In 2009 Simon Sinek filmed a Ted Talk entitled “How great leaders inspire action”. It’s a great Ted talk and I recommend watching it. The meat and potatoes of the talk are this “Successful companies and leaders know WHY they do what they do before the how and what of it”
But why is the “WHY” of what you do important? I’m sure there are far more companies out there that only really know the How and What of their business verses the ones that know the “WHY”.
I only recently watched Simon’s Ted talk during my annual Wildland Firefighting recertification and it got me thinking. For my company, Resgrid, I can give you the WHY of my company in 3 words “Empowering First Responders”. This drives why the company exists, why I have a free plan when pretty much every SaaS book/blog/talk/course out there says not to and why we’ve been adding new features while keeping the cost as low as possible.
The “WHY” of your company (or you) does what it does gives you purpose, direction and principals. If it is well stated, simple and communicated it will be far easier to get all your employees, partners, etc all moving in the same direction toward the same goal.
The “HOW” and “WHAT” of you company will change over time, but the “WHY” never should. You may start out with one direction say creating mobile applications then start delivering a SaaS solution. Your “WHAT” will also change, you may pivot, change markets or start making hardware instead of software. But your “WHY” is your rock, your north star.
Companies that don’t know their “WHY” end up thinking that their WHAT and HOW are what matters. They let their technology stack define their identify or their market. Your “WHY” can define your market or define your company philosophy. If your only in business to make money that’s ok too, but that’s more difficult to communicate to your customers.
Communicate up and down your company structure ensuring everyone is on the same page. Share it with your customers and perspective customers. People like knowing why something the way it is and it will endear them to your company and it’s brand.
Resgrid is a SaaS product utilizing Microsoft Azure, providing logistics, management and communication tools to first responder organizations like volunteer fire departments, career fire departments, EMS, search and rescue, CERT, public safety, disaster relief organizations, etc. It was founded in late 2012 by myself and Jason Jarrett (staxmanade).