Always Start with WHY
Bookstores are filled with them. Magazines publish them. Websites promote them – books, articles, and blog posts written about success and empowerment. They talk about ”success principles”, “keys to empowerment”, “laws of leadership”, and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE reading these kinds of books and articles – I’ve got two stacks of them on my bedside table alone. There are as many definitions, tips, and formulas for success, leadership and empowerment as there are books and articles.
What I’ve discovered deep within this plethora of information on success and leadership, is one underlying concept, one fundamental theme that all philosophies, perspectives, and approaches seem to have in common:
If you want to succeed at something, you need to know WHY you’re doing it
Because WHY you’re doing something influences WHAT you do and HOW you do it.And If you want people to “want to” follow your lead, they need to know your WHY. And your WHY needs to be something that moves them. That’s it, in a nutshell. And if you analyze any situation, task, project, or conversation you’ve had in your life, you will realize that the reason WHY you did or said something always impacted WHAT you did and HOW you did it. Simon Sinek illustrates this perfectly in his book, “Start With Why” – he calls it the Golden Circle:
Let’s say you need to call a prospect. If the reason WHY you make that phone call is to check it off your list, then WHAT you actually say in the conversation and HOW you say it will correlate directly to WHY you’re on the call. And if the reason WHY you make the phone call is to make a connection with someone and add value to his life, then WHAT you say and HOW you say it will absolutely reflect that.
This is a huge concept for organizations. Every company exists to make money – that’s a no-brainer. We’re all creating products or providing services to rake in the dough and we all want to be ahead of the competition. And there’s no company out there that doesn’t know WHAT they do – you could offer data storage solutions, provide conferencing services, make cell phones, bake cookies, teach children, take care of sick people – whatever it is, you know WHAT your organization does. You also probably know HOW you do it. And your HOW could be six-sigma impeccable. But what truly makes your organization stand out and be consistently successful and influential, what makes you want to wake up in the morning and go to work every day, what makes your customers loyal to you and to your brand, is if at the very core of WHAT you do and HOW you’re doing it, is a very clear and inspiring WHY.
Simon Sinek attributes Apple’s success to their WHY. The reason why Apple is so influential and successful, the reason why people line up outside of stores days before a new product release and are willing to spend so much more of their money on Apple products than they would on competitors less expensive products is because Apple’s WHY inspires them, and they see it in WHAT Apple does and HOW they do it. And this true embodiment of leadership creates trust and loyalty. Apple’s WHY is simple – to challenge the status quo, to “think different” so they can provide beautifully designed products that are simple and fun to use. And people are drawn to that.
We’ve recently revisited our WHY here at Arkadin, and as we neared our 10 year anniversary we realized that although we may have gotten caught up in the WHATs and HOWs of what we do throughout the years, it is still very clear to us that the reason WHY we do what we do is because of our desire to provide remote collaboration solutions that empower organizations to be more efficient and productive. The words of Olivier de Puymorin, the CEO of Arkadin, are heard loud and clear in each of our global conference calls, video conferences, web conferences, webinars and webcasts – “Always put the customer first”.
And in the spirit of putting the customer first, we’ve decided to put all of you first – all of our visitors, regardless of whether or not you are our customers, and share with you everything we’ve learned and continue to learn about business communications, sales leadership, marketing leadership, IT leadership, and organizational leadership in our new Business Leadership Blog. It’s here for you to read, share, argue, discuss, and question. It’s here to empower you. And we hope it does just that.