The Art of the WHY
Have you ever wondered how some companies succeed and manage to remain relevant?
According to business author Simon Sinek, it all starts with the WHY: a purpose, cause or belief. This has nothing to do with WHAT you do, nor HOW you get things done. Instead, as Sinek showcases in his book, ‘Start with Why’, people buy/engage in a company not because of WHAT the company offers but WHY it does. The minute companies lose sight of their WHY and define themselves by WHAT they do, they set themselves up for failure.
Once a WHY is clearly defined, it can permeate throughout an organization and help define a clear culture and corporate values. It essentially gives a personality to an organization that is easily understood, and one that attracts likeminded individuals who ultimately have similar motivations. Generally, a company’s WHY remains unchanged, though how it executes its raison d’être may vary. The consistency allows for predictability but in a good way: stakeholders generally do not question companies with strong WHYs.
In ‘Start With Why’, Sinek captures a number of companies that understand the WHY. Apple, with their incredible ability to constantly innovate; Southwest for their swift problem solving capabilities; Harley-Davidson for fitting into a clear lifestyle category; Disney for their ability to promote good, clean family fun. Whether you buy products from these companies or not, an immediate a visual mental impression comes to mind when you hear their name. Successful execution of their WHY has become their brand identity. What’s more, companies with a strong WHY are able to inspire their employees and attract talent that has similar passion.
Of course, company after company have tried to emulate these industry powerhouses, and have either completely failed or created an organization that is a shadow of its counterpart. Often times, these failures occur because companies are driven by copying the competition and attempting to derail them rather than by a unique vision, a true WHY.
Of course, the concept of the WHY is not new. When you start a company, you define its purpose, create a mission and vision statement, and develop a business plan. Your WHY can be easily derived from these fundamental elements, and companies that remain focused on the WHY, stay true to them.
Take Apple’s WHY, for example: “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.”
So the question remains, what is your WHY? Let Zenergy know if need assistance in clearly articulating it and communicating it to your stakeholders.
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