Times Group HR director shares 4 rules of passion-driven leadership

By Amit Das

Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. (The Times Group)

Mumbai, India


I have always been inclined toward discovering my passion and understanding the purpose of my journey in life. One might ask, why? For many people, the driving passion and purpose are the same.

But for me, passion and purpose possess distinct identities, despite being two sides of the same coin.

How? Since early on, I have always wanted to find and do things that added meaning to my life. Over time, I realised it especially helped me in challenging situations. The clarity of purpose always ignited my passion to focus on the things that were meaningful to me, and move ahead and enjoy life, both personally and professionally.

Airbnb is an example of a company that leans on purpose and passion. Image courtesy of Andrea Davis on Unsplash.
Airbnb is an example of a company that leans on purpose and passion. Image courtesy of Andrea Davis on Unsplash.

Eventually, I allowed my passion to synergise with my purpose, which catapulted into my profession — the fascinating field of human resources.

The journey hasn’t been easy. As an HR practitioner, I had to seamlessly traverse the continuum from extending support to becoming an enabler and transforming into a value creator for the enterprise.

But one thing I always share with my team is this: The purpose is the reason for your journey and passion is the fire that lights the way! Today, as a leader, supporting others to find their purpose that ignites the passion and helps them create significant value at work has become my way of professional life.

What helps me achieve this — and more — is my rule, BLUE:

  • Belief: Passionately believe in your purpose and pursue it relentlessly.
  • Learn: Learn continuously and consistently. As Steve Jobs said, there is always “one more thing to learn.”
  • Undying intent: You need undying intent to accomplish or reach a goal with a bias for action. The universe doesn’t give you something by mere thought; it gives you what you demand with your actions.
  • Evaluate: Evaluate what you achieve, because success needs to have tangible measures for impact.

It is pertinent to explain the rule of BLUE with a relatable example.

We are all aware of the emergence and success story of Airbnb, which has an innovative business model that pioneered shared living for travellers. It’s interesting when you relate the story from the BLUE lens.

Brian Chesky and Joe Gebbia realised they could make a quick buck by renting out the air mattress in their living room to travellers visiting San Francisco for a big conference. Their firm belief evolved into a passionate idea, and they created a Web site where globe trotters and travellers could mind an economical, yet personalised, option for accommodation other than a hotel.

Their ability to consistently learn from their customers’ feedback and insights enabled them to keep improving on their offerings and value-added, customised features, thus adding more loyal customers.

Their undying intent to excel in customer experience, with a high degree of agility to create moments of delight, enhanced the pool of loyal customers, who also became their advocates. They also smartly leveraged Craigslist to drive traffic and listings on their Web site.

And, of course, they had to evaluate their success at every milestone of their remarkable journey, which gets measured by its soaring valuation. They not only discovered the larger purpose but leveraged it to fuel their passion, and the rest is history. They gave birth to a new innovative business model of “network orchestrator” by igniting the passion of shared living, where business stakeholders work independently yet collaboratively, to create significant value for everyone in the ecosystem.

Having explained the rule of BLUE, the recent COVID-19 pandemic would compel me to add an ”S” for “sincerity” to call it BLUES for chief human resources officers who need to demonstrate compassion and care with extreme sincerity for their employees. They have consistently communicated and connected with the hearts and minds of their employees, which helps align with the larger purpose of the organisation and ride through such crisis toward collective success.

When I reflect back on my professional journey over the last three decades as an HR professional, the rule of BLUE has been my constant companion and guiding star, in fulfillment of my purpose with passion.

Banner image courtesy of Ian Schneider on Unsplash.

About Amit Das

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