Focus on Your "Why"

By nature, we are drawn to strong, positive leaders. We love their enthusiasm, are inspired by their messages and influenced by their actions. They motivate us to go places that we would not have thought of going. What is it about these people that makes us subscribe to their emails, buy their books and trust their guidance? The answer is surprisingly simple:

They have a ‘Why’.

If you ask most business owners why they are in business, the answers might range from ‘to put the kids through college’ or ‘to secure my family’s financial future’ or even ‘to make a name for myself’. But ask a true leader why he or she is in business and they will tell you, ‘to help find better solutions to this problem’ or ‘because I believe that every person deserves access to X’. In other words, it is their beliefs, their ‘why,’ that drive their strategies and actions.

In business communications and networking, people will tell you:

• What their business does/makes/sells
• How they are different or better that the competition
• About their knowledge, experience or technique

Consider the example of a small full service marketing company that focuses on creating content and then placing that content in the right place to be seen. They say, “We provide personal service and low rates. Would you like to be a client?“

But the inspiring leaders do it differently because they focus first on:

• What they believe
• How that relates to their business
• Why they are engaged in their market

Using the same company example, what if they said, “We believe that small businesses struggle to keep up in the marketplace. That’s why we keep our rates low enough so these businesses can have access to the same kinds of marketing strategy that their bigger competitors can afford. We focus on creating relevant content that will help you get found and talked about. Would you like to be a client?”

People may care about what you do, but they buy why you do it.

In a 2009 TED Talk, Simon Sinek outlined his theory on why this is. He says, “As it turns out, all the great inspiring leaders and organizations in the world, whether it's Apple or Martin Luther King or the Wright brothers, they all think, act and communicate the exact same way. And it's the complete opposite to everyone else. All I did was codify it, and it's probably the world's simplest idea.” Sinek calls it the Golden Circle.

In 2017, focus your communication on “why” and make it core to your culture and operation.  Best wishes for a prosperous and successful year!