Simon Sinek in his book ‘Start with Why’ says that ‘people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it’. WHAT can change but WHY is simple. It’s the discipline to never veer from the cause.
It captures the heart. The vision, the cause, is the why. It can grab someone’s imagination as they begin to see what could be possible.
It’s bigger than what we do. Why isn’t what. What we do can almost be irrelevant when we understand why we are doing it. That kind of belief can help build great success.
It keeps us going when it gets tough. What we do can get boring, inconvenient or tiresome. On those cold, rainy days we can opt out of ‘what’. The why reminds about the difference we are making or the reason for what we are doing.
It encourages people to be creative. If the why is clear then people have a freedom to be creative with the what. Leaders shouldn’t have to come up with all the best ideas, instead, the ‘why’ creates that environment where great ideas can sprout from anywhere.
It brings what you do to life. When those within get the why, then people will see what you believe through what you are doing.
I have not always been great at explaining the why. I know that I still get it wrong. I can argue it’s not my role as I’m not the lead man, but that’s a cop out. If I lead people then I have to be concerned about the why. If I am part of the organisation then understanding the why is my responsibility. If it’s not clear, I should ask.
Telling people what to do isn’t difficult. To articulate the why though, requires time, thought and care. That a whole lot of effort. It doesn’t always come easy. I have to give more than a ‘just because’, or point to my position.
It has to be important to me because the why is inspiring, it stirs up passion and people are more willing to give their time, talent and treasure to a really good, strong, clear why.
Are you somewhere that has a strong why? As leaders, are we doing all we can to help others grab a hold of that why?