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Drive Versus Passion – Randy Komisar Las Vegas Growth Summit

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Mon, Nov 10, 2014

Is there a difference between being driven to do something and being passionate about it?

describe the imageRandy Komisar, author of The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living believes there is. 

The book reflects the loss in values he sensed after having started several companies in Silicon Valley.  The book is what he calls his rant on this destitution.

Komisar describes himself as a reluctant business person.  He had a passion to change the world.  Harvard Business Review approached him to write a book, and he decided to work out of coffee shops and produce this parable.

As described on Amazon in The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Life While Making a Living, Komisar asks, “What would you be willing to do for the rest of your life...?” It's a question most of us consider only hypothetically-opting instead to "do what we have to do" to earn a living. But in the critically acclaimed bestseller "The Monk and the Riddle", entrepreneurial sage Randy Komisar asks us to answer it for real. The book's timeless advice - to make work pay not just in cash, but in experience, satisfaction, and joy - will be embraced by anyone who wants success to come not just from what they do, but from who they are.

Komisar in his Q&A with Verne Harnish at the Growth Summit describes Drive and Passion this way:

Drive is always feeling compelled to do something.  When he left his last company before writing the book he had lost his passion.  He had the drive to do it, but not the passion. Drive is a push.

Passion is being drawn toward things.  Passion 0 resized 600It’s not following but rather engaging body and soul in doing it.  In this fashion Passion is Pull. 

This Q&A with Verne tied back to the first presentation from Salim Ismail as discussed in my blog Disruptive Innovation.  Salim’s book Exponential Organizations: Why new organizations are ten times better, faster, and cheaper than yours (and what to do about it) offers one of the essential elements for Exponential Organizations is a MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose).  It’s Salim’s step one in starting an ExO (exponential organization).

We’ve discussed building a Core Purpose as part of your One Page Strategic Plan.  It’s an essential piece of building a business Jim Collins provided in Built to Last

MTP eXo book resized 600How is an MTP different from Core Purpose?  Perhaps it’s not. Salim describes the MTP as follows: Feeding on Simon Sinek’s “Why?” question, it is critical that you are excited and utterly passionate about the problem space you plan to attack. So, begin by asking the question: What is the biggest problem I’d like to see solved? Identify that problem space and then come up with an MTP for it.

He continues by providing examples of business and founders personal journeys:  Even as a child, Elon Musk, perhaps the world’s most celebrated entrepreneur today, had a burning desire to address energy, transportation and space travel at a global level. His three companies (SolarCity, Tesla and SpaceX) are each addressing those spaces. Each has a Massive Transformative Purpose. Keep in mind, however, that an MTP is not a business decision. Finding your passion is a personal journey. As Travis Kalanick, CEO of Uber, said at the 2013 LeWeb conference in Paris, “You have to be self-aware and look for that startup idea and purpose that is a perfect fit with you—with you as a person, not as a business[person].”

In this fashion it’s not dissimilar from Core Purpose.  In discovery of a business Core Purpose we often ask the current leaders to go back to the founder.  Why did he/she start the business?  What was their purpose or possibly their crusade?

In Exponential Organization Salim continues with Howard Thurman, the American author and philosopher, summarizing the same idea as follows: “Don’t just ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive and go do it. What the world needs is people who have come alive.” Drew Houston, founder of Dropbox, agrees: “The most successful people are obsessed with solving an important problem, something that matters to them. They remind me of a dog chasing a tennis ball. To increase your own chances of happiness and success, you must find your tennis ball—the thing that pulls you.”

So far in reading the description of MTP I didn’t discover any dramatic difference from a Core Purpose.  Salim asks these questions to help determine your MTP:  What do I really care about? What am I meant to do? Two more questions that can help speed the process of discovering your passion: What would I do if I could never fail? What would I do if I received a billion dollars today?

Exponential Organization continues with: It is not only about you as an entrepreneur, however. It is also about your employees. PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel poses the following question as an effective way to test if a startup has an MTP that will attract not only friends, but also employees beyond your personal network who share your motivation: “Why would the 20th employee join your startup without the perks, [such as] a co-founder title or stock [options]?” Accordingly, you should gauge your MTP against each of the acronym’s letters. Is it Massive? Is it Transformative? Is it Purposeful? A profit motive alone is insufficient to build an ExO—or, frankly, any startup. Rather, it’s the burning passion to solve an obsessive, complex problem that keeps an entrepreneur pushing along the rollercoaster ride of ebullience and despair that is the story of every startup.

Perhaps based on Komisar’s description of Drive versus Passion, the last sentence should be pulling along the rollercoaster rather than pushing.

I don’t see any significant difference between a Core Purpose and a Massive Transformative Purpose.   Do you?

The Brand Ideal that Jim Stengel describes in his book Grow - How Ideals Power Growth and Profit at the World's Greatest Companies does not appear to be significantly different either.  In fact as pointed out in Grow Author Jim Stengel “Great Leadership Follow Common Practices” the central finding is that businesses driven by a higher ideal, a higher purpose, outperform their competition by a wide margin, and frequently create both new businesses and entire new business sectors. See the graph is this blog for evidence of The Stengel 50 performance companies versus the S&P 500.

If anything Komisar, Salim’s Exponential Organization, and Simon Sinek’s Why support the reason why businesses that wish to grow and thrive desperately need a Core Purpose, whether you call it this or an MTP.

A MTP (Massive Transformative Purpose) due to its Massive Transformative nature may tap into a larger audience or group of advocates who support the business surpassing the normal proximity of just a company’s employees. That’s my observation.

Salim completes his definition of an MTP with the following observation:  Chip Conley, an expert at building purpose-driven companies such as Airbnb, frequently references Kahlil Gibran: “Work is love made visible. The goal is not to live forever; the goal is to create something that will.”

More on the Growth Summit next blog as we take a look into what the hell is Big Data.

Last time I’ll tempt you to join me and other growing companies for Positioning Systems Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Four Decision Workshop.  Download the Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Four Decision Workshop flyerRegister to attend this event this Wednesday in Cedar Rapids.

Topics: Core Purpose, Growth Summit, Passion, Exponential Organization, MTP, The Monk and the Riddle: The Art of Creating a Lif

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The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

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