In last month’s edition of Growth Matters, I asked what motivates you to get up in the morning and go to work? Is it the paycheck or your passion? Do you love your job or is it a means to a financial end? Passion drives success for individuals and businesses alike. The earlier you pinpoint your passion and the more you adhere to it, the greater your success will be.

Your passion(s) may lead you in unexpected directions. Passionate people tend to be more interesting, have more life experiences, and are enthusiastic, and this draws other people to them. Passionate people tend have more fun, are more upbeat, and find personal rewards in what they do with money.

If you lack passion, if you are struggling through your days, ask yourself, “What can I do to feel happier?” If your work is dragging you down and your passion isn’t work related, don’t worry. But do think about how to integrate your passions into a paycheck. If you’re not enjoying your days, it is hard to add value to any organization you work with. Plus, you’re short changing yourself.

Of course, passion alone does not equal success, and even successful people can struggle with lapses in their careers. The late Steve Jobs was a deeply passionate man — driven, committed and profoundly sure of himself. Yet, he hit brick walls, and it has been reported that he was bullish about vision while struggling to communicate his thought and ideas.

This brings me to my next piece of advice: When you find your passion, make sure you are able to communicate your vision to others. Good communication skills are important no matter how driven and talented you are. This is especially true in business.

As I have written in the past articles, good communication just may be the single, most difficult challenge people face at work. Why? Because translating to others what is in your head, with clarity and accuracy, is not easy.

Ensuring that whomever you’re speaking with actually understands what you’re saying, adds another level of challenge. Then, feeding that understanding out to larger and larger groups of people is even more complex. And ensuring that you understand what others are thinking about you, your products or business adds another level of complexity.

Communication is the most challenging part of running a business or being an employee. Yet, a communications team is one area that many businesses will conservatively fund and often will cut out of budgets, when there is a financial challenge at work. Why? Simply because the bean counters can’t clearly measure its value.

It is true, you can’t clearly measure the value of a strong communications team in the same terms that you can measure the value of a sale, inventory costs, or the price of an installation, but this in no way says or even implies, that good communications (internally or externally) isn’t valuable or critical to success. There may be nothing more critical, especially if your business is experiencing strain.

Perhaps you believe that your sales team is your communications channel? Ask yourself: Do they manage internal communications? Do they manage your customers’ relationships after sales? Is the sales team motivated or incentivized to manage the ongoing relationship or just the number of customers they bring in? Who manages ongoing customer relationships (not relations) with the company?

Work plays a critical role in all of our lives and many of us spend more time at work than with our families. In a business, we set up strategies, systems, and processes to get jobs done or products sold, but rarely do we pay attention to the interpersonal communications with our colleagues and customers that ensure a healthy, successful result.

Great customer service is vital, but good internal communications within a company are crucial too. For example, does your human resources team manage your internal communications, or do your managers? Is there one fluid, interactive communication process? Do your employees have the opportunity to discuss their ideas or concerns in an open forum?

 These are important questions to answer because successful communication is critical to retaining passionate employees. Whether your business is large or small — always make sure your communication (both internal and external) lines are open and easily accessible to everyone. If you want to read more, you can find my stories in the “thinking out loud” section on my website,