Articles Tagged ‘Why of your business’

Finding Wilbur Wright’s Why (The Why of My Business, Pt 3)

Monday, February 21st, 2011

Read Part 1 of this article
Read Part 2 of this article

As I indicated in the last installment of The Why of My Business, my plan now to identify my Why is to run with this concept: look backward to past experiences when I was inspired — a purpose, a passion, and a mission were present — and find the commonality across those experiences. This commonality would guide me to articulate my Why. Just to be on the safe side, though, I also wanted to have a guide for constructing this mini-biography of inspirations. I would look at the examples that Simon Sinek gave of Why’s and find the person or company that seemed closest to me and my business. Then, I would look at that person or company in a little more depth to identify the telltales to their Why across time.

With this benchmark I would have a sense of how to construct my mini-biography with the right kind of stories or examples to include.

So, here were the examples of Why’s that Sinek gives us in “Start with Why”:

Early Apple (Steve Wozniak, with Steve Jobs): Why = Give the computer to the common man (personal computer can level the odds between corporations and the “little people”)

Apple (over the years): WHY = Work a different way/Defy the status quo; HOW = Beautiful, simple, and user-friendly; WHAT = Computers

Martin Luther King: WHY = Realize the Dream of Social Justice

Wright Brothers (I would have guessed manned flight as their WHY); according to Sinek, their WHY was because:
A) It would change the world
B) They imagined the benefits to everyone else if they were successful
More about this later

Why’s related to customers:

Nike (Early phase): WHY = Championing the cause of serious runners
Bridgeport Financial (collection agency): WHY = treat our customers with respect
Harley Davidson: WHY = Provide a lifestyle for our customers
AOL (Early in their history): WHY: Get people online
Starbucks: WHY = Provide the “third space” – between home and the office – for our customers
Toyota: WHY = Be known by our customers for our efficiency, affordability

Why’s related to employees:
Continental Airlines: WHY = (for the employees) Win for yourselves
Costco: WHY = We believe in looking after our employees first
Honore Construction: WHY =We honor the Work-life balance

Simon Sinek himself: WHY = Inspiring people to find what inspires them

I’ll add in the three individuals in the Power Circle that I mentioned earlier who shared their version of The Why of their business:

Barbara Hook felt that her almost obsessive need to help family members has been transformed into her current WHY: providing unparalleled customer service (to her insurance clients).

Jan Worman’s abrupt brush with heart symptoms was a life-changing event that has led to her WHY: a cause-like approach to health (and the healthy drink business she promotes).
read full article »

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement

Find Your Why by Looking Backward (The Why of My Business, Part 2)

Monday, February 14th, 2011

Read Part 1 of this article

As I indicated in the First Installment, my search for the Why of my business resulted in a first approximation that was more of a What than a Why. This forced me back to the drawing boards with a closer reading of Simon Sinek’s “Start with Why,” and an in-person hearing and questioning of Simon Sinek (albeit before 300 other people),

My closer look at the Sinek book resulted in my distillation and organization of his key material, which I then put into two Models: the Why-based Model (the approach championed by Sinek) and the Why-less Model (that disdained by Sinek)

Here is what I came up with:

The Why Model

1. Excellent companies and individuals act according to a WHY, sometimes even if they don’t articulate it, but why leave that to chance
2. Most companies instead focus on and act according to WHAT and HOW – the nuts and bolts of their company (their products and services, benefits for customers, and their unique selling proposition). Only when you start with the WHY and then move on to HOW and WHAT is the process optimized.
3. As owner of your company, you should intentionally articulate and develop the intended WHY of your company in line with you, your history, and your predisposition
4. Articulate this WHY in writing and promulgate it through your company and its culture, so that you don’t suffer from Apple’s “Steve-Jobs leaving Syndrome” when you, the charismatic leader may take a leave of absence or be away from the company for some period of time
5. By embodying your WHY you induce and stimulate trust and inspiration in others (customers, employees, other CEO’s) due to aligned goals of yourself and followers (for instance, customers, who will pay a premium for products and services and endure inconvenience, as opposed to customers who patronize companies because of price or promotions (manipulation)).
6. This trust and inspiration that is generated is due to alignment of goals and aspirations, which are centered in the limbic part of the brain (also the seat of emotion and motivation); this powerful connection is sometimes elusive to discuss, because the limbic lobes evolved prior to the cerebral cortex portion of the brain and therefore are only loosely connected to language centers. When your WHY aligns with another person’s WHY, limbic lobes align, and a deep, powerful connection is made. As will be seen later, there is a way to sneak up on the limbic lobe and articulate your WHY.
7. Finding WHY is a process of discovery, not invention. Our archaeology of behavior in past and current business situations tells us about our passion, our deepest values, and what inspires us: in short, our WHY.
8. Particular types of individuals are attracted by your WHY and can be characterized as those innovators and early adopters that are the “left 15%” of the bell curve of individuals and who are particularly influential and willing to pay premium prices for products and services
9. By knowing your WHY, you are able to better identify the HOW and WHAT for your company
A. Your products/services will be fined-tuned
B. Employees will have been carefully hired with respect to their strong suits (HOW’s) and (WHAT’s)
10. By articulating your WHY, you will monitor that everyone is acting in accordance with it; if there is drift, you will know how to get back on course
11. Implications for knowing your WHY, articulating it, and communicating throughout your business are:
A. Loyal customers
B. Higher ROI
C. Loyal employees
D. More innovation
E. Able to sustain success
F. Lead their industries–have disproportionate influence
G. Leaders and followers act for the good of the whole
H. Able to withstand market changes in that they know the WHY of the business (transportation), rather than the WHAT of the business (trains)

