Startups Must Have Passion

“You can’t have a startup culture if you are ok with Meh” ~ Melissa Perri (@lissijean), Lean Agile Scotland 2016

Startups are all about passion. Passionate about making something better, passionate about the medium you’re working in, passionate about results. Without passion, everything you touch will fail… or worse yet, be mediocre.

The startup culture mindset is in full swing. Even Fortune 10's are big proponents of startup culture, Lean Startup, FastWorks, etc. But none of these philosophies matter without passion in what you’re doing.

In fact, passion is the number one criteria I look for when hiring a new team member. Above the hard skills they actually need to do the job. You can't teach passion.

So, how do you get passion?

  1. Hire passionate people. These are people that get carried away when talking about their portfolio or past work; or the ones that have 5 different pairs of headphones depending on their use; or the ones that measure their coffee down to the ounce. These people fall in love with their craft and gaining knowledge, and demand results above all. Cherish these people.
  2. Take breaks. No one is passionate 24-7. Passion is the first thing to dim when approaching burn-out. Be sure to take the time to unwind; explore hobbies, peek into other industries or cultures, and most importantly, rest. Inspiration is everywhere.
  3. Seek it out. Everyone is passionate about something. If you have team members that aren’t passionate about the mission at hand, try to find a way to align it to their passions and interest, at least tangentially.
  4. Remove dead weight. Some people are just not interested for a number of reasons. If that's the case, re-assign or release them—this will save you time and headache in the long run. Disinterest can spread like a bad cold.

Passion can pop up organically, but you have to work at keeping it alive. Without regular maintenance, passion will dwindle and results will follow.