Why did you get out of bed this morning? Habit? Hunger? Bladder issues?
Hopefully the main reason was that you couldn’t wait to get going on what you were going to do today. Trust me – I’m well aware that not every day can be like that but when the balance between excitement vs. dread over the day ahead tilts the wrong way, it just might be time to rethink things a bit. The reality is that many of us just keep on doing what we’re doing, feeling lucky to have a job and income, and wait for the weekend to come around. Thoreau‘s “life of quiet desperation” lives on.
Companies are like that too. While I don’t share some folks’ belief that companies are people, I do think that they have a certain amount in institutional inertia. They keep on doing what they’ve been doing, very focused on what that is and how they’re going to do it. They rarely stop, however, and think about why they’re doing – what’s their purpose beyond making money for the owners/shareholders.
I got to thinking about this as I read the book “Start With Why“, by Simon Sinek. They quick summary is that the most important thing leaders can do is to figure out why a company or organization exists and why that should be meaningful to customers and others in society. Once you get the answer and you convey it to everyone that touches the organization, the rest of the decisions about what to do and sell and how to do it become infinitely easier. Marketing, social campaigns, product choices, packaging, everything.
That principle extends to individuals. We need to think about who we are, what we stand for, be a bit more introspective. I think some of the unhappiness many people feel when they think about going to work is the dissonance between their own”why” and that of their company (or the lack of one at their job). How about you? What do you think?