What separates people like Jack Ma, Steve Jobs, Martin Luther King, Richard Branson, Nelson Mandela and others like them from the rest of us? What makes them such compelling individuals and such successful visionaries?
It’s easy to think it’s something enigmatic they were inherently born with… but it’s not. They just have something that the rest of us often struggle to find: a compelling purpose (and a relentless drive to bring it to fruition).
Vision gets talked about a lot. Just do a Google search for the topic and you’ll find hundreds of articles espousing the importance of vision to effective leadership in business. But if you don’t have a vision… how do you find it?
I’ve seen more than one person and business struggle with this and I’ve even struggled with it myself. But the truth is, it boils down to a single, simple question:
Or in a little more detail, “Why are you doing what you are doing in the first place?” and “why should anyone care?”
Those of you who read the ATP Blog regularly are no strangers to this question. I talk about it all the time. And there’s a good reason: the answer to that question can transform your business — sometimes overnight.
Here are 3 reasons why answering the question “why” for yourself will do so for yours.
People buy from those whose vision aligns with theirs.
I had someone that recently knocked on my door to help them with their next sales hire after his other recruiting firm had let them down (mishire city). But I had ZERO clue that he had been watching me for over 6 months before he finally decided to initiate a conversation.
Why was I top of mind for so long? Because my “why” was firmly aligned with theirs — something that was missing from the last firm they worked with.
By having a vision your customers can align with (like a better world, a more secure future, or an easier day to day, etc.) and putting profit in its rightful place (a result of successfully bringing your vision to life for them), you’re able to align your customers with something deeper than just a task that needs to be completed.
And that creates much deeper trust with your customer or anyone you connect with (personally or professionally).
There’s no greater expert on this subject than Simon Sinek and he sums up why this is actually something of biological importance in his legendary TED Talk below. I implore you to watch this and apply it:
Transcript of "How great leaders inspire action"
TED Talk Subtitles and Transcript: Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership -- starting…
So I want to ask an invasive question (and I want you to be really honest with yourself): is your why “profit”?
I hate to say it, but if it is, you’re crippling your business’s chances in the long run, because no one is in business to support your personal financial gain.
I mean, imagine a strategic partner you work with regularly… if they marketed themselves as an opportunity to add to their own profit, would you be in a hurry to work with them? I think not.
But what if they showed you how they were building a better world and gave you a road map to get there? Much more compelling right?
Take some time to answer the question “why” and learn how to articulate it to your customers in the most compelling way possible. You’ll see a difference VERY quickly.
Having a “why” makes your business more valuable to the right people.
I think most people understand that specialists (i.e. businesses that differentiate themselves from the competition in a way that is desirable to certain customers) get paid more. But a lot of people miss the fact that a compelling and unique “why” (and being able to clearly articulating it) needs to be the foundation of that differentiation.
Sure, you can differentiate yourself by simply stating “what” you do. But your customers are going to be much more eager to get on board if you can build that on a vision they can get behind.
Take ATP for example… I could simply say that “We help startups hire amazing sales talent and here’s the proof that we can do it.” That works and it’s probably good enough for a lot of people.
But imagine you heard it like this instead: “Your business is only as good as the people you hire and your sales are only as strong as the abilities of your salespeople. But mishires are expensive, all too common, and destructive for everyone involved. That’s why we do the heavy lifting for you — to take the guesswork out of hiring the salespeople who will help you grow.”
Much more specific and compelling, right?
That’s because the second version incorporates a deeper purpose (several actually): the importance of hiring the right people for your business, the dangers of getting it wrong, and how we’ve made it our mission to make sure you navigate those waters with ease… so you can get back to executing on YOUR vision, not worrying about finding someone to help you do it.
But does this actually translate into real tangible business results?
Absolutely. Take a fellow recruiting firm owner and friend of mine for instance. He decided to make big changes in his business and pivot into a new concentration, but was really struggling to make the transition.
We talked a lot about his “why” and the second he figured it out, it changed everything. He was suddenly engaging with the right customers, involved in meaningful searches, and his business became more than just a search for a commission check to his clients.
Having a “why” is the secret to building all-star teams.
“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”
– Simon Sinek
I really can’t say it better than Simon Sinek did above. Belief is a