Keys To Success | How to keep the PASSION in your career by John J. Hogan

Keys To Success | How to keep the PASSION in your career | By John Hogan, CHA CMHS CHE CHO


It is not a word that most of us think about when we used adjectives to describe our work. Yet, work is where we spend approximately 25% or more of our time each week (if we work full time)

There are many employee engagement surveys and measurement tools in use these days, but I am going to offer a simpler approach. If your boss asked you to design the ingredients for the perfect workplace to guarantee job satisfaction and ongoing enthusiasm, what would you include?

Now do not read ahead, but think about this for a moment and imagine at least three things you would include in this Utopian environment.

Auren Uris in his 101 of the Greatest Ideas in Management, included some of these suggestions:

  • Recognition as a person and a professional, regardless of your chosen field, with the ability to have a voice in your work
  • Enjoyable and pleasant working conditions, including facilities, schedules, safety factors. etc.
  • Fair and competitive compensation and benefits
  • A sense of being part of the team, with both our associates and supervisors
  • The opportunity to personally grow and be challenged
  • Job security. This is in relation to performance based issues, and one that avoids the political infighting and maneuvering that is too often present in the workplace and often by minimally competent individuals

While your personal list would likely include some additional suggestions, these six make an excellent base. Yet, how many of us have even half of those items on the list?

I first wrote on this topic for the Birmingham Alabama, BUSINESS FIRST weekly business newspaper. I recently found an old comic strip story, in Sally Forth, where the 11-year-old daughter is asking her working mother for help in completing a school assignment. The question is on careers and the mother is asked if her job is “fun.” The mother responds that “fun” is not quite the right word for it. “Are you sure that is what it says?” she asks. The daughter spells F-U-N and the mother continues, “If work were fun, people would say ‘I’m going to fun’, rather than ‘I’m going to work.’ ” The daughter answers she is confused; the mother puts everything into perspective by telling the daughter to “just put down that I usually like my job.”

Many of us do “usually like our job,” yet we really don’t quite have the enthusiasm we probably thought we would have had when we committed ourselves to our chosen career awhile back. Is this because we do not have the personal commitment, or is it for other reasons? Have we let the less than ideal situation of our everyday job experience sour our disposition?

Nordstrom department stores, which originated in California seems to have overcome this attitude problem. Their approach is simple and so easy to understand that is baffling why business leaders in general do not follow their lead. The Nordstrom way of conducting business is summed up in this classified as that was reprinted in A PASSION FOR EXCELLENCE by Tom Peters and Nancy Austin:

Now Hiring – Wanted: People PowerIt’s something that Nordstrom, the West’s leading fashion specialty store, feels very strongly about.We are looking for experienced people who want to learn, grow and expand with us.

People who genuinely like people, who find satisfaction in helping others,
who go out of their way to be of service.

We need people with an eye for detail, a will to succeed.

Experienced people to handle sales

People to lead and people to follow.

We need people to make things go smoothly.

People with ideas.

All kinds of people with all kinds of potential.

People Power,
It’s the Difference at Nordstrom’s

I was the opening general manager at a luxury all suites hotel and used this format to set the tone pf our hiring blitz, which was at the worst time of year. We received outstanding applications and hired some great people – people who merely wanted to be appreciated and respected; people who wanted to have a voice, and be part of a team. This sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

Now, A PASSION FOR EXCELLENCE was published more than 20 years ago and I was curious what an internet search  would say about Nordstrom people and passion.

I was duly impressed by the range of comments and superlatives used by many different organizations in their assessment of the Nordstrom management philosophy commitment to each other after that 20-year period.

There is no easy answer in keeping the “passion” in one’s career, but below are a series of ideas that might work for you in keeping your inner spirit alive, regardless of your position in the company:

  1. Promise. To keep something alive, there has to be spark of an ideal to begin with, Most of us have the desire to succeed, but the notion of the ideal has become dormant. Resurrect that submerged ideal as an achievable goal.
  2. Plan. To merely wish for something is seldom enough to reach it. Goal setting and a road map are critical to top performance and to achieving success on anything of value.
  3. Persist. It usually takes careful balance to know when to quit or when to change course lightly, to go around, rather than wasting time and energy trying to go through an obstacle.
  4. Perspire. It has been said that someone once asked Thomas Edison if he had become discouraged when he had allegedly tried 10,000 unsuccessful ways to make a battery work. He responded just the opposite with the comeback that he knew 10,000 ways NOT to make one work. He also said that genius was 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. FYI- Edison was awarded 1368 separate and distinct patents during his lifetime
  5. Passion. If you don’t look forward to going to work in the morning, you’ve probably lost (or perhaps never had) passion. Try some diversion to rejuvenate yourself. They can be anything from whistling to singing, from an afternoon movie by yourself to a refresher course in the subject of your choice. Change your routine, so that work can again become exciting and challenging
  6. Payoff. This is the reward, You set the prize and work your way through the first four steps to reach the passion. Passion does not mean being a workaholic, rather energetically enjoying your career and making others take notice.

“Six essential qualities that are the key to success: Sincerity, personal integrity, humility, courtesy, wisdom, charity.” William Menninger

What is the state of your PASSION today?
Keys to Success Hospitality Tip of the Week:
Consider & introduce incentives for staff in different departments.
Examples can range from a free lunch to a 3 day weekend trip. Be creative!


John Hogan       Kathleen Hogan


Kathleen Hogan Ireland Sept 2013John Hogan Sept 2013DSCN0215Dr. John Hogan CHA CMHS CHE CHO and Kathleen Hogan MBA CHO are the co-founders of, which was created in 2010 to be a resource for hotel owners and professionals as they sought to improve market share, occupancy, operational efficiency and profitability.  The husband and wife team are transitioning the original membership site concept and evolving the business model today to a focused resource offering consulting, training, and individualized support to both hospitality and other service businesses.   Services include keynote addresses workshops, online support, metrics measurement, marketing and customer service from a group of more than a dozen experienced professionals.   While continuing to serve hospitality, the demand for these types of services is growing and can be personalized.

John Hogan is also the principal of, which provides a range of expert professional services for hotel owners, including professional development for organizations, training, consulting and expert witness services.

Contact information:  Kathleen Hogan  480-436-0283, John Hogan 602-799-5375 or