Monday, January 23, 2023

Coaching Stories No 6 - The Importance of 'Why'

 I often start most of my sessions with Simon Sinek's 'Start with Why'. In class today we quickly looked at why knowing the 'Why' was important. Like Simon says - everyone knows 'what' they are doing but very how know 'how' they are doing it and even fewer (the successful ones) know 'why' they are doing it. Though it requires honesty and courage and clarity to spell out your 'why', it is well worth the effort.

To illustrate it I shared two stories - one of Disney World and another of stone cutters. The Disney story goes a bit like this. A pastor takes his two young children to Disney World (Disney's why and its vision is 'Making people happy'). The kids go to buy gifts for their parents and the boy drops the vase which breaks. With no money left he is crying when a passerby says they should go back to the Disney store and tell them what happened. The kids do that and the young saleswoman, guided by the company vision or purpose of 'making people happy' says it was her fault she did not pack it right and gives them a free replacement. The kid is happy and goes and tells his parents what happened. 

Identifying his values with those of the company, the pastor decides to take every single congregation to Disney World and for that small gesture of acting out on its vision, Disney got millions of dollars of business, which is not the most important thing. What's important is that smile on the kid's face! A clear vision gives you the power to decide, to strategise.

The second story is that of three stone cutters - the first is unhappy and doing shoddy work and leaving on time. When asked what he is doing he says he is cutting stones. Then another who is slightly happier - and when asked what he is doing he says he is happy to be cutting stones with his friends. Then they come upon this guy who is working all by himself with full concentration after everyone has left and when asked what he is doing he says - I am building the greatest cathedral in the world.

The first stone cutter knows what he is doing, the second knows how and the third knows why and that's the difference in the kind of work they do.

Knowing your why helps you make decisions clearly, helps you make strategies that are in alignment with your vision. it guides you. It even helps you pick the right values which you need to achieve your vision. A team that is clear about its why and wants to win will make the right decisions about who to pick, how to go about it, what are the values they espouse to achieve that vision etc.

So get honest and find your why. Some things to keep in mind while writing your why or your vision - keep a 10 year window atleast, think of the biggest possibility, think success, infuse energy, passion - stuff that makes you want to get up and do it now.    

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