Here is an excerpt from article written by Rosabeth Moss Kanter for the Harvard Business blog. To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Daily Alerts, please visit firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Does Your Passion Match Your Aspiration?
Leaders who create extraordinary new possibilities are passionate about their mission and tenacious in pursuit of it. Many people have good ideas, but many fewer are willing to put themselves on the line for them. Passion separates good intentions and opportunism from real accomplishments.
A reminder of this principle just hit the news. Dr. Donald Berwick, my colleague and friend, is being nominated by President Obama to head Medicare and Medicaid. Originally a pediatrician, Don Berwick passionately wanted to improve health outcomes for patients. He envisioned applying TQM (Total Quality Management) tools from manufacturing to health care. Entrenched interests with closed doors and minds didn’t deter him. Eventually, through the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, the small organization he founded, he reached thousands of hospitals, hundreds of thousands of practitioners, and millions of patients over two decades.
Don knew this would be a long journey against hardened resistance but never veered off course. Now, if his nomination is confirmed, he can guide an entire huge system — a high proportion of the U.S. economy — toward better health at lower cost, zero defects, and more lives saved. He exudes not just vision but personal passion for the cause.
Energy entrepreneur and green innovator Jim Gordon is equally passionate about Cape Wind. For 9 years Gordon has been fighting to get the permits for America’s first offshore wind power generator and the world’s largest offshore wind farm. In April, he will hear whether the U.S. Interior Secretary Ken Salazar issues the final approval. If so, a new source of power for the most densely populated region of North America will happen because Jim Gordon’s passion matched his aspiration.
[Note: Kanter next provides 12 questions that will help you to determine whether your passion matches your aspirations. To read the complete article, check out other articles and resources, and/or sign up for a free subscription to Harvard Business Daily Alerts, please visit email@example.com.]
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Rosabeth Moss Kanter is a professor at Harvard Business School and the author of Confidence and SuperCorp. Connect with her on Facebook or at Twitter.com/RosabethKanter.