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MARKETING CLINIC: Passion is number one

MARKETING CLINIC: Passion is number one

I've always loved the word passion and what it stands for - saying it out loud is even better. I suppose being Spanish helps!! Admittedly, eating the fruit bearing the same name does not create the same enthusiasm within me.

In my last missive to you (October 18, page 42), I talked about Gary Hamel's 10 fundamental rules that enable companies to reach new heights of growth and success. I focused on two of these - setting unreasonable expectations (rule one) and creating a cause, not a business (rule three).

I indicated I wanted to talk about a few other of Hamel's fundamental rules next time we met but I have been doing a bit of reading on David Pottruck and so my thoughts are focused on the man and what he can reveal to all of us. Pottruck is the joint CEO of Charles Schwabb - you know, the guy who coined the phrase, "clicks and mortar". I mentioned Charles Schwabb in underlining the importance of creating a cause, not a business, in my last article.

Charles Schwabb is opening up for business in Australia in the next few months and Pottruck is confident of success in what many would call an overcrowded online discount broking market place. It has nothing to do with arrogance but everything to do with passion.

Pottruck, with highly acclaimed leadership consultant Terry Pearce, co-authored the widely read book titled Clicks and Mortar: Passion driven growth in an Internet driven world. I suppose it had a lot to do with the enormous fortitude, energy and commitment (not to mention success) in the processes necessary to swing a financial services behemoth onto the open global market called the Web.

Let's not forget that passion was behind Chuck Schwabb and David Pottruck's commitment to convert Charles Schwabb, the US's biggest discount broking house focusing on the "little guys", into the world's largest online broking company. Earnings (yes a rare e-word with financial sex appeal) this year have totalled more than $US688 million.

And the book's message? Success in the Internet is not about building a great Web site, rather the combination of people and technology to deliver an unmatched customer experience in the market place. But it all boils down to how old economy companies need PASSION, culture and the hearts and souls of their employees to get it together on the Web and into the year 2001.

In a rare interview (but I suppose linked to the imminent launch of the company in Australia), Pottruck spoke with BOSS magazine recently, where he stated, " . . . it is all around building a workforce of passionate people who believe in the mission of the organisation, who want to be a part of something and who are willing to constantly change."

He insists that the people the company takes on must, above all else, be excited by change. "Everything changes around here except the values of the company, who we are and why we are in business, and that's got to stay the same." Schwabb hires new folk with attitude - not skill. People who believe that the work they do for clients really matters is what it is all about - not the Net, not the new economy, not globalisation.

Pottruck was asked what he thought about Australian financial service leaders' obsession with closing branches and scaling down good old face-to-face service. He passionately claimed he loved their strategy - so Schwabb can fill the gap!

In summary, you have to have a heart, you have to have energy, you must have love for change - and by golly you'd better love passion. I maintain that it helps if you're ethnic.

Oh well, somehow I did not get onto those additional Hamel rules - you see, when I get passionate about something, all else gets relegated to "next". In this case, it looks like next month! Passionate apologies.

Dolores diez is managing director of rivers of communication. Reach her at rivers@hotkey.net.au


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