In engineering, starting with Why is a fundamental step towards understanding new products or features. If you know Why you’re doing what you’re doing you’re more likely to have a strategy that truly meets your goals. And, a failure to ask and answer that question can be the single greatest oversight an engineer makes when it comes to work. When engineers have a strong sense of Why they are doing the assigned work, they manage to be more productive and motivated in everything they do. In short, the Why is like the North Star that guides an engineer in the messy day-to-day work.
The same analogy applies to leadership. As a leader, if your strategies are built on the foundational question of “WHY” you’ll be able to stand yourself and your organization apart.
In the book, Start With Why by Simon Sinek it is shown that the leaders who’ve had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, which is a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.
Here “why” means: What’s your purpose? What’s your belief? What’s your cause? Why does your organization exist? Why do you wake up every morning and why should anyone care? By making the Why your driving purpose, leaders set out not to “be the first,” instead they set out to serve others. As a leader, here are some areas where you can implement the Why:
When hiring new members of the team, start with Why. This will help potential employees self-select as to whether they believe in our cause. The goal here is not just to hire people who need a job but to hire people who resonate with your beliefs. Because people hired just for getting the job done, work for the money. Whereas, people who believe in what you believe, work alongside you and help you grow your business. They will sustain through the inevitable ups and downs and even if other companies offer them a better salary and title, they will think twice before exploring those opportunities.
At BNI, we use our core values to inform candidates about our Why. By highlighting the importance of Givers Gain, we ensure that the new member aligns with our culture, fundamental beliefs and values of our business.
While making strategic decisions, there are going to be plenty of people who will tell you what to do and what not to do. But if you have your Why answered clearly and appropriately then you’ll be able to make the right decision. Even research has shown that decisions made after asking the questions revolving around Why tend to be faster and higher-quality decisions.
Business and Sales
In a sales pitch or business deal, start with Why to help your potential customer self-analyse if they believe or relate with your cause. If they do, they will buy into the Why and will become a loyal customer of your organization. Well, that’s what Apple did, they communicated their Why through a campaign called “Think Different.” Millions and millions of people all over the world still identify with their Why. They would not think twice before camping out overnight and lining up for hours to get their hands on the newest iPhone.
So how do you plan to implement the Why in your business? Let us know in the comments below: