Live Your Business's 'Why'

Written by: Alan Rodway - Your Coach Online

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it”. Simon Sinek

A business’s Why is what it believes. Apple believes lives should be made better through technology. Virgin Airlines believe it should be fun to fly. Disneyland believes every child and family should have amazing, fun experiences together. What does your business believe? Why does your business do what it does? And ensure you don’t allow your answer to divert into the what and how of what you do.

Now, if you can see the importance of your business’s Why, four things must occur:

  1. You must be clear on it,
  2. It must be sincere,
  3. You must live it internally, and
  4. You must live it externally.

Here are the steps to ensure these three aspects are in place, ongoing:

  • If you believe you are clear on your business’s Why then test it across all staff by asking them what it is.
  • If you are not clear on your business’s Why then you need to engage every person in the business in proper discussions about what it should be, clearly led by what the owners first thought or want. These discussions need to continue until there is clarity and buy into what the Why is.
  • Do NOT turn your business’s Why into marketing slogans nor signs that go up around the office. That is too likely to move a really powerful concept into ‘just words’. It’s behaviours we want to reflect the Why not words nor marketing. “Every bride should look and feel amazing” is what that business must live by and deliver to their clients, not a marketing slogan that sounds good.
  • Use the Why to help select new people coming into the business. If they don’t understand the Why or can’t connect to it, they are likely to diminish it.
  • Discuss and agree with everyone in your business the behaviours that must be exhibited to live out the Why internally (inside the business) and externally (to everyone outside the business).
  • Objectively test whether the required behaviours are being lived out, via genuine feedback, from inside and from outside the business.
  • Revisit the Why, not to change it, but to revisit it, formally, regularly … at conferences, in planning sessions, in team sessions. It must have true belief and passion behind it, not just be created at a conference once.
  • It’s critical that the owners/senior people in the business live out the Why. They are the formal behaviour leaders.
  • It’s one thing to not have agreed your business’s Why but it’s worse to have agreed it and not live it out. That is false and will lead to a loss of confidence in the business from within. Check that this is not the case.
  • Do not be troubled if establishing your business’s Why and getting serious behavioural buy into it is difficult. It can take time to achieve that. It’s all worth it in the end. Persistence and commitment to the concept is the key.

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