The “Why” of Business

This week my company put on a webinar for our administration.  There were a lot of things that stood out to me during the webinar, but one YouTube video that was shown really resonated with me.  It was a video of leadership expert, Simon Sinek, talking about the “why” of business.  I had seen the video before a while back, and I remember thinking that it was good at the time, but when I saw it again this week it had more of an impact on me.

In the video Sinek talks about the “what” the “how,” and the “why” of business.  He draws a diagram of a circle, and then another circle drawn around the first, and a third circle encompassing the first two circles (all of this he refers to as “the golden circle”).  The outermost circle he labels as the “what.”  He suggests that most everyone knows “what” their job is; it is the most basic way of thinking about your job/career.  The next circle is labeled as “how.”  How do you do your job?  What does it require?  What skills, techniques, and strategies does it take?  The inner most circle he labels as the “why.”  This he suggests is the deepest and perhaps least thought of aspect of a job, but also the most fundamentally important.

Sinek argues in the video that most organizations operate from the outside in: what –> how –> why.  But, he says, great leaders and great organizations operate from the inside out: why –> how –> what.  Great leaders/organizations motivate people with the why.  People are inspired by a good cause or a compelling “why.”  After articulating this point, Sinek delivered this one-liner that has stuck with me: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.”

So, my challenge to you is to think about your “why.”  Why do you get up and go to work in the morning?  Why are you doing what you do?  I think identifying that, and working from the inside out can help put things in perspective and yield positive results.


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