Start With Why – Using PurposeTo Motivate Action

start with whySimon Sinek’s book “Start with why – “How great leaders inspire people to take action” is a must read for all business owners and marketers alike. Be prepared to be inspired and start asking yourself what is your WHY?

His seemingly simple concept of engaging people with your purpose or “cause” (the “Why”), before bombarding them with the how & what (the typical features benefit sale pitch) is so simple, yet powerful. It is easy to see how this can transform your customer engagement, beyond a simple transactional relationship into that Nevada of life time loyal customer.

By purpose he is not talking about making money, which is the result that comes from achieving your purpose. He is talking about the inner connecting thought that gets people engage in what you do. This core motivating purpose, is the same concept that Daniel Pink’s book Drive is all about. You can read more on Daniel Pink’s take on purpose in my blog post – “Forget about incentives for your staff”

Simon’s approach is a great tool for building that instant bond with your target customers , using the common ground of “a matter of principle”, before attempting to bait them into your product value proposition. Simon’s approach is well illustrated by using  Apple as an example. Compare the two sales messages below:

The What / How Sell: (how most companies sell)

  • We make great computers.
  • They’re beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.
  • Wanna buy one?

The Why / How / What  Sell : (how apple sell)

  • Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo.
  • We believe in thinking differently.
  • The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use and user-friendly.
  • And we happen to make great computers.
  • Wanna buy one?

Watch at least the first 8 mins of Simon Sinek’s 18 min TED Video (below)

Take the time to uncover your “Why” and get your customers appreciating the true value of your offering.

The “Start With Why” methodology is a quick way to qualify potential customers in or out. People who get your purpose, will quickly build powerful relationships with you.

If you do not connect on the “Why” with your customers,  be prepared for the typical transactional relationship that can quickly fall into the death spiral of price haggling.

Simon Sinek’s book is available on kindle and paper, well worth the investment.  You can read more about his methodology on his web site

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Redefining – employee commitment and work life balance

Pigs or chickens?

Too many employee’s have an entitlement attitude and its killing business owners – who’s fault is that the employee or employer?

The employee owner – divide is a constant challenge for business owners. How do you motivate your employees to go the extra mile and behave more like owners? Mastering the art of people leadership, is the toughest of all talents a business leader must acquire if they are to be successful and not die of a heart attack due to “staff issues”

Owners and employees are as different as the pig and the chicken in the “bacon and eggs” business – the pigs are committed and the chickens are involved.

Are your staff pigs or chickens?

 One of my biggest observations after working with business owners is that most people have never worked for an “inspirational leader” or in a “high performing team”.  As such they have no role models or experiences to reference to, or emulate.

 Are you an Inspirational leader and do you have a high performing team?

Yes we need to recognise that employees will never behave exactly like owners mainly because they will never have as much on the line as owners do but …

as business owners it is our role to lead and develop a culture where we can get the best out of people.

Too often I hear business owners complain about the performance of staff, in particular well-paid senior staff, yet as leaders they have not been clear and upfront with what they expect from their staff.

In my blog post on Daniel Pinks – book Drive I referenced one of his concepts that has stuck with me has been the concept of “pay people enough, to take money off the table as a motivator” and “replace it with purpose”.  Its we worth watching, RSA’s Daniel Pink Drive 10 minute video summary of the book– it is great at positioning money is not the best motivator.

A well-crafted BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) is a great way to clarify with your team the purpose. For tips on this read my BHAG blog post.

So lets set the record straight: what do we actually expect from our staff and in particular our staff paid more than $70K a year. My guess is to many people are being held ransom by their employees and are not clear enough on expectations.

 Redefining “work life balance”

One of my pet issues with “employee” logic as a opposed to “owner” logic is the distorted and biased view of work life balance.

I quote from the Department of Labour website – which typifies employee logic:

Work-life balance is about effectively managing the juggling act between paid work and other activities that are important to us – including spending time with family, taking part in sport and recreation, volunteering or undertaking further study.

Interesting all the examples on the DoL are about employees getting rather than giving.

Here is my redefined definition of work-life balance

Work-life balance is acknowledging that modern work and home life are integrated with each other and cannot be separated. 

It means: just as its ok to have time off to go watch your kids athletics, or bugger off early on a Friday to go on that Mountain bike trip with you mates, its ok to check you emails in the weekend, stay late at the office because we have a deadline.

It is not about clock watching and collating time in lieu, it’s about being part of many winning teams : at work, at our sport and  family – all simultaneously.

 Signing up staff to a new commitment contract 

How would your staff react if you asked them to sign up to a commitment pledge?

Commitment contract

I agree that I get:

  • Fair compensation for my contribution to the company?
  • An opportunity to share in the upside of the business? (profit share, bonus, promotions) 

 I commit to:

  • Being as passionate about work as my non-work life.
  • Not switching my phone or brain off as I leave the building:  So I am constantly thinking about how our business can be improved and do better , sharing my ideas with other team members
  • Spend company money as if it was my own
  • Not clog up our finance system with petty little expense claims (items less than $100) – noting it costs most organisations more than $100 to raise and settle an expense claim
  • Go the extra mile on a regular basis including doing extra hours over and above 40 hours per week

What else would you add ? …