The WHY-less Model

1. No WHY
2. Leader/Manager by title, not by leadership, inspiration
3. Manipulation (vs. inspiration); rewards and punishers unrelated to inherent WHY
4 No diffusion – don’t appeal to limbic brain, don’t reach the far left of the diffusion curve (early adopters, connectors)
5. Unclear with WHY; therefore, unclear with HOW and WHAT
6. Never had WHY—if their business gets off track, no compass to “direct them back home”
7. Implications for their business are unclear: marketing, hiring, product/service, appropriate business model change unclear when business environment changes (they think their business is trains, not transportation)
8. Vulnerable to downturns in the economy and industry changes

From this summarization of “Start with Why,” two things stood out as key for “Finding my Why”:

1. The Why part of us (goal-direction, purpose) is located in the limbic part of the brain, and therefore it is not easy to articulate our Why, because that part of the brain is poorly connected with the language centers found in the cerebral cortex. In spite of Sinek’s insistence that it’s simple to discover your Why, it isn’t really straightforward, since you have to sneak up on it, rather than capture it directly
read full article »

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement

The Why of My Business:     Part 1

Thursday, February 10th, 2011


The first time I thought about the Why of my business, Indy Smallbiz, Inc., was in November when I attended the Greenwood Power Circle led by Noah Shabman and Luke Russell. Noah facilitated the discussion that day by discussing the Simon Sinek book, “Start with Why.”

I felt as if I were blindsided. Why hadn’t I thought about this before?

The main gist of Sinek’s book is that outstanding companies and individuals act according to a WHY, rather than HOW’s or WHAT’s, which naturally follow once the WHY is articulated. These companies and individuals embrace a WHY: a purpose, a mission, an inspiration that in businesses is often embodied in their CEO (witness Steve Jobs of Apple).

The discussion following Noah’s introduction was compelling. Others shared how the underlying why they were in the business they were in was due to some experiences that had happened to them in the past. Barbara Hook felt that her almost obsessive need to help family members has been transformed into her current why: providing unparalleled customer service to her insurance clients. Jan Worman’s abrupt brush with heart symptoms was a life-changing event that has led to her cause-like approach to the healthy-lifestyle dried produce (fruits/veggies in capsule or gummie form) business she promotes. Yet another person pointed to his experiencing a lengthy coma as the reason he is able to provide so well for the needs of his customers — he feels he is still alive for a purpose and he is driven to fulfill it.

My initial response was unlike the others’ who all had some external push or pull underlying the reason they are in their current business. My first approximation to the why of my business centered on something that I had finally realized in the last six months. There are four skills that I possess that I enjoy performing. Further, I think that I perform these skills well. Others also think that I perform these skills well. In fact, there are sufficient numbers of individuals who think I do these well enough to pay me for them. So, my first approximation of my “Why” was that I like to: 1) Provide strategic planning, 2) Write, 3) Broker strategic relationships, and 4) Provide boutique, individualized marketing.

I had come to this focus through an elimination of tasks that I disliked and which, as a result, did poorly. Also, at the same time, the main driver of income for Indy Smallbiz, advertising in the print edition evaporated, plus advertising in the online world began to take a backseat to personal marketing via blogs and Social Media platforms.

As a result, the print edition of Indy Smallbiz is gone and the function of the online version of Indy Smallbiz has changed from primarily that of advertising medium to a means by which I can meet and build relationships with potential customers of my 4 key skills.

If nothing else, I could say that I had a passion for the focused skill set I had articulated — a good beginning approximation to a why for my business.

Something still didn’t seem quite right though. What I had stated as the why of my business had more of the sound of the HOW or WHAT of a business as Simon Sinek defined it.

I made a closer examination of the concept of “Start with Why.” I bought the book and read it, writing profusely in the margins. Serendipitously, Simon Sinek was giving a presentation for the Columbus (IN) Chamber of Commerce on January 26th; I attended and in the Q and A session that followed received an answer to a question that had been perplexing me . In addition, I devoured four books on the Wright Brothers, focusing especially on Wilbur, who seemed closest to my mindset of any of the individuals or companies examined by Sinek. Infused with this improved knowledge, I set about digesting it and brooding on it.

Next: What I learned about the Quest for Why
Part 2 of the Why of My Business: Find Your Why by Looking Backward

John Gifford
Publisher
www.indysmallbiz.com
johng@indysmallbiz.com
(317) 407-3382

  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • Digg
  • Technorati
  • Facebook
  • del.icio.us
  • StumbleUpon
  • Google Bookmarks
  • email
  • RSS
  • FriendFeed
advertisement