The Pain of Round Pegs in Square Holes

Passion is essential but it doesn’t solve everything.

About a month ago I invited one of our lead people to take on a new role. It’s not working out and it’s my fault. They were passionate; but now I see frustration. They’re out of their sweet spot.

Passion isn’t omnipotence or aptitude. For example, I’m passionate that initiatives are completed efficiently with spectacular results. That doesn’t make me a great organizer. I’m learning; but I look to others for that expertise.

It’s my fault when the right people end up doing the wrong things. My job is to maximize the potential of people in my care. I failed this person.

A basic premise:

Dynamic organizations consist of energized individuals doing things they love. When dedicated people lose their passion leaders take action.

Act quickly:

It only took a couple weeks to realize I’d blown it. I went to “Joe,” not his real name, and said, “I want you doing things you love doing. I think you’re great at short-term projects but long-term organization frustrates you.” He concurred.

Organizational commitment:

I reiterated our commitment to create an organization where people do things they love doing.

Finally, I committed to him that we would figure out how to keep him focused on things he loves doing and protect him from things that frustrate him.


Since then, I’ve be working to reassign and better leverage our talent. Two people are shifting focus and one is stepping into new responsibilities. Joe will be in his sweet spot.


Personal struggles may temporarily cool the passion of an otherwise passionate employee or volunteer. When that happens support them. On the other hand, cooling passion may be your fault. In either case, leaders always take responsibility to fuel fires.

What do you do when the right people are doing the wrong things?


Don’t miss a single issue of Leadership Freak, subscribe todayIt’s free.  It’s private.  It’s always practical and brief.

Go to the main page of Leadership Freak by clicking the banner at the top of this page, look in the right-hand navigation bar, enter your email and click subscribe.  Your email address is always kept private.  Note:  if it doesn’t arrive, check your spam filter for a confirmation email.