Selflessness key to a passionate business

“Small businesses are more likely to have passionate people or passionate people are more likely to be in small businesses,” says August Turak, author of “Business Secrets of the Trappist Monks: One CEO’s Quest for Meaning and Authenticity.”

“They’re much more closely associated with the mission of the organization. Passionate people can accomplish anything,” says Turak, a leading voice on workplace spirituality. “Group them together and the ordinary challenges of business are much diminished.”

What makes for a passionate business? Selflessness, Turak writes, takes over when “sense of time disappears” and people no longer think about themselves. He adds that this state nourishes happiness, productivity and spontaneity.

How does this concept translate to small-business employees? Paul Jacobs, chief investment officer in the Atlanta office of Palisades Hudson Financial Group LLC, manages five financial planners. Jacobs, who is a financial planner himself, he describes a passionate business as one “where employees feel comfortable and are motivated to serve their customers as best they can.”

Isabelle Fish extends this concept considerably for her employees. She’s president of Rue Pigalle Inc., a boutique costume jeweler in Toronto, with jewelry and accessories from independent designers primarily in Europe, but also the United States and Israel.

She views a passionate business as “one that creates, expresses and shares emotion throughout the whole process. If a staff member feels it but can’t express or share it with customers, my chain is broken.”


Turak says two kinds of organizations, transformational and unconsciously transformational, help employees step outside of themselves. The first has a mission of selfless service, as in monasteries, the Marine Corps, Alcoholics Anonymous and the IBM Executive School. These groups use their own specific method to nourish selflessness.

Smaller organizations tend to be unconsciously transformational, “‘accidentally’ offering people transformative experiences.”

Fish inspires her staff by conveying that she truly values their work, integrating them in all parts of the process and watching for joie de vivre.

“Show that it’s important to what you’re doing and that without them, you couldn’t function,” she says. “Share your emotions.” She watches for emotion and interest in the story behind each item.

Palisades Hudson, in all four of its locations, hires new grads only “to mold them into financial professionals and avoid any preconceived notions of the best way of doing business,” Jacobs reports. “Then we build career paths for them so they can enjoy and be passionate about working.”

Dr. Mildred L. Culp of WorkWise® welcomes your questions at © 2013 Passage Media.

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