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The Power of Why – Inspiration through purpose, cause and belief

Posted on 19/05/2015, 11:45

Inspirational Leadership and the Power of WHY

Recently there have been three separate occasions where I have been reminded of the “Power of Why”.

The power that some leaders, organisations or businesses have to inspire loyalty, high performance or dedication; not through what they do or how they do it, but through WHY they do things

I was talking to the leader of a group of 4 churches who described the turning point in creating a strong team culture amongst each of the individual leaders as a common shared cause; a sense of joint mission. Previously there had been 4 leaders, 4 senses of purpose, low team dynamic. Discovering a shared sense of purpose changed everything.

I was discussing this with a money coach; someone helping people to manage their finances. He told me he always starts with goals; dreams; vision. The reason? Harnessing the power of “why” is a powerful motivator when things get tough.

I heard Laszlo Bock, Head of People Operations at Google describing “Googliness”; whether you truly want to be there versus taking the money is related to “a connection to something bigger”; a sense of shared purpose. Citing Yale research into why people work he said 1/3rd are there for the money, 1/3rd are playing a game to win / get promoted and 1/3rd want meaning / a sense of making a difference.

This brought to mind Simon Sinek’s talk at TED:

Customers, stakeholders, employees don’t buy into what you do or how you do it. These things don’t inspire loyalty or cause others to go above and beyond; customers to come back to you time and time again. What really inspires is WHY we do something; a compelling vision, belief or cause that defines:

  • Why your organisation exists
  • Why you get out of bed in the morning
  • And why anyone else should care!

Have you a driving “WHY” that causes your stakeholders to get excited?


Power of why

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