Tell me WHY…


Let’s start this one off with a little exercise.  Imagine you’re ten minutes away from a critical investor meeting, everything’s prepared and then you get a request from the chairman – he wants you to open the meeting with what your purpose is.  Not the results, not the process of achieving them; he wants you to explain why you show up every day.  With ten minutes until you proclaim your purpose to a boardroom full of people, you’d better get it right and you’d better mean it or they’ll see right through you.  What would you say?

I purposely placed myself in this position when chairing a team-building day some years ago (and it’s an exercise that I still run for businesses today) where we had to do exactly that.  The room was turned into an imagined high-intensity situation and each person had five minutes to consider their purpose in life and a further five to record them.  It was a blisteringly honest session which led to an epiphany for at least one person and was an unforgettable experience for the rest.  If you’re looking for a more meaningful understanding of yourself and your colleagues, and something that will absolutely, positively impact the people in your business over many years, then I highly recommend it. 

But how does this kind of personal revelation impact on success in business?  Quite a lot actually, and the best example I can recommend for you is Simon Sinek’s brilliant ‘Start With Why’ TED talk.  For those of you unfamiliar with Sinek’s work, he is an incredibly insightful, hugely motivational speaker who is in the business of inspiring people and organisations to be better.  Central to his ‘Start With Why’ concept is the belief that people don’t buy the ‘what’ of your business, they buy your
purpose: the ‘why’. 

Simon illustrates how ‘Why’ lives in the ancient, Neolithic part of the brain with our beliefs and our reason for existence.  By effectively communicating the ‘Why’ of your business, you can connect with the part of your customer’s brain that controls gut instinct, feelings, trust and loyalty.  You’ll reach people who will do business with you because they believe what you believe, not simply because they need what you have. 

Let’s take incredibleresults as an example:  I could write you a list of what we do but you might view it as the consulting equivalent of a market stall, give us a quick glance and walk away.  I could tell you how we deliver our services which is great if what you care about most is delivery, but if I tell you that why we’re in business is because we want to help businesses grow, then doesn’t it suddenly become a little more interesting to you?  Doesn’t it give us the potential to make a meaningful connection based on shared beliefs?  And doesn’t give us the opportunity to do more interesting, inspiring business as a result of those beliefs? 

Of course it does!  And here’s something else – defining your ‘why’ can lead to some seriously positive long-term ROI. go on try it become an Olympian (take 10 minutes blog post)…!

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