Where is your passion?

While walking the dog this morning I heard an interview on Radio 4’s Today Programme with one of the victims of the Rotherham child sexual abuse scandal. Towards the end of the interview she questioned the motivations of some of the officials who had failed to act when she had approached them with complaints. She said, “if you do a job you should do it because you are passionate about it. Where was their passion? Where was their desire to save children’s lives?”

I often question how we have come to a way of organising society which treats far too many people as wage slaves who spend their days wishing for the clock hands to come round to 5pm so they can escape their drudgery. I myself have experienced having my passion for making the world a better place crushed out of me by risk-averse management and structures. Does it really need to be like this?

There are oh so many factors behind the Rotherham situation, but a good part of it must be down to organisational cultures, where people who did want to make a difference were blocked or squeezed out of the system to avoid rocking the boat. I know, I’ve been there.

So, if you are a manager, please think about what you are doing to allow people to flourish in your organisation and to pursue their passions. Passionate people make good employees. Compliant and subservient people do not. And, if you are an employee who is being prevented from following your passions, then, if you can, get out now and find somewhere where you can be happy in your work.

7 thoughts on “Where is your passion?

  1. John. Great stuff and do let me know if I can help in any way. I too, as I always do, listened to John Humphrey and Co this morning although, in between shouting at the radio, always feel their power, and well as the BBC’s. is disproportionate. Not least through their vast salaries and informal influence. Anyway, Rotherham et al and I’m sure we would agree that the major problem, which has never been deal with in a radical inter-discplinary way is to get citizens, and agencies, working together from the grass-roots upwards. Good to hear about Barnardo’s being commissioned, since they have considerable experience in community work initiatives, but I’m not sure what this does for, or leaves, other agencies. Including, planning, the police, social services et al in terms of realising that community development/social work dialogues provide some of the clues about a more progressive way forward. Co-operatively. Peter Durrant. 01223 415597.

  2. Absolutely – I’ve read the Rotherham report and cried over certain passages – both out of sadness and anger as the care that the children received was more about ticking boxes & marking out territory than actually helping the young people involved. In particular the laissez faire attitudes (very generous characterisation of the prevalent attitude) of the social workers involved made me put down the report at times because I couldn’t read on as it was too much. If you can’t be motivated / don’t want to do your job just get out of the way and let someone else who does do it.

    Rotherham grew out of a structure based on territory, politics of the most parochial kind and being the big fish in a little pond – but most importantly of forgetting what their principal role was – service to the community – protection , nurturing young people and serving the greater food of the local society.

    Dreadful, dreadful and the whole situation shouldn’t be swept under the carpet.

  3. A very powerful post John. We had someone speak at one of our events on running programmes and projects effectively, and one of the main points that came out was the importance of speaking truth to power. It’s led to Chris Bolton writing a series of posts on the issue (http://whatsthepont.com/tag/speaking-truth-to-power/). They may be a bit irreverent, but quite often it hits the nail on the head. Great blog, Dyfrig. PS Fully agree with Neil’s suggestion above about Helen Reynolds’ blog!

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