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Name of author Rick Baker, P.Eng.

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Are you too busy to know other people’s businesses?

by Rick Baker
On Sep 29, 2016

Common sense tells us:

  • Most people look for a fair deal, where both parties exchange value,
  • Some people look to cheat others, heads I win - tails you lose, and
  • Some people look to help others, expecting little or nothing in return.

Those three things probably fit nicely in a bell curve, where the norm is business people exchanging fair value with one another.

That's the viewpoint here: most business people do business with one another in an effort to obtain some value and deliver some value in exchange.

People exchanging value - that's the essence of business.

If you agree with that then to grow business you must increase the exchange of value. And, as you work to increase the exchange of value you will do better if you know how both parties define the value they seek and the value they deliver.

Most business people just scratch the surface of value exchange. Sales people tend to know the value they think they're delivering. Purchasing people tend to know the value they think they're receiving. Sales people may make a serious effort to try to determine what the purchasing people want to receive. Purchasing people may make a serious effort to try to understand what the sales people want to receive. But it's highly unlikely their thoughts go beyond those things. For example, sales people do not understand what value the sales people who work at the purchasing person's company are looking to receive or deliver.  And, vice-versa, purchasing people do not understand what value the purchasing people who work at the sales person's company are looking to receive or deliver.

Even worse, sales people do not understand the value the purchasing people at their organization are trying to receive and deliver and purchasing people don't know the value their organization's sales people are trying to receive and deliver.

People tend to know what they want and what they're prepared to deliver in exchange for it. However, they have a much smaller understanding of what other people want and are trying to deliver in exchange for it.

The applies within companies. This applies between companies. This applies between people.

Some years ago we addressed this with our Clients' Clients Philosophy.

Here are the starting-point questions …

  • What value do you want to receive from people at other companies?
  • What value do you want to deliver to people at other companies?
  • What value do other people in your company want to receive from people at other companies?
  • What value do people in other companies want to receive from other people in your company?


People who possess an ongoing curiosity around questions about what other people value have the opportunity to excel in business, to excel in interpersonal relationships, and to deliver and receive tremendous value.

Some people are too busy. So, they don't get these things…and they don’t get most of the other things they want.

We know the right things to do...even while we are not doing them.

by Rick Baker
On Sep 29, 2016

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

Most of the time we know the right things to do, yet, often, we don't do those right things. 

In particular, we tend to do things that offer short-term gain over long-term gain. Dieting provides a good example. Most diets work if people follow them. Most people don't follow them. So, the reality is most attempts at dieting fail.


Beyond Business | Thought Tweets

Respond to cries for help with listening ears, seeing eyes and thinking brains...rather than with your cries for help..

by Rick Baker
On Sep 29, 2016

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

As Eckhart Tolle said, “Most people respond to a cry for help with a cry for help”.

You can find plenty of opportunities to break that communication pattern!


Communication: Improving Communication | Emotions & Feelings @ Work | Thought Tweets

Negative thinking cannot be band-aided into insignificance: it is a thick, multi-layered, multi-textured problem.

by Rick Baker
On Sep 28, 2016

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

When you witness negativity, what do you think?

  • Do you have the ability to understand the negative person's position/situation/perspective?

When you witness negativity, what do you do?

  • Do you deliver the help that is required, to the extent you have the ability to help?

What if that negativity you witness is your own?

  •  Are you able to self-monitor, self-regulate and get back into good habits?


Dreams of a better future light the path to that better future.

by Rick Baker
On Sep 28, 2016

The Thinking Behind The Tweet

"Past and future are dreams; now is a reality. All things are now; all power, all possibility, all action, is now."

British author/philosopher James Allen said that in 1903. It seems to me Allen's advice is a key to what most people refer to as 'time management'. I mean, if people pay more attention to the present and less attention to agonizing over the past and worrying about the future then they will feel less stressed...and they will feel like they have more time.

On the other hand, we should not be too harsh on dreamsonly dreams of a better future generate that future. As 2 examples, Marconi proved this...so did Martin Luther King Jr.


Thought Tweets | Vision: The Leader's Vivid Vision | Wisdom: Surviving the Test of Time

It's time to stamp out Passion and Love in our Workplaces!

by Rick Baker
On Sep 28, 2016

When people say “passion in the workplace”:

  • What does that mean to you? 
  • What does that mean to them?

It seems the ‘motivational gurus’ cannot break the habit of using the word 'passion' when talking about ideal workplaces and their followers cannot get beyond feeling little twinges of inspiration, albeit incredibly short lived twinges, when they hear messages about 'passion in the workplace'.

But – really – what does all this talk about 'passion in the workplace' mean and does it contain any value?

Bottom lines… 

For donors of motivational messages about workplace-passion: Do these people actually care or think about the meaning of the word passion or do they just spew out the word, because they believe it’s in vogue or because they cannot stop themselves from riding the wake of a cliché? 

