There is a large difference between companies and the extent to which they experience success. The same applies to people. One of the remarkable similarities between successful companies and people is that they can give a crystal-clear answer to the question why they do what they do.
In September 2009, Simon Sinek explained in a TED talk why it is so important to answer the question: “Why do I do what I do?” by using his theory of the “Golden Circle”. By now, his Ted.org video has been viewed more than 28 million times.
The idea is really quite simple. Successful people and companies do what they do coming from a sense of “passion”, “mission” or “higher purpose”, and they know how to convey this when answering the question “why do I do what I do?”. This answer is NEVER “to make a profit” or “because I have a mortgage”. The answer to the why-question provides insight into the deepest motives of a company or person.
The deeper belief behind this inspires customers who also share this belief. It provides a distinguishing capacity that goes beyond: “we are really good”.
In today’s world, companies or people can really make a difference if they can indicate what their added value is to their customers. This value proposition follows from the answer to the why-question and tells others how they do what they do. How their actions add value and how they fit the customer’s needs.
The outer layer of the Golden Circle – the answer to the what-question – describes the actual service or the product.
Back to the why-question. You can ask yourself this question in a variety of ways:
- Why do I get out of bed and go to work? What does my work give me so that I keep doing it AND what does me doing this work do for others? Would I still be doing this work if I won the lottery tomorrow? Why would I, or why wouldn’t I?
- Why is my service or product relevant to my customers? Why this particular group of customers, and not a different group? Why am I relevant now, or not? And why am I not relevant now, but could I be in three months?
The answers that you receive to your own why-questions can be confronting, but at the same time they can provide a lot of insight. They help you to give direction to your life and make a choice between going with the flow and living and working from a deeper sense of drive and passion.
I will try to offer myself as an example with my own why-question:
I started for myself as an independent trainer/coach in 2012, because I saw that the tremendous potential of people in many companies often remained untapped.
I am convinced that I can assist people in reaching their “peak performance”, by helping them discover themselves and what their talents are, their competencies and their deepest centre of power.
I do this through coaching, training and on-the-job guidance. With an enormous passion for people and limitless trust in the fact that everyone is unique and irreplaceable, and that it is in their uniqueness that their power and talents lie.
I help people get the most out of themselves.
Are you struggling with answering your own why-question? I will gladly join you in thinking about it.