A colleague sent me this picture, after an unexpected late Spring snow dump afforded her and her mountaineering colleagues an extension to their snow season in the picturesque Bavarian Alps (Southern Germany).
The colleague in the image started skiing at age 4. She has spent her life in or near the alps – skiing, including giant slalom, snow boarding, mountaineering, climbing. It is her passion – and the environment around her supports that passion.
I’m not a good skier, I enjoy trying, but I can understand my colleagues’ passion for all things alpine, and no doubt many others can, too. And if they can’t – maybe they can connect to her need to embrace her passion – and to share it with others.
Finding one’ s passion is not an easy journey; finding an environment that supports that passion is no less arduous – making a commitment to pursue and foster both is a hard path to tread, and like the beautiful Bavarian alps – with their glaciated lakes, seasonal wild flowers, bell wearing cattle, and enticing yet threatening mountain peaks – following passion is a challenging – and often – public journey.
It would be so much easier if passion could be kept to oneself – then its quirky unruly nature, it’s peripatetic bio-rhythms, ups and downs, ins and outs – mountain peaks and valleys, troughs and crests, droughts and floods – could be – on the surface at least – contained. But passion is not about containment and control – it’s about morphing, letting go – change.
Passion is about adapting, developing, using and creating opportunities.
For the passionate individual exploring future trends is never enough – it is what is beyond these trends – what lies in the unknown – that is their driver. And it is this driver that fuels the fires of:
- creative genius
- risk taking
- acumen – business and creative,
- alignments and alliances – where others see difference and divergence
- solutions and opportunities – where others see problems
- confidence and courage – when others experience doubt, fear, anxiety
- motivation and inspiration – while others experience monotony, boredom
- personal satisfaction and commitment – while others expect alienation and disengagement
- innovative structure – while others experience rules and regulatory control.
Without passion it is very hard to create any thing but control, routine, mandatory rules and regulations – some might suggest – institutionalised boredom.
In many instances, routine, control, mandatory rules and regulations are necessary and highly appropriate, but what about those instances when mandatory rules and regulations need to be aligned with individual life experiences, values and expectations? Such alignments are a daily occurrence in most large organisations from multi-national corporations to primary schools. They are the bread and butter, rice, millie meal – of the Learning and Development Consultant.
In the everyday humdrum of emails, paperwork, deadlines, KPI”s, endless meetings, texts and budgets – there are no jaw dropping vistas of snow capped mountains; no adrenalin pumping out of comfort zone activities; no inspiring sunsets or ocean views. There are deadlines, computer screens, smart device screens, way too much information, emails, snail mail, too much traffic, public transport disruptions, school pickups and drop offs, challenging clients, digital disruptions, rules and regulations, expectations, successes, mistakes and failures. Yet it is in this environment that Creative Genius comes to life – and passion is released.
Creating is the ability to develop resources that support the alignment of e.g., organisational attributes and future capability directives with individual values, experiences, and senses of self. It is the ability to find and connect truths: those of the organisation’s and those of the people who experience that organisation – all stake holders.
Genius – is the ability to deliver this creation in the most mundane of regulatory systems and circumstances – in the daily grind/routine of an organisation’s life, and that life includes the experiences of those that make up the organisational organism.
To write a report that highlights e.g., the alignment between an organisation’s Leadership and Commercial skills and the needs of its clients, markets and stakeholders, is a highly desirable skill. It demands high levels of analytical ability. But it does not demand Creative Genius, nor does it demand creating genius in others – it negates that responsibility in a flurry of words, examples, power points and letter head.
It is the responsibility of the Learning and Development consultant to Create Genius – with the mediums they work with, e.g., bringing an organisation’ s mission statement to life for all its clients.
Moreover, it is the responsibility of the Learning and Development Consultant to:
- create environments that foster the development of Creative Genius, and
- share the passion of creating genius with others.
Creating Genius is a lonely path, because it demands we explore our passion, and passion is old-school. Passion demands the hard-yards are put in; it demands, disruptions – digital or otherwise.
Passion demands change – the path less trodden, and – just when we start to feel comfortable with our lonesome journey – passion demands to be shared. For the Learning and Development Consultant that translates into endless late Spring snowfalls – endless opportunities – wherever we are, to foster and Create Genius – in ourselves and others.
Creating Genius can – by its very nature – and with the appropriate resources, happen anywhere with anyone. Snowfalls of opportunities may come in the guise of information overload, stressed CEO’s, Mission Statements that are not empirically supported, or staff alienated from accreditation processes and purposes.
Whatever the medium – to the Learning and Development Consultant – they should be opportunities to Create and SHARE Genius: to bring- not just strategic directives to life – but, more importantly, people and their passions, too.