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 goal, dream or vision that underpins what you are trying to achieve. 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 vision; 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; a clear vision of what is trying to be achieved.
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: https://youtu.be/sioZd3AxmnE
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:
- your organisation exists
- you get out of bed in the morning
- anyone else should care!
Many people will say they are in business, “to make money!”. And that is ok and true. A business has to make money to be profitable and to pay our wage. But money is a result of business – not why we do what we do.
Why do you want to make more money? Why is that important? What are the true underlying motivations? This is your why. The core beliefs that underpin everything.
Align your business values, language, image and brand with this. This will then resonate with your audience better and feel a lot more nature to your potential customers. You will be seen as authentic. And the results – the money – will take care of itself.
Have you a driving “WHY” that causes your stakeholders to get excited; an empowering vision that causes them to go above and beyond?
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