Most Organizations– Know ‘How’, Know ‘What’, But Very Few Know ‘Why’: Lacking Is Clear, Concise, Definitive ‘Purpose’…

Why does your organization exist?  This may sound a bit existential, but it’s a powerful and important exercise… What would happen if your organization just went away; simply did not exist? What would the world be missing? So, ‘why’ does your organization exist; can you answer that question in one concise sentence, say; 10 words or less?

According to Jeanne Coughlin; there’s power in breaking something down to its core, to its essence and very heart of why it exists– getting a clear definition on the ‘purpose’ of an organization and being able to communicate its ‘purpose’ and ‘reason for existence’ succinctly lays the foundation for all strategies, planning, decision-making… According to Ronald Coase; the job of clever people is to ask difficult questions, and the job of very clever people is to ask deceptively simple ones, such as: Why do companies exist?

According to Ron Goerz; employees in every company and at every level need to know that at the heart of what they do lies something grand and aspirational… most company executives give little thought to the ‘why’ question and so operate in short-sighted, reactive mode, and often lose their way by getting involved in variety of random pursuits… According to Jim Collins and Jerry Porras; executives in strong and enduring companies have a clear understanding of ‘why’ they started the company and remained true to that reason…

Getting clarity is hard work, but it starts with asking, a simple question: Why does the company exist? According to Jeph Maystruck; all stakeholders in an organization must continually ask the question; What is the absolute core ‘purpose’ of the organization; the reason that it exists. Once you fully understand ‘why’ your company exists it’s much easier to understand ‘how’ you’re going to sell, ‘what’ you’re going to sell… Almost everything in the world is now a commodity– it’s at core of every business, so in order to succeed you must; first know ‘why’, then know ‘how’, then know ‘what’– in that order…

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In the article Why Does Your Company Exist? by Simon Sinek writes: The mistake so many business people make is that they tell us what the company does and how they think they are better, but there is not a single mention of; Why the company exists in the first place. And, it’s the ‘why’ that matters most in a purchase decision. People are not attracted to ‘what’ you do, they are drawn to ‘why’ you do it.  And ‘why’ is what truly differentiates one company from another…

Before consumers can know your ‘why’, you must know it first… And, if you don’t know ‘why’ you do what you do, how can expect others to know? For many, the ‘why’ starts as a feeling: Call it drive or passion or inspiration or something in your gut, it doesn’t matter. Only when that feeling is translated in words can it become actionable, scalable… Only when others can repeat your ‘why’ as clearly as you can, only then can you become a leader. And when you lead, you never have to sell on price…

People don’t buy ‘what’ you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it… That means that the ‘why’ is extremely important to most everyone’s buying decision. Their choice to buy from you says as much about them and their beliefs as it does about you… The most successful companies start their marketing with ‘why’ they exist, their purpose. Then they move to ‘how’ they do what they do. Lastly they talk about ‘what’ it is they are selling…

According to Mr. Sinek; the relationship between why, how, what…  is known as ‘the golden circle’... However, many companies do exact opposite and start with ‘what’, then ‘how’ and never talk about ‘why’. The most obvious example of this is when someone talks about features and not benefits… People don’t buy ‘what’ you do, they buy ‘why’ you do it…

In the article Why Does Your Company Exist? by Dick Barnett writes: A company’s ‘mission’ is the single most important reason for its exists… and, every organization should best expressed it as clearly and concisely as possible in the fewest words as possible, e.g., in least than 10 words… Your ‘mission’ is the specific purpose of your company: It’s the reason to be’… And, the ‘mission’ is not something an organization is going ‘toward’ or going ‘to do’; that’s a goal or objective: Mission is what the organization is’ The very ‘being’ of the company. Mission is the ‘core’ of the organization. If this distinction is not made absolutely clear to everyone concerned, then nothing else will really hold the organization together…

A clear ‘mission’ statement is the single key ingredient missing in 95% of most companies… that oversight prevents them from being as successful as they could be! When the mission is absolutely clear, you’ll actually reduce the amount of energy you spend, resources you need, and get even more accomplished…

When everyone is involved; you, your employees, your suppliers, your customers, your competitors… and, all-knowing exactly ‘why’ your company exists, you’ll eliminate unproductive conflict and resistance, and lead with greater ease, confidence, certainty. So, What’s the secret here? Simply; Successful organizations have clear, easily remembered ‘mission’ statements that express core, underlying reason the organization exists– no fluff, no platitudes. Unless the mission is clear, people will naturally be going in different (albeit sometimes subtly different) directions… and no organization will be very successful when that happens!

