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Build a Purposeful Business with Why

“I want to provide a place for my coworkers to thrive.”

“I love teaching service technicians.”

“I want to develop all of my people.”

“I am providing a company where my coworkers can earn a decent living.”

These are indicative of the most frequent response I get when asking the question: Can you tell me about the WHY of why you are in business? Although my quest has been over the past half year, the recent Service World Expo presented a veritable Golden Corral of opportunities to delve into WHY.

Quick rabbit hole - Speaking of the Service World Expo last month in Las Vegas. How do you keep a contingent of cats focused when there is a line of dump trucks at the door waiting to drop off tons of catnip? You provide educators who deliver the highest quality of industry education in the universe. Not only did this work for the Expo organizers, it exceeded their expectations. They had to bring in extra seating for every single seminar that I attended. I’ve never attended an industry conference that came close to delivering this high caliber level of education. I can’t wait till next year’s Service World Expo at Mandalay Bay in Vegas!

Back to WHY - Listening to various business owners, their emotions were either visible or just below the surface. I could feel their passion. I wonder though; are these leaders overlooking an important motivation?

First, let’s take a look at what WHY / Purpose means.

Frequently interchanged with Purpose, here’s Roy Spence, co-founder of GSD&M and the Purpose Institute, definition:

WHY / Purpose is a definitive statement about the difference you are trying to make in the world.


For perspective here is AARP’s WHY:

To champion positive social change that will enhance the quality of life for all as we age.

Notice how WHY pertains to doing something for the benefit of others. The same holds true for the responses that I paraphrase above.

Okay, hold that thought. Next, let’s explore another key characteristic related to WHY: Your coworker’s buy-in. When your coworkers believe in your WHY, when they believe what you believe, their work begins to transcend working for a day’s pay. To be brutally real, they aren’t even working for you. You have given them the platform to exercise their own beliefs, they are working for what they believe in. With this spirit on board, they’ll move mountains to accomplish your shared goals.

So we’ve established that WHY is about making a difference in the lives of others and when you provide an environment for your coworkers to exercise your shared beliefs great things will happen.

Finally, let’s take a step back and think about this. If your WHY is about developing and making a difference in the lives of your coworkers, how do you suppose they’ll buy-in and exercise these shared beliefs? To do so would almost be selfish, right?

If you’re reading this there is a better than average chance that you either have a better than average company or are passionate about getting there. And better than average companies do not employ selfish coworkers.

Striving to make a difference in the lives of your coworkers is a most noble and dignified WHY! My suggestion is to open the window on the other side of the room and let the light shine through. As you work toward making a difference in your coworker’s lives, try to think of ways for them to make a difference in the lives of folks whom they touch. This way they have an opportunity to exercise what you both believe in.

When driving the difference maker car, check out this route:

  • Owner to GM
  • GM to managers
  • Managers to coworkers
  • Coworkers to coworkers
  • Coworkers to managers, GM & owner
  • Coworkers to customers

The key is to create the type of environment where shared beliefs have a real chance to be exercised by all.

 In the spirit of Theodor Geisel - when you do this you will succeed, you’ll move mountains. Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So….get on your way!

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Topics: Management, Leadership, Motivation

Posted by Dave Rothacker on Nov 27, 2016 4:02:00 AM

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