Business Purpose: The Importance of Why

I recently re-watched Simon Sinek’s TED talk entitled How Great Leaders Inspire Action.  It reminded me how often we forget the importance of the question “Why.”   Why did we start this business? What is our business purpose?  Why do we do what we do?  Why did I choose this career?  Why do I work so hard every day?  WHY?

Take a few minutes and watch Simon’s talk:

Starting and running a business is one of the most difficult, yet most fulfilling, adventures in the world.  It’s a roller coaster ride of high highs and very low lows.  If you don’t know your purpose, you’ll quickly get lost and likely fail.  It’s so easy for us to get caught up in the “What” or “How,” and neglect the “Why.”  The “Why” is our foundation.  It is our moral compass.  It should be the basis of all decisions.  Companies without an understanding of “Why” aren’t sustainable businesses.  Leaders that don’t have a purpose aren’t leaders – they are followers.

Most of us get lost along the way.  We get distracted with the day-to-day.  We start existing instead of living.  The same thing happens in business.  We get caught up in the motions and stop fulfilling our purpose.  If the business doesn’t know its purpose, it’s impossible for the employees to fulfill its mission.  Instead, the business meanders and never reaches its potential.  Don’t fall into this trap.  Today you can decide to reset.  Re-establish your “Why.”  Make the “Why” the focus of your business.  Make decisions based on your “Why.”  Be intentional about your company and don’t compromise.

There’s tremendous freedom in understanding your “Why.”  You will have a clear purpose and reason for existing.  Build your company with intention.  Otherwise, you’ll end up building an organization that you despise, that has no purpose, and is doomed for eventual failure.  Focus on the “Why” each and every day.  Ingrain it in your culture.  Constantly remind your employees, customers, and partners why you do what you do.  Companies that understand their business purpose and live it out daily create real market value and make a true impact on everyone they interact with.  These unique companies are the ones we remember.  They make a long-term impact on the lives of their employees and customers.  These companies truly enjoy the ride and don’t need to reach the next destination in order to receive fulfillment.  Build a “Why” company, not a “What” company.