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In the article Why Does Your Business Exist, Why Does That Matter? by Sitima Fowler write: Do you know the– what, how, why of your company? Every company knows ‘what’ they do: They know the product or service they deliver. Most companies know ‘how’ they do it: This is the process and workflow they follow. However, if you ask most management or employees of a company; if they know ‘why’ they do what they do, you may get a blank stare. The companies that really get the ‘why’ of their business (their purpose and their reason for exiting), are the ones that win. They push and operate from the inside out, pushing their ‘why’ out through their ‘how’ and what’. This way, everything they do from their products to processes, is centered on the very core, the heart of their ‘mission’…

In the article Does Your Business Have a Reason To Exist? by John Morgan writes: When you have a reason to exist in a marketplace, you become worthy of people’s attention and patronage… Doing something different from everyone else is the difference between your product being on the front page of a magazine or buried several pages inside. The reason many business fail to have differentiating factor is because being different is very hard…

It’s not everyday you come up with an idea that changes an entire industry. But don’t be misguided… You don’t have to flip an industry on it’s head to stand out… But, you must offer something others don’t. Bring something new to the table. Do something that’s worth people’s attention… Find a void, fill it: Have a reason to exist, otherwise you’re just taking up space…

According to Allan Dib; many businesses don’t have a reason to exist: Harsh but true… The problem is that these businesses are just another ‘me too’ business… Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong in modeling something that’s already working. In fact that’s a very smart thing to do… However, it’s highly likely that competitors that they are modeling after, are in the same situation as they are, i.e., struggling to win business with no compelling reason ‘why’ you should buy from them…

They based their most important business decisions on guesses and on what their mediocre competitors are doing… It’s the blind leading the blind… Hey, I’m not trying be downer or discourage you. I’m just trying to make you think: If you haven’t clarified, first in your mind; ‘why’ your business exists and ‘why’ people should buy from you, rather than your nearest competitor, then your business is in deep trouble…

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In the article Why Does Your Organization Exist? by Susan Radojevic writes: I am  fascinated by the ‘why’ questions. I believe some of the most powerful outcomes are a result of asking questions that start with– Why? or Why not? or What if? When you ask CEOs why their organizations exist; many times an answer is not always forthcoming and often times it’s– ‘to make a profit’.

According to Simon Sinek; profit is a result not a purpose… So, why does your organization exist? By the ‘why’ I mean– What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning and why should anyone care? The answers that many people give to these questions suggests– that more creative thinking is needed; that is, in order to have a sustainable business in today’s market, corporate leaders must ‘think’ deeper…

They must find or remind themselves of their organization’s ‘purpose’ so they can– empower, grow, inspire action from all stakeholders… Many organizations in the past used a linear business approach, which placed achieving profits above all else, at all costs… However in today’s ‘digital and knowledge economy’ this linear approach is like putting the cart before the horse…

In all organization there’s ‘know-how’ and then there’s ‘know why’… According to Ralph Waldo Emerson; the man who knows ‘how’ will always have a job, the man who also knows ‘why’ will always be the boss– there must be a balance of– ‘know why’, ‘know how’ in order to generate positive results According to Wisdom Chitedze; problem is we get so caught up in the nitty-gritty of implementation that we forget ‘why’ we are here in the first place… ‘why’ is just as important as ‘how’; they are not mutually exclusive.

According to Usman Sheikh; answer to the ‘why’ question involves two fundamental factors; clarity of purpose and passion… Without these two factors, one usually ends up listening to convoluted stories without the vital ‘x-factor’. The answer to the ‘why’ question is what some people call the elevator pitch– a concise snippet about one’s business. It’s essential to spend time perfecting the pitch, making sure that it’s– concise, clear, full of energy

According to Jim Heskett; purpose is a powerful motivator on many levels, but can you aspire to a strong sense of ‘know why’ even if your organization is not out to change the world? Most management work very hard to make their organizations succeed without clarity of purpose… However, without knowing the ‘purpose’, without knowing the ‘why’ of an organization it’s a pursuit of an existence that doesn’t matter