Why: Communicating Why You Do What You Do
Many organizations have a pretty clear idea about “what” they do and “how” they do it. However, when you are trying to inspire people about your mission, most aren’t motivated to engage with you by hearing just the “what” and “how”. People get excited about the “why!”
Why do you do what you do?
Why does what you do matter?
What is your purpose, your cause, your beliefs?
Why does your organization exist?
Simon Sinek has a powerful concept, called the Golden Circle, to change how you communicate your mission to the world. The example organization he uses to explain the Golden Circle is Apple. Instead of starting with the “what” and ending with the “why,” Apple starts with the “why” and ends with the “what.” Instead of just saying they use electronics to make people’s lives easier, Apple’s mission is to make people’s lives easier—and it just so happens that the way they make people’s lives easier is through electronics.
So, how does this apply to you? Take a look at this case study about communicating the “why” first.
Private School Case Study
A private school came to PWI wanting to boost their enrollment.
- We are a school with great teachers and unique educational opportunities (that’s leading with the “what”)
- We hire high quality staff and frequently expand our programs and offerings (that’s the “how”)
- We want to inspire students to get ahead in life and succeed (that’s ending with the “why”)
This school ended with the “what” and the “how” instead of the “why!” And it wasn’t very inspiring—in fact, it sounded like pretty much every other school.
Revamped Communication Study
- Our passion is inspiring students to succeed in life in every way they can (that’s leading with the “why”)
- We do this by providing students with unique educational opportunities and quality teachers and mentors (the “how”)
- We just happen to be an exemplary school, and we want you to enroll (ending with the “what”)
Simply restructuring the way you communicate your message could be the difference between an excited, motivated audience and an indifferent one. The next time you’re called upon to communicate the mission of your organization, take a minute to think about “why” you do “what” you do and why it excites you—then lead with the “why” instead of the “what!” If you and your team are inspired by “why” you do “what” you do, chances are your audience will be too.
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