For over 17 years, my business life has revolved around building and growing tech companies from startup through success. Doing this is a job, no doubt. But if that’s all that it was, there’s no way I would have been able to achieve the things I have throughout my career. Nor would I have enjoyed the past 17 years of my life nearly as much. No, tech entrepreneurship is more than just a job for me. It is a passion!
In April of 2013, I was named the CEO of Cyrus Innovation, we craft mobile and web apps for clients. I have been with the company for over 9 amazing years, and in that time I have further developed my core values to where I now honor honesty, courage, and fairness above all else. But since I was named CEO just a few short months ago, one thing became crystal clear. None of those three vital values are enough without the glue that holds them all together… PASSION.
At Cyrus, building around passion is my major focus as the CEO. This applies to every area of the business, from the company’s leadership, to its employees, products, and even clients. I have developed some rules on how to best do this, which should be helpful to anyone who wants to make passion a bigger part of their business or work life.
1. Set the tone at the top. As the CEO of Cyrus, I have to be the one who sets the example for all my employees to follow. And that starts with showing up to work each day wearing my passion on my sleeve. You’d be amazed at how much more productivity you will get out of your employees when they know they’re working for someone who truly cares about what they do. Passion is infectious, so put it out there at the top, and it will surely trickle down to all levels of your organization.
2. Hire for passion. A Harvard degree is impressive, but hiring an employee with one won’t do you any good if they don’t believe in what your company stands for. And while it’s the top-level management’s job to inspire passion, an employee who just sees what they’re doing as nothing more than a job will never reach their full potential. That’s why you need to put some hiring practices in place to make sure you only bring on employees who really care. And when you realize you have made a mistake with a hire, which happens to all of us, don’t hesitate to correct the problem.
3. Reward Passion. Even the most passionate person needs to know that the great things they bring to the table are not going unnoticed. So make sure you show your best employees that you see and appreciate all the things they’re doing. This will not only keep them motivated, but also act to motivate their peers.
4. Listen to your employees. For starters, seriously consider policies and procedures that are suggested by your workers, and try to implement them whenever possible. Another suggestion is to put employees in places and on projects that they truly believe in. At Cyrus, we may have multiple software development projects going on at one time. It’s my job as the CEO to assess what’s in the pipeline and put employees on projects that they believe in and will excel at.
5. Take on projects you are passionate about. Not all projects and clients are created equally. That’s why at Cyrus, we have adopted a policy of only taking engagements we are truly excited about. And to go even farther, we will only pursue a potential new client if we have a champion inside the organization that’s passionate enough about the client to completely dedicate themselves to winning the account and personally tending to the project. This helps us to only take on projects that are right for us, our employees, and our clients, resulting in much better relationships, performance, and finished products.