Communicating the WHY
16 years ago, while studying in Tasmania, I met this girl called Kate. She was the hottest thing in the school and though she was not interested in me at all, I won her heart and today we live in Balmain, Sydney, with three children.
I tell you this because this is my WHY. This is my story. This is why I get up out of bed every morning and why I’m in business. I’m still passionate about making a difference in other peoples lives and impacting businesses in a positive way, but when push comes to shove, my WHY is for my wife and kids.
In our corporate lives, our working lives and our personal lives, we get so caught up with the ‘What’ and ‘How’. How are we going to smash budget this month? How are we going to engage the disengaged? What are we going to do about all the changes that are happening? What are the strategies and systems needed to move forward through this uncertainty? Even our vision & mission statements are focussed on the ‘What and How’. “We provide the BEST quality product & services while maintaining high integrity and operate within the framework of our value system”. Yet with all the focus on the ‘What and How’, we miss the most vital ingredient that can set us apart from everyone else, and it’s clarity on our WHY.
The WHY is the core story of an organisation or individual. It’s the reason why we do what we do and what drives our passion and energy. Most think that our why is for more $$$ we can put into the bank or as simple as paying the mortgage. But I beg to differ. Making more money is a result, and there is a reason behind why we pay the mortgage. We need to get down to the core of who we are and why we are doing what we’re doing, in the first place. If we can communicate effectively our corporate core story and ignite a compelling WHY into the team, then we will see a massive shift of greater productivity, successfulness rates and profitability. Our WHY is connected to how we feel; we feel good paying the mortgage so we can retire well, we feel good making money so we can create better lives for ourselves, our families and wider communities.
Take a look at Groupon, the fastest growing company ever, according to Forbes. They communicate with their following, not HOW they do it or even WHAT they do, they communicate in a way that makes their followers feel good about their purchase. Have a look at Apple, they don’t sell us on what they do, or even how they do it, but we buy because they make us feel good about the purchase.
This is what GREAT leaders do, they inspire through communicating a compelling reason why, which in turn makes teams feel good about wanting to achieve that goal. Yet, remember that happiness should NOT be connected to your goal, it has to be connected with your WHY.
Just five years ago, I had a major car accident that changed everything in my world. Yet while I was still in my car, and the paramedics were trying hard to save me, I thought about three questions that gave me clarity on my WHY.
Am I passionate?
Am I caring?
Am I making a difference?
Get your teams and people around you connected to their why. Strategies, systems, processes, things to do today lists, and the like will NEVER work to it’s capacity if the core story of WHY we do what we do is not communicated effectively.
Get your WHY right… Everything else will fall into place!