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From What to Why

One of the most popular business books of the 21st century is “Good to Great,” by Jim Collins. Perhaps the next book to capture the imagination of companies and organizations should be called, “From What to Why.”

I recently came across a Ted Talk by Simon Sinek, “How great leaders inspire action.” His theme was that you are more likely to make a lasting connection with audiences – from your employees to customers – when you move beyond explaining simply what you do, and move on to detailing why you do it.

One of his examples is Orville and Wilbur Wright. They were not the only ones intrigued by the possibility of manned flight at the turn of the last century. But whereas others fell short of “getting off the ground,” the Wrights were not motivated by fame or fortune – of which there was little to be had at the time – but rather by a cause. They were inspired.

What inspires you and your business? Better yet, do your employees and customers know what inspires you? If they do, it is likely employees will more fully commit their efforts to your success, and customers will remain as they feel a common bond or kinship to your work.

The Wright Brothers were “why” people. Are you?