Simon says — The why factor is often a game changer

By Kelly Borth, Chief Strategy Officer at GREENCREST

Do you know why you get out of bed every day? Do you walk through your office door with a dance in your step? Do your employees know why they go to work every day? Do they execute with purpose and enthusiasm? Does your team know why your business exists and why it matters? If you’re thinking, “Why would anyone care?” read on.

As a brand development specialist, I think Simon Sinek is on to something. Inspired by a loss of passion for his work at the time, Sinek went in search of greater fulfillment. Discovery of his “why factor” changed his life and restored his passion — a passion he defines in his book, “Start with Why.”

Defining your purpose

As Sinek describes it, his theory is simple. We say what we do, we say how we do it, but few of us can say why we do what we do.

He draws on a pad his Golden Circle — three concentric circles, one inside the other. “Why” is the innermost circle and defines the purpose, cause or belief that drives the inspiration of why what you do matters. “How,” the second circle, explains how your company is different or better. “What” your company does is the outer circle.

There can be several competitors whose “what” sounds like yours. While most of us can easily state our “what” and some our “how,” only a few understand the “why”— the purpose of the company’s existence and why it matters.

According to Sinek, inspired organizations communicate from the inside out, which aligns with brand development.

Many of us focus on how to describe our differentiation, but to get to the core of an organization we need to understand why what we do matters.

Sinek says people don’t buy your “what.” They may sometimes buy your “how.” But buyers connect with your “why.” It is your company’s “why” that will drive them to buy from you.

Influencing choices

Why do your customers do business with you? Most businesses don’t know. Sometimes we can make an educated guess, but we are making assumptions.

I love Sinek’s argument that if you don’t know why your customers do business with you, you probably also don’t know why your employees work for you.

We need to be able to understand why our customers select us when there are many competitors that look and sound just like we do.

If you hire people to come to work for your “why,” rather than for your “what,” they will engage with their heart and soul, because their passion is aligned with yours.

When inspired by “why,” people perform beyond the norm in a way that can change their industries and, at times, the world we live in.

So what is your company’s “why?” If your answer is to earn a profit, listen to Sinek’s TED Talk. Simon defines profit as a result — not a purpose.

I challenge you to define your company’s purpose and see how your “why” can change our world to benefit future generations.

From Smart Business. Read more by Kelly Borth.