What's your WHY? by Michael Jackson, PKF New Zealand
No doubt this latest lockdown has had an impact on your business. For all essential businesses it means trading with challenges and within Government guidelines, for non-essential businesses it meant closing completely and for others it may have provided opportunity.
The journey of being in business can be a rollercoaster ride and this last year has seen challenging times, particularly for small to medium businesses. We hope that you have all remained well during these times and that the support we are providing is helpful and timely.
Times like these often prompt us to think, to stand back and reflect on our business. To do this effectively we often need to look outside of the business and our existing knowledge - we don’t know what we don’t know.
To assist with this, one of the resources I’ve found valuable is to revisit some work that Simon Sinek delivers around thinking about your business, starting with the WHY, followed by the HOW and then the WHAT.
WHY is the purpose, HOW is the process and WHAT is the result. He defines happiness as coming from WHAT we do and getting fulfilment from WHY we do it.
At PKF NZ our WHY (purpose) is to drive business success (for our clients). Our vision, values, actions and services align to this purpose. Our team are inspired by our purpose and our core values are reflected in our workplace culture.
WHY (purpose) are you in business? We don’t mean about making money (that’s a result of being in business). Why does your business exist? What’s your purpose, cause, or beliefs behind what you are doing? It’s the thing that motivates you to get out of bed in the morning and the very reason your business exists. It inspires your team, stands the test of time and is truly authentic. This doesn’t change but the way you deliver on it may change, evolve, and adapt over time.
HOW (action) – most organisations or businesses know their HOW. These are the things that you do to make your business special or set you apart from your competition. They are the specific actions you take to realise your WHY.
WHAT (result) – every organisation or business knows WHAT they do. These are the products you sell or the services that you offer. It’s WHAT you do, as the result of your WHY. It’s the proof.
Do you know your WHY and is your team inspired and empowered by this? While I’m sure they understand the products and services you offer, do they understand why your business exists, your beliefs, values, and purpose? Are they aligned with your purpose? Do you consider this important when recruiting and retaining team members?
The advertising industry has embraced this concept over the last decade. Switch on the television and look at how adverts have changed – many now appeal to values or tell a story rather than selling a particular service or product. i.e., the Warehouse (Father’s Day), Westpac, BNZ etc. When businesses are offering similar products or services the thing that stands out and resonates with consumers is their story.
Remembering, that to be successful your HOW (actions) and WHAT (products and services) need to align with the story that people have bought into. You can’t have a great story and deliver poor products or services etc.
I challenge you to take a moment to consider your WHY. Is this driving your HOW and WHAT or the other way around? If you’re not sure where to start, we have a free worksheet to help clarify your WHY so that you can articulate this to your customers. Then you can position your HOW and your WHAT to ensure you live into your WHY. Please get in touch if you would like a copy of this or would like any information.
Finally, I’ll leave you to consider another Simon Sinek quote “working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress. Working hard for something we love is called passion”.