I discussed last week how important it is to know and articulate our reason for being…OUR WHY! Sadly, most leaders start with WHAT instead of WHY. It’s just easier to talk about what we do instead of why we do it, but that probably isn’t a motivating factor for you, your team or you clients! When we put things in order, our WHAT brings our WHY to life. In fact, once we best understand our WHY, our WHAT becomes our mission statement. It is critically important that WHAT we produce is consistent with WHY and HOW we do it. I’ll talk more about those HOW’s next week, but they are the actions and decisions you take to support the WHY and the WHAT.
Sure, you might think, all you do is “make widgets, it’s not that complicated!” Do you understand that, “We make widgets” is hardly inspirational for your leaders, team, or customers?
In the book, Start With Why, Simon Sinek writes: “If people don’t buy WHAT you do, but WHY you do it, then all these things must be consistent. With consistency people will see and hear, without a shadow of a doubt, what you believe. After all, we live in a tangible world. The only way people will know what you believe is by the things you say and do, and if you’re not consistent in the things you say and do, no one will know what you believe. It is at the WHAT level that authenticity happens.” A good example that Sinek discusses is Apple. Is Apple a computer company? A consumer electronics company? A smartphone company? These are all expressions of WHAT. If Apple only identified itself with the WHAT, you might rightly ask, “What the heck is Apple doing in all of these different industries?” But Apple doesn’t start with WHAT they do, they start with WHY. In the early 2000s, Apple started a campaign to communicate their WHY called, “Think Different.” Throughout its history, Apple has been an industry disruptor and innovator.
As Christian leaders, God should be at the center of our WHY and WHAT, even in our professional life! Sometimes it may feel overwhelming to try to incorporate Jesus at work, but if we walk out a life of integrity, a life of balance, while integrating our faith in all segments of our life, we can’t help to focus on our FIRST WHY…The Gospel of Jesus Christ!
I hope these last few Pro-Tips have made you think about your WHY and if it’s consistent with your WHAT. It’s not easy to pull out of daily operations to take the time to focus on WHY, our vision, WHAT, our mission and HOW, our core values, but when we take the time to focus on overall strategy, day-to-day operations and team morale, and even the integrity of our marketing materials will drastically improve!
Take the time today to start evaluating YOUR WHY and how it lines up with YOUR WHAT and next week I’ll talk more about HOW, those core values that pull together and drive your organization, so you can live, love and lead like Jesus at home AND WORK!