What great leaders, past and present, who you admire or inspire you? What do they have in common? Perhaps, they believe in their vision for their products or services and make their customers believe in it too. Simon Sinek, in his book How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, talks about how organizations of all sizes and industries start with their “why” and inspire people to be part of that why. Sinek reasons that you would need to understand why your company exists and why your customers do business with you. They do business with you because they believe what you believe. Think about it, why would you do business with a company? It makes sense that you would because you and that business believe in the same thing. It means that you’re connecting with your customers, and they know it because they feel a sense of mutual understanding.
Take for example, great, innovative leaders like Steve Job who recognized the importance of “why”. Everything that he did and created at Apple seemed to be driven by “why”. Why was Apple created? Their why is in the vision of Apple. Their vision, simple yet sophisticated, is translated into beautifully designed and innovative solutions that continuously appeal to customers’ own vision and tastes. Customers pay for Apple products to be part of Apple why and to be associated with their brand and the image that they create. Customers, in general, want people to know that they use Apple. In a way, it’s a fashion statement. They like to be associated with the image that Apple conveys. It’s the humanness that sells. Apple why is what gain customer loyalty.
What does this mean for you? The best way to discover your own why and translate that in terms that agree with your customers is to understand why your company exists. Why are you unique? Do you know why your business exists? Do you know how to translate that why into something tangible? Know your why. Know the why of your competitors and industry leaders. This will give you a competitive edge and allow you to set yourself and your brand apart from the rest. It’s important to have your own unique why to stand out and survive in a tough economy.
What are some of the characteristics of a why mindset? Here are some why personalities to adopt and put in practice because you want others to see them in everything that you do.
- Purpose and Direction. I am focused. I have a strong sense of purpose and direction. I’m inspired to constantly learn. This purpose and direction propels me to be open to creativity and to learn something new or reinvent myself that will put me in a better position to offer more and do more for my customers. I seek to understand my customers’ whys so that I can enhance my existing product portfolio and provide a new service offering or a new product line. I, at times, may be driven to start a new business endeavor, or even a new partnership. This leads to a sense of high energy, excitement of anticipation, and creativity. And my customers will sense my purpose and direction.
- Personal and Professional Growth. I continue to learn and grow. I’m inquisitive. I ask a lot of why questions and won’t stop until I’m satisfied. I approach challenges and problems with a fresh set of eyes, not coming in with all the answers. I know that there’s a power greater than me. It’s no longer all about me and what I can achieve, and how people can help me get what I needed. It’s now more about them and how I can help them achieve what they’re trying to do. I want to be in a different place tomorrow than where I am today. My why mindset propels me forward. And my customers will see a future in me.
- Sound Decision. Because I have a clear strategy, purpose, vision, and direction, I make sound decisions that are based on knowing why my customers are satisfied, dissatisfied, or indifferent. I look to understand the why in everything that existing and prospective customers do and say so that I can navigate today’s chopping waters while heading toward the true north. And my customers will feel a sense of reassurance that I have a collaborative mindset.
- Curiosity. I have a razor sharp level of curiosity. I have a striving curiosity. I need to stay curious and unknowing so that I never stop learning. I want to learn from my customers, get to know why they remain loyal, and why they would want to go elsewhere. Is my why in alignment with their why? And my customers will see I have a strong sense of curiosity that is apparent in everything I do and deliver.
- Visionary. I see beyond today, beyond the current circumstances, and I see the results days, months, and even years before they occur. I inspire others to see the same vision and to do their part in bringing the vision into a reality. And my customers are inspired to catch the vision and run with it.
- Life Purpose/Core Essence. Why am I here? What am I here to accomplish? What’s my personal purpose? When I understand why I exist, I’d understand how to translate that into something that appeals to people. And my customers see the human side of me because it’s a reflection of everything that I do and everything that I stand for.
Conquer old mindsets that are unproductive to your personal and professional growth and development. This requires introspection and raw honesty. Endeavor to change those mindsets that are not producing optimal results and adopt the right mindsets that will lead you to better results.
Do you have a why story to share? Do you have a brand or brands that you’re loyal to? I’d like to hear from you.