For recipients who are inspired by workplace-passion messages: What, exactly, are they thinking when they get inspired? Specifically, what does the word passion mean to them?

Some context…

Here’s the way the Merriam-Webster Dictionary presents the various meanings of the word passion:

Simple Definition of PASSION

  • a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something
  • a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way
  • a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone

Full Definition of PASSION

1. often capitalized: a) the sufferings of Christ between the night of the Last Supper and his death; b) an oratorio based on a gospel narrative of the Passion

2. obsolete :  suffering

3. the state or capacity of being acted on by external agents or forces

4.a) (1) emotion his ruling passion is greed (2) plural the emotions as distinguished from reason; b) intense, driving, or overmastering feeling or conviction; c) an outbreak of anger

5.a) ardent affection : love; b) a strong liking or desire for or devotion to some activity, object, or concept; c) sexual desire; d) an object of desire or deep interest

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

So this does not get too complicated…

…let’s just consider the Merriam-Webster dictionary’s Simple Definition of PASSION

  • a strong feeling of enthusiasm or excitement for something or about doing something (Bullet Point 1)
  • a strong feeling (such as anger) that causes you to act in a dangerous way (Bullet Point 2)
  • a strong sexual or romantic feeling for someone (Bullet Point 3)

Bullet Point 1 – Yes, this definition fits workplaces. At least, in theory, enthusiasm/excitement has the potential to be a productive driver in workplaces. Obviously, in practice, enthusiasm/excitement will face limitations in working people and in workplaces:  

  • for the former, there will be ‘good days and bad days’ where enthusiasm/excitement do and do not happen – after all, we are only human
  • for the latter, there will be ‘right times and places’ where enthusiasm/excitement fit and do not fit – after all, all those other people at our workplaces are also only human

All considered, the first simple definition fits workplaces. For example, if we were to say “We are enthusiastic about our work” or “We are excited about our work” then people would interpret these as good things…which makes me wonder – why don’t the motivational gurus just say those things instead of using the word 'passion'? [It seems to me the answer to that last questions rests somewhere between hyperbole and thick syrup.]

Bullet Point 2 – No, we do not want people to get angry and act in dangerous ways when they are at work. To the extent motivational gurus use the word passion to inspire people, most of us hope that inspiration will not result in angry mindsets and dangerous actions…which makes me wonder…why would the gurus take the risk of this interpretation by using the word passion? [It seems to me the answer to that last question must be they are 2nd bullet-point passionate about using the word 'passion' in their motivational messages.]

Bullet Point 3 – Now, you might find it discomforting that motivational gurus argue in favour of bringing strong sexual and romantic feelings to work…i.e., bringing love to work. I mean, you may be thinking there’s a time and place…and the workday isn’t the right time and the workplace isn’t the right place. Regardless, the motivational gurus, many of them for many years, have been arguing in favour of bringing passion and love to the workplace! 

As one example, here’s a very-recent Simon Sinek quote:

“True love exists in business. It's when employee and employer are amazingly grateful to have each other. We should all have true love at work.”

When I read that quote, I wondered if Simon Sinek has ever read a dictionary definition of the word ‘love’. For example, has he read the Merriam-Webster definition:

Simple Definition of LOVE

  • a feeling of strong or constant affection for a person
  • attraction that includes sexual desire : the strong affection felt by people who have a romantic relationship
  • a person you love in a romantic way

In this English language we use, there is a considerable difference between loving and being grateful. Arguments promoting "we should all have true love at work" are patently silly. And, unfortunately, Simon Sinek is not alone in his passion and love arguments. Clearly - the motivational gurus are going too far in their quest for catchy slogans and advice: they are squeezing clichés beyond the limits of common sense. 

Clearly, it's time to stamp out Passion and Love in our Workplaces!

PS: If you are eligible and you meet a willing recipient for your love and passion at your workplace then the above is not intended to dissuade you or the object of your affection. However, I must extend two suggestions of caution: (1) there is a time and a place so you may want to consider off-premises and after-hours for your exchange of love and passion and (2) don’t confuse your wonderfully-human emotions and mind-states with arguments that suggest your love and passion have anything to do with business cases, workplace excellence or ROI.

PPS: In recognition of my motivational hero, Napoleon Hill. Yes – Napoleon Hill championed the value of transmuting sexual energy into energy to be used for workplace thought and action [see Hill’s 1937 classic, ‘Think and Grow Rich’]. Hill saw the tremendous energy embedded in the emotions he described as 'love' and 'sex'. He recognized, if sex energies could be channeled [i.e., transmuted] into different endeavours, including business work, then the results could be stupendous. I expect the current motivational gurus haven't misunderstand/misinterpret Hill’s messages…after all, it seems they haven’t even taken the time to read dictionaries let alone the works of motivational leaders who did take the time to do very deep thinking before putting thoughts to their audiences.

PPPS: I recognize some workplaces rely upon passion and/or love - most of them deliver incredible humane and charitable services...others are are just plain illegal. 

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