Want an interview that is full of humor and wisdom that talks about cultrual diversity, how ‘passion is easy’ and how the wrong kind of passion can hurt the world
This is Moustafa again for Passion Sundays and guess who’s our guest today? Mr. Fons Trompenaars, World leader on cultural diversity in the work place. And guess where are we doing the interview today. You know what, as you have guessed, it’s in the car, you know why because he’s so passionate about what we are doing. And when he knew that he had to leave to the airport, he wouldn’t sacrifice the interview, so he kindly invited me with him in the car to conduct the interview on the way to the airport.
Now let’s talk Passion!
Moustafa – Fons how are you?
Fons – Wonderful! It’s a great pleasure to be here and yeah, Passion is easy if you just love what you are doing. And if you know the importance and the meaning of what you are doing, passion is easy. You know, Charles Handy, one of my greatest inspirators from the U.K. was interviewed by the BBC and he said, “how come that bankers are so much better paid than teachers and nurses?”. And he said, “It’s very simple, they are paid for the lack of meaning in their work. If you have meaning in your work, you don’t talk about money. You know one of my daughters is a nurse. She never talks about money; she talks about the last patient.
Fons- And why? Because she’s one with the work and then passion comes as a result. Passion is very easy when you love.
Moustafa- Awww…love that. So how important then it is for somebody to actually discover their passion?
Fons- Now I think, very often you feel happy with what you’re doing, you don’t even call it work. You call it your hobby, you know. And then, passion for me is the combination of many things. It’s not only emotion. It’s the combination with reason. It’s a meaningfulness because you can be passionate about the wrong things as well.
Fons- You know, I think, extreme dictators in the world had passion. You know, the terrorist in Paris had passion.
Fons- The deed was wrong passion. So, if we get passion in the right direction for humanity rather than for yourself, you’re in great shape.
Moustafa- I love it! You are hitting on exactly something I say, that is, passion and purpose.
Moustafa- Passion alone is not enough. You need both energies.
Moustafa- So, how easy is it for somebody to pursue passion, because people have this dreamy idea, “if I pursue my passion, everything becomes effortless, easy and all this you know”. All this sometimes dreamy and in the clouds thought.
Fons- Sure but once you are passionate about something, indeed follow your heart. But then, the hard work starts. May be how can I make an environment that survives. So, reason and passion are complimentary. But follow your heart. I think all the research, also by Larry Greiner said people start innovation, people start little companies when they’re passionate, when they follow their heart. But they hit a lot of crisis; they hit that they are not good leaders; they hit that the company is too small; they run out of money.
If you keep on following your passion and you resolve those type of issues, you’re in great shape.
Moustafa- Actually, the more important question is, what is the value for a company to invest in helping their people find passion?
Fons- Yeah, I think when you involve people, engage people in the purpose, because I think passion comes with the quality of your purpose. If you see Walmart, now I’m talking words only.
Fons- I don’t know in real life but they said, and that’s called the BHAG, the Big hairy Audacious Goal, we want to be a company that sells more than two hundred billion. They made it by the way. But their purpose was what made the difference, because the question is, why do you need to make two hundred billion? And the purpose is, we want to enable poor people to buy the same things as rich people. And then you know why two hundred billion is important, because you can have better deals for the clients you serve.
Moustafa- So, for a company to invest in helping their employees find their personal passion and link it back to business with pay return on investment.
Fons- Enormous amount. If you align, the personal passion and engagements and love with what the company goes for, that’s the companies we need to build.
Moustafa- Amazing! Amazing! And in your opinion when it comes to passion and leadership what differentiates an important successful leader and a passionate leader from that which is not, does it make a difference?
Fons- Yeah! Now first of all one note, passion is not only waving your hands. Passion can be done by very relaxed people I mean, with relaxed non expressive people. I know fins, like the iceman, Raoconen in order, the driver, he is known as the iceman, but if you talk to him, you know he is loaded with passion. So one thing, passion comes from the heart but it is not how it expresses, it has different ways of expressing itself. So it becomes very important that you also decipher ways people show passion. It is not only done by waving your hands.
Moustafa- Amazing! True again, 100% agree. And, so now we will move little bit into if things get tough while you were long the way in pursuing your passion and you pursuing your goals, what would help you stay, u know, focused and be able to deliver?
Fons- Now I indeed think, I think that (5.38) Ying & Yang is playing a role here.
Fons- Passion should be the result of something you keep on working hard on, you know like, some people say inspiration is 5% of your brilliant idea but 95% is hard work.
Fonts – And it’s sweat. And it’s the same with passion. You know I am passionate about what I do, but if you see all the things I have to do around it
Fons – Let’s take a couple of hours presentation I have to fly 12 hours, I have to be a taxi for at least 1 hour. If you add that up it’s hard work. It’s hard work.
Moustafa- Well, I mean it doesn’t get more passionate than us conducting the interview about passion in the car, we are two minutes away from the airport and you are still engaged in your own fire, talk passion and talk hard work, they come together, you know they feed eachother (6.25)………. 100% very true. Very well.
Fons- And the contrast is a lot of fun, because now I can say (6.32)…… I have done an interview in the car that was hard work and now I can relax on my flight back.
Moustafa- Beautiful! It gives that space for feeling of reward & deservance……….(6.39) I mean, look at the passionate smile, is he passionate or not? We love that. And I know the work you do and in consulting is a form of coaching in a way also.
Moustafa- In your opinion, what makes a good coach or a consultant that deals with leadership.
Fons- There was an author that I was just looking at in an interview, Aus and he wrote a book “Judas” And I was talking as a Jew on the Palestinian, Israeli problem. And he said, “You know the problem is that we Jews, but also the Palestinians, are not any more taking the position of the other. And I think as a leader and as a coach, it’s all about that. It says, we need two things, curiosity and humor. Curiosity is the courage you take to take the position of the other, and really understand why they act as they act.
Fons- On both sides. And humor is the sense of rare activity. And I think, these two things will make you a great leader and a great coach.
Moustafa- Curiosity and humor
Fons- Because humor is too opposite logic that suddenly both turn logical and it makes you laugh.
Fons- And that combination you know with curiosity that you see the other view point is a great point of the party.
Moustafa- Awesome!! Thank you very much for…
Moustafa- It’s been amazing!
Moustafa- Awesome. We are right at the airport and I can’t tell you this has been the best interview I have ever had and probably will be for a while. Stay with us, stay focussed, stay passionate (8.13)…
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Until next episode, live passionately!