Why Not Be Inspiring?

February 28, 2019 by FlexPro

My Senior Leadership Team and I recently challenged ourselves this quarter to read Simon Sinek’s book, “Start With the Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.” If you’re not familiar with Sinek, in addition to author, he is a leadership expert and a professor at Columbia University. As a team, here at FlexPro we have been talking a lot about focusing on the bigger picture and we’ve been using Sinek as a guide to help us along the way. In project management we work with a team where each person has a role. Like pieces of a puzzle, many of the parts may be different, but everything fits together in pursuit of a bigger picture, the completion of the project. Leading a team though the various phases of the project we encounter many critical components, but none more important than the people that make up our team.

Sinek has developed something he calls the Golden Circle. Basically, it looks like a bulls-eye with the center circle being “why”, the middle circle being “how” and the outer most circle being “what”. He believes successful companies and people start with the “why” first. The “why” is the core foundation of what they believe, the reason for their existence. The “why” is then followed by the “how”: how does the company and its people achieve the core principles? Then finally the “what”: what do they do? For perspective, members of your team can show up each day and know what they’re doing and how to do it, but do they really understand why? Do they know how important they are in the bigger picture, not just their small role in the process? At our leadership meeting we used an example of a new drug launch. The team is not just working on a project to launch a new drug. The bigger picture is that they’re working to launch a new drug that could cure a disease or improve someone’s quality of life.

There are many wonderful quotes that Sinek offers and I’ll share my favorite since it’s so relevant to what we believe at FlexPro. “People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.” Sinek believes that people who are inspired at work, will in turn inspire others. The challenge to my leadership team: how do we make ourselves the kind of great leaders that inspire others?

At FlexPro, our mantra states, “We believe in the value of people.” I believe in the “why” because it’s:

  • about helping our people find their passion for what they show up to do each day
  • understanding the bigger picture of their role in the process, not just about hitting the milestones and making the project deadline

Additionally, our mantra also states, “We believe in making the world a better place.”  I believe in the “why” because it’s:

  • important to believe in something bigger than ourselves
  • about having a sense of greater purpose

It’s worth taking a step back to really examine the “why” of what we’re doing. If we want our team to understand the “how” and the “what”, we need to properly communicate “why”. When they have a full understanding of the “why” of what they do and how it fits into the big picture, they are more likely to work with passion, in turn inspiring others to do the same.

As Sinek says, ” When people are financially invested, they want a return. When people are emotionally invested, they want to contribute.”

-Lynn Faughey, FlexPro COO

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