Why “Why” Works
Understanding the importance of purpose | Kristen Haldeman | Feb 24, 2019
“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” – Mark Twain.
A 2017 study by Deloitte’s Center for the Edge concluded that 13% of American found no passion in working their jobs. A Harvard Business Review research found that less than 20% of leaders strongly understand their purpose. It is no surprise, then, that organizations with unclear purposes and a disengagement from core values are hurting.
The simple fix is to understand your “why.”
Simon Sinek, motivational speaker and organizational consultant, adamantly promotes that understanding your why, understanding your purpose, fundamentally changes you output. Imagine asking someone to sing Amazing Grace. Certainly, the singer could produce the notes and sing the words beautifully. Now, ask the person to sing Amazing Grace as if they just overcame a seemingly unbearable circumstance. The words will be exactly the same AND there will be passion, motivation, and purpose to the song, ultimately making the song better.
Finding purpose does not remain at an individual level, but it moves and makes itself effective in the room of organizational culture.
Kaylie instructed her team to develop a pitch for an upcoming meeting on how to raise $400,000. The team began brainstorming and presented a detailed plan for raising the money. However, the proposal was stale, not innovative, and unimpressive. Frustrated, Kaylie approached the team and informed them that this project was extremely important. The team asked for more information and Kaylie explained that another department had had a setback that affected multiple departments. Without the money, there would be budget cuts and potential layoff. However, if their team could provide a solution, not only would there be no cuts, but also opportunity for advancement. Motivated and understanding of the purpose, the team devised and executed a plan that profited $950,000.
The need for a common understanding is essential to improving any organization. Clarity of values and purposes enhances the opportunity for group cohesion and performance. Personal investment encourages effort, and effort produces results.
Why is it important to knowing your why? Because your why can change the outcome.