As I’ve led clients through their planning at the start of 2013, I’ve found that using Simon Sinek’s work on finding your WHY is a good tool to help you create your purpose statement.
He says that all the great and inspiring leaders of the world think and act the same way… they lead with their WHY and follow with their HOW and WHAT. He codified it and called it The Golden Circle. Most of us communicate from the outside in – WHAT, then HOW – and then expect behavior change. We don’t get it because our message isn’t inspirational. It doesn’t hook or interest people.
But people don’t buy WHAT you do; they buy WHY you do it, your purpose, your cause; why your organization exists. Why do you get up in the morning? And why should anyone care? When we communicate from the inside out – WHY, HOW, WHAT – we inspire people.
It explains why some organizations are able to inspire and others do not. Organizations all know, and can well describe WHAT they do. And they can typically describe well HOW they do it. But they don’t typically describe their WHY well, and usually don’t describe it at all. Sinek uses Apple as a prime example of a company that led with their WHY, communicating from the inside out.
Apple could market by saying, “We sell great computers! (WHAT) They’re beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly (HOW). Want to buy one?” Or, “Here’s our new law firm. We have the best lawyers with the biggest clients. Do business with us.” Or “Here’s our new car. It gets great gas mileage and has leather seats. Buy our car.” But these are uninspiring.
Apple sells by saying, “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently (WHY). We challenge the status quo by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly (HOW). We just happen to make great computers (WHAT). Want to buy one?”
All they did was reverse the order. We all know that Apple developed and still has a large force of extremely devoted followers.
Instead of just selling to people who need what you sell, the goal is to sell to people who believe what you believe. This can be applied to your marketing, to your employee communications, to your hiring. The goal is to hire people who believe what you believe and get them to follow you faithfully.
The goal is not do business with everyone who needs what you have. The goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe.
Read Sinek’s book, Start With Why. You can also watch his description on video here.