Do you ever wonder why some organizations thrive and flourish and others in the same industry just don’t?
Why is that Apple are so hugely successful but other companies who make computers and mobile phones are not?
Why is it airlines like Southwest, Ryanair and Virgin just keep growing and growing while others are contracting or going out of business?
Why was Martin Luther King able to gather a crowd of over a quarter of a million in Washington (and that was before the internet, Twitter and Facebook!), made up of blacks and whites, to listen to him speak?
Do you think he would have got the same response if his mantra was “I have a strategy” instead of “I have a dream”? I doubt it!
You see what all of these have in common is that they did not start with “what” they were doing but “why” they we re doing it.
Most businesses start with “what” they do – “we build motor cars (or whatever!) with the latest technology that makes it go……….etc, etc” Once they have completed that sentence it is expected that your response is “Can I buy one?” and they are somewhat mystified why it is not on the tip of your tongue. Okay, a bit simplistic but you get my drift!
What Apple and Martin Luther King have in common is they did not start with the what, they started with the why! The why is all about the reason they exist – their purpose, their beliefs, their dreams.
That is what it takes to be an inspirational leader!
In my experience of working with many organizations around the world, the vast majority of the people in those organizations are clear about the “what”, but far less are clear about the “why”.
The reality is that those who are only clear about the “what” work to get paid at the end of the month.
Those who are clear about the “why” and share in it will work with their blood, sweat and every bone in their body.
You see if you only engage my brain, then I will do what is required to fulfill my obligations. If you engage me emotionally, I will walk over burning coals to deliver the result.
The challenge to you is – do your people know why your organization exists? What is the real purpose – and No, it is not money! If money is the only driver, then it will be short lived.
Steve Jobs did not do it for the money, nor did Herb Kelleher or Richard Branson or my own Michael O’Leary – they had, and still have, a clear why! The fact that money came afterwards is a consequence of their dream.
Martin Luther King is not as much remembered for what he did as what he stood for and believed in.
So, check it out in your own company – is the why clear? If not, what is your next step?