Creating a Why Statement for Your Business
Every business has a “why” behind what they do (whether they know it or not), and we’ve spent a lot of time articulating ours and getting it just right. Below we’ll share not only our own why statement and what it means to us, but why your business should also think about a why statement.
Why you need a Why statement
Our enlightening moment for creating a Why statement came from the book by Simon Sinek, Start with Why. It caused our leaders to ask the question, “why are we in this business?” We wanted to do so much more than just insurance transactions. We wanted our team to feel like there was a purpose for themselves individually. It’s about so much more than just coming to a job and wanting it to end. Our challenge was to connect our staff and their personal lives to the reason they come to work every day.
A Why statement enables you as a leader to allow your entire team (and even clients) to see the business as so much more than just “work.” It’s about connecting work with life. We often spend more time with our co-workers than we do with our own household. Your work environment should make you a better person. It should be rewarding. A Why statement connects it all.
Our Why statement: We lead to inspire confidence so your potential is unleashed.
If you think about it, you can’t do anything without confidence. Confidence in who you are and how you’re uniquely gifted is so important. You can’t lead others if you don’t have confidence in leading yourself.
There are times in your life when you had great confidence – you knew what you were supposed to do and you felt uniquely gifted for it. It’s so much easier when you have confidence. We see this play out in everything from hitting a golf ball to parenting.
We want our clients to be confident in who we are and in who they are. We want to feel unleashed and we want to partner with them in that. All of our clients have purpose in what it is that they do. They also have unique challenges. There’s great efficiency when you have that confidence.
Challenges with creating our Why statement
As we created this new why statement, we certainly faced our share of challenges. We had an introverted, technical culture that preferred to show up, work, and go home. They didn’t see the personal benefit to finding a “why” or purpose at work.
Our ownership group lived out everything we implemented with our staff which gave us the confidence to start the interaction process with our staff. At first, we asked questions, and let them know we had their best interests at heart. Our team began to see that what we were doing was unique. They liked the feeling when their personal why statement aligned with our corporate why statement and that our combined purpose led to a greater good. People started to see we needed a better understanding of where we are relationally and make sure people are using their gifts because it benefited every relationship and made us better teammates.
Words of wisdom as you create your own Why statement
Steve Harmon, Principal Commercial Insurance, played a large role in the creation of our new Why statement. He has some advice to share with those looking to create a Why statement of their own.
“My advice to business owners on how to go after a new why statement – you’re going to make mistakes in the area of finding out what’s genuine and what isn’t. But you’ve got to start somewhere. Mistakes are your best teachers.
We had to first learn how to lead ourselves before we could lead others, and we certainly grew from the mistakes we made throughout this process.”Steve Harmon
Once trust occurs and your leaders all define the word “leadership” and ‘“teamwork” the same then it’s much easier to align and adopt a shared purpose. Finally, for Trust to thrive it requires a bedrock built on purpose and while some battles are worth avoiding to win a war, this battle is worth fighting every day because our purpose informs our actions.