**By August Turak Article
“I was having lunch with one of my clients, the CEO of a rapidly growing mid-size company, when I casually asked for his job description. He smiled and said, “Well, if you followed me around you’d probably think I do lots of things. But I only have one job. I build passion. Most people think talent is in short supply. Hell, the papers are full of stories about regular folks working miracles when something they really care about is on the line. Talent is not in short supply. Passion is. My job is showing people that what we’re doing is worth doing. I provide the whys so our people can provide the hows. Once passion is in place,” he said with a big grin, “my job becomes insisting that people use their vacation and trying to stay out of the way.”
… prisoners are some of the most creative and innovative people. Turning toothpaste tubes into lethal weapons demonstrates their improvisational knack for engineering and product development; their creative selling skills, though usually manipulative, are legendary; and when it comes to applying the law in creative ways, jail house lawyers are second to none. …
The first secret is that prisoners have a high overarching mission that transcends engineering, product development, sales, or law. Whether applied to their fellow prisoners, prison regulations, or the prison itself the prisoner’s mission is freedom. Acquiring all the requisite skills is merely the by-product. The lesson here is that if we don’t have a galvanizing mission personally and organizationally all the skills in the world won’t spare us mediocrity.
Next, prisoners are not only emotionally committed to this mission they are in fact institutionally committed. Like Cortez burning his ships, they have no line of retreat. Freedom is not just a mission. It is mission critical. … A high overarching mission coupled with commitment produces urgency. Urgency in turn produces the single minded focus that is the prisoner’s third innovative hallmark. … The fourth element is that prisoners are willing to pay the price. The fifth prison secret to creativity is patience.” – Article