We do business strategy consulting. But what keeps us going client after client is the why we do it. As a group, we enjoy teaching executive leadership and their companies how to think differently for their businesses. After all these years, we still enjoy seeing the excitement come back into an organization that had become trapped in only seeing daily operations. It is the ‘why’ that makes us get on the road again. It is the ‘why’ that keeps us meeting new people in our networking. It is the ‘why’ that makes us give presentations at conferences and write blogs and articles. So how does this relate to strategy? Glad you asked!
As business consultants, we have worked with many clients who cannot see their future. Henry Ford said, “If you do not think about the future, you won’t have one.” Henry Ford knew the secret of business success. Companies must be able to ‘see’ what they want to be or they can never get what they think they want. Even worse, if the executive leadership cannot provide a description for their employees to follow, they will wander aimlessly not knowing the direction of the company. It is very hard to get a company moving in the right direction when the leadership fails to remember the ‘why’ of their business in the first place.
It is the ‘why’ that provides motivation, direction, vision, and drive. According to the book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire by Simon Sinek, it is because Steve Jobs remembers their ‘why’ that Apple leads the market in innovation and cool gadgets. The public makes buying decisions at least in part because of Apple’s ‘why’ and gets emotionally involved when making those purchases. It is the ‘why’ that allows companies to stand apart and be different. In other words, it is the ‘why’ that allows executive leadership to see the future and, therefore, create the future.
Because people do allow themselves to get caught up in daily operations, it is important to schedule a block of time for you to create your future. We recommend to our clients that they schedule a monthly appointment with themselves to allow time to create the future, assess their staying true to the ‘why,’ and develop an action plan to make the future of their company a reality. In many ways, this is an alternative to the standard operations assessment. If the leadership isn’t dedicated to the future, it doesn’t make sense to expect the employees to do it. When leadership doesn’t create the future, we usually see an organization that has become reactive. They fall into the victim mentality of blaming the economy, the competition, and sometimes even the employees of their own company.
Knowing ‘why’ not only produces the vision for the future, but it also provides momentum when the going gets tough. Being a leader is a tough job, but it is even tougher when you don’t take the time to be intentional and deliberate. With the ‘why’ firmly in mind, you’ll find yourself taking control, creating the future, and providing direction for your company.