nexVortex BLOG

Great Businesses Know their “Why.” What is yours?

Patti Dean

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it.” Simon Sinek says this in his TED Talk, offering it as a model for inspirational leadership. It was recorded at TEDxPuget Sound in September of 2009. More than 33.3 million people have watched it since then.

What Mr. Sinek is talking about is summed up in his global bestseller, “Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action.”

Do you know your Why? Without it, Sinek posits, you can’t really know what products and services to offer, or how to lead your company through the process of innovation.

Everyone has a Why

It might just be 20 of the best minutes you’ll spend today. If you haven’t already seen it, head here and watch Simon Sinek’s TEDx Talk. Here’s the logic behind why this concept is so powerful.

  • Many companies and employees know WHAT they do.
  • Some even know HOW they do it.
  • Truly inspired and successful ones know WHY they do it.

According to Sinek, knowing your Why gives you what he calls “a filter” to make choices at work and at home, which will help you find greater fulfillment.

Hey, that’s a pretty cool idea to apply to your life—but what happens when an entire company applies it?

What does that look like, anyway?

The way most companies go about it

Sinek draws three concentric circles. “What” is in the outer one. “How” is in the next. “Why” is in the middle. Then he points out that most companies follow an “outside-in” mode of communicating. They tell us What they make, and How it (not they) are different. Most never even make it to the “Why” part.

In his TEDx Talk, he uses Apple Computer as an example of starting with Why. Sinek explains that Apple has always first communicated their beliefs. We know from their consistent marketing that they believe in changing the status quo, in thinking differently. Their Why. A company’s Why is their core belief – it is why the company exists.

How do they do this? All Apple ever did to become so wildly successful was to, as Sinek puts it, “reverse the flow of information.” They made sure they knew Why before they ever got around to the How and the What.

It’s because we want to do business with people who believe what we believe

Fasten your seat belt. At about 11 and a half minutes into the talk, Sinek explains that these principles follow the biological makeup of our brain as it has evolved over time.

It’s like a roller coaster ride. Simon Sinek starts the talk and delivers it with such a rapid pace that it’s over before you know it. And, you simply want to queue up and jump back on the ride again. And, it’s why we ultimately have brand preferences.

Those brand preferences include whom we choose as friends. What? Think about it. We select our friends because they share our beliefs. So, we tend to pay attention when they do happen to make a recommendation about a product or service.

Why, then, do businesses—with which we have no association—expect us to buy their product or service by leading off with What they sell, and How it works?

What we really want to know first is Why they do what they do.

Amusingly, amazingly simple

When nexVortex was founded, we believed, and still do, that delivering Uncommon Service mattered more than anything we did.  Our Why has always centered around making the buying experience, the user experience, and the support experience of Cloud Communications the best in the business.

Our focus on Uncommon Service drives every decision we make from the quality and reliability we build into our offerings to the resources we hire to support them.

As you come into the second half of 2018, take the time to define your company’s Why.  Here are some good resources from TED Talks and HubSpot to help you do that.

If working with a company which is focused on your success and whose Why is delivering you Uncommon Service, give us a call — contact nexVortex.



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