Around a decade ago, a soon-to-be famous speaker stood in front of an audience with an idea to generate leaders and inspire internal teams to take action. He drew three circles: one inside the other, and each one bigger than the next. From the outside in, he labeled them “what,” “how” and “why.”
He explained that all companies know what they do, no questions asked. That’s where most start when explaining themselves in the marketplace.
Moving inward, he said fewer companies know how they do what they do, so that descriptor usually comes second, if at all.
At the bullseye, he said very few companies know why they do what they do, letting the opportunity for inspiration, innovation, and personal connection to their brand fall by the wayside.
But what if you started from the inside and moved out? What if you start with why?
We’re talking, of course, about Simon Sinek and his famed TED Talk, “Start With Why,” which launched a successful book and challenged many of us to rethink how we deliver our brand to the marketplace. In another talk, he would go on to say, “the survival of the human race depends on people who believe what we believe.”
Sure, it’s a deep concept, but it speaks truth in life and in business. Why? Because shared belief and common values spark trust—and that’s vital to healthy company culture. Where there’s trust, you’re likely to see internal productivity increase and a generation of brand buy-in. In other words, a team full of people who have been inspired to become brand ambassadors.
In a previous blog on this topic, we shared how important it is to have engaged employees. Trust is what it takes for them to protect, maintain, and deliver your company brand—your REPUTATION—on a daily basis. When your employees understand, contribute to, and believe in the company mission and vision, they want to spread it and protect it.
But in order to understand your company’s “why”—much less start there—you need to have a set of core company values in the first place. That way, your team has solid behavioral guideposts about what is expected of them, from the way they do business to the way they treat each other.
When we think of companies with the happiest employees and customers, like Chick-fil-A and Disney, it doesn’t take much digging to see that each has a set of core values. And these aren’t arbitrary words meant to sound like those 3rd-grade classroom inspiration posters from our childhoods, either. Take CFA, for instance. Chick-fil-A is strategic in its approach to its core values. These words do two important things: clarify their identity and give the consumer an idea of what they can expect every time they walk in the door. The employees truly live this. That’s why we’ve all grown so accustomed to seeing a smile, hearing “my pleasure” and getting through a long line in mere minutes. That’s personal excellence, working together, and continuous improvement at work! We also aren’t shocked when we read about a woman who went into labor in the Chick-fil-A bathroom and is not only supplied with towels and assistance but free food for life. Customers first and stewardship.
When it gets down to it, when you and your employees know your company “why,” what you do has more impact. It doesn’t just guide your behaviors—it also guides appearance and communication, both of which lead to greater business success.
Identify your company’s mission, vision, and values, and you’ve established that vital “why” with which you and your team can start.
Ready to find your “why,” but not sure where to start? We can help. Reach out to us today.