The power of really knowing your organisation’s why – a simple guide
By Julia Capon
Understanding your why – the thing that gets you out of bed in the morning and inspires you to do your best work – is one of the ultimate motivators. If you know WHY your organisation exists, you can add a deeper and emotional value.
Give your organisation the best shot by speaking your WHY when applying for funding, recruiting, pitching, telling someone at a networking function what you do, and more.
Those I have talked to in the for-purpose world who have a really clear WHY – become magnets for what they want and need for their organisations. Sound like something you want to achieve too?
If you want to get some insights into how to map this powerful tool out, here are some simple steps to put forward a concise description of WHY you do what you do.
**In February, I am running the For-Purpose Bootcamp and one of the key pillars we focus on is heart: helping for-purpose professionals like you define and use your WHY as the heartbeat of your organisation. Keep your eyes out for this limited time offer opening on Thursday, 20 January 2022, or jump to the bottom of this blog to book a free clarity call.
LET’S SWITCH THE PITCH
Instead of talking about WHAT we provide, we need to lead with our values instead of our services. Your organisation needs to put forward a concise description of WHY you do what you do.
Have a look at Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle. What do you see at the heart of it? It is your why or the reason for doing what you do.
Instead of focusing on the service you provide, e.g “we provide housing for the homeless”, you need to focus on your why – in this example, your why may actually be about helping people get a leg up and off the streets – giving them a safe and secure space with the support they need so they can break out of this cycle.
HOW TO FIND YOUR WHY
Shout out to Simon Sinek’s Find Your WHY for the inspiration for this post. Simon’s favourite catchphrase is “people don’t buy (or in our case support) what you do, they buy WHY you do it”
You can do the below exercise as a team or a group within your organisation, or as an individual (I highly recommend finding your personal WHY first).
WHAT’S YOUR CONTRIBUTION?
Can you describe the times that you have felt the most successful and proud as a Do Good work place? I bet that there are so many of them. Start by thinking about the most recent few months and work back from there.
When you have thought about your success stories and the contributions that your organisation has made you will probably begin to see some themes arise, these themes are your ‘contributions’.
Here are a few examples on story themes that can be used as contributions:
- Empower and educate
- Challenge key issues
- Strengthen communities
- Provide a safe space
CAPTURE YOUR IMPACT
Now, ask yourselves what your organisation allows others to be or do.
Get personal because it all comes back to people, whether you are selling a product or providing a service, at the end of the day we are all human and humans need connection. Sometimes one word will be enough to capture your impact, other times you might need a few.
In this story we showed up and _______
CRAFT YOU WHY STATEMENT
Are you ready?… Here is the gold.
Now you can craft your WHY statement.
TO _______________ (contribution) SO THAT ________________ (impact).
Your contribution will be the theme that you have chosen from above and the impact is most likely the verb you identified above.
TIP: Even though your stories were in past tense, change them to present tense when crafting your WHY statement. Now remember, you don’t have to commit to the first sentence you write down. Start digging deeper to get to that treasure chest of gold.
It can be hard to keep the simplicity of the structure so that it can be remembered and acted on, while you dig deeper to describe the feeling of the words. That’s why it is so important to test it out loud, in an elevator or at your keynote presentation.
TEST YOUR WHY
Now use your WHY and see how it goes. Actually lead with the WHY when people ask what you do and see what questions come up and the reactions with it.
The words of your WHY may change over time but the meaning behind those words should not.
I love to focus on the idea of getting this 1% better everytime you say it – because if you say it once a day for a whole year you will get 37 X better (1.01 to the power of 365 = 37.8)
KEEP THE WHY ALIVE
Make it a habit to ask yourself, what did I do today that is a tangible result of our WHY? Share these actions (the HOWs and WHATs) as wins amongst your team and be sure to celebrate them.
Keep in mind that the times we feel the most successful and fulfilled is when you are living your WHY.
WHAT’S NEXT? – WORK ON THE HOW
When you feel like you have a solid WHY defined, it’s time to re-evaluate your key deliverables and the core work to check that everything you do aligns with the WHY.
The themes that you identified early on are also your strengths and your HOWs are the actions that lead us to make the biggest impact. Every member of your team will be able to contribute to your HOWs, some will be shared and others will be specific to them and their job within the organisation.
The HOWs then lead to the WHATs – the product or service, chances are, you were describing your WHAT before reading this, instead of leading with the WHY.
THE DO GOOD JOBS WHY
For Do Good Jobs, our why is:
WHY: To support purpose-led people and their organisations to thrive so that they can
create change faster and with ease.
HOW: We do this by connecting, supporting and upskilling purpose-led people.
WHAT: We provide an online jobs board, a community and provide professional development through online courses, focused on creating more impact.
In support of this why, we are running a 6-week For-Purpose Bootcamp in February to help for-purpose leaders with our three key pillars of for-purpose success: getting the head, heart and hands working together for maximum impact.
The heart pillar focuses on crafting a vision for your life and a compelling why for your organisation.
The For-Purpose Bootcamp spends two weeks diving into helping you define and use your WHY, because we know that it is the heartbeat of your organisation!
If you want to find out more about the content we’ll cover, check out workshops.dogoodjobs.co.nz/for-purpose-bootcamp. There are a handful of free 30-minute clarity calls to see if this investment is the right fit for you. Jump in quick to book a call as these are going fast!