipline and don’t honor the other — in others. I have witnessed examples of this in volunteer organizations, work places, youth groups and in families. The older I get the more I realize that in many of those cases, one group is intimidated by a gift they don’t possess, and assumes they are being judged, so they react with judgement. The reality is that they NEED each other!

    The strongest team I have ever seen struggled with this issue too. However there were MANY MORE TIMES that the two extremes brought balance to each other and created a synergy that still amazes me… Sometimes that balance and energy was achieved through accountability, but more often it was achieved by intentionally unleashing each persons greatest individual strengths and creating opportunities for them to share them with each other.

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I think you may be on to something Chery — they are intimated by a gift they don’t possess. From fear comes disdain and the disconnect of the very balance that feeds both.

      Thank you so much for as my thoughts inspired you — your comments have inspired me.

      Warmest regards for visiting Smart SenseAbilities and hope you will visit and comment again.

  5. Micah Yost says:

    I agree with you that the idea Kate presents of honoring the passion or discipline in others is a great application for team environments. Though it might be important for us as individual leaders to exhibit both passion and discipline, it is also important that our teams value members who are on one end or the other. Thanks for bringing that application forward, Cherry.

    Micah Yost

  6. John Wenger says:

    Kate, loved this post. Just after I saw your post, I saw this quote on Twitter: Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. (Aristotle). There are echoes of this in your post. It reminds me of a conference I once attended when I was working in the not-for-profit sector. Someone stood up to introduce her organisation and said they were looking for new staff. The NFP sector is replete with people who have passion for what they do, but she requested that if anyone was interested to come and work for them, they have ‘heart’. She explicitly said that they did not want people who said they were passionate: that was a given. She went on to explain what she meant by ‘heart’, which was in fact, discipline. Nobody goes to work in the NFP sector to get rich; 99% of folks I worked with did it out of passion. However, when the passion wanes and frustration with working in that sector builds, it is ‘heart’ or discipline that keeps people going. My 12 years of working in that sector, both at the ‘coal face’ and as a Manager, taught me how passion and discipline must go hand in hand, otherwise, the job just doesn’t get done fully. I came out of the sector thinking that the commercial world has a lot to learn from the NFP world. Passion+discipline is, to my mind, playing the long game. It’s not about short-term expediency or quick profit. It’s about thinking bigger about what you want to achieve, packing your biggest rucksack and embarking on a journey that is meaningful. When the road gets tough, it is both your passion and your discipline that will get you there.
    Thanks again Kate!

    • Kate Nasser says:

      Thank you so much for the NFP story. I do believe that the for profit world as well as the world of public education can learn from the NFP. The former seems to have forgotten the joy of discipline’s results.

      Always grateful for your contributions here at Smart SenseAbilities.


  7. Joni, Anne, Kate, Micah & John – I was just reading your comments and thinking how much growth comes when people share their thinking with each other! (Iron does indeed sharpen iron!)

    Micah – Your comment about the need for us to value simplicity reminds me of an Einstein quote, “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”

    • Kate Nasser says:

      I’m with you Chery. I find growth in sharing ideas and sometimes the growth crosses over boundaries to other areas of my life and work. Truly amazing and quite grateful for those gifts.

  8. Micah Yost says:

    Great quote! Thanks. Love the conversation here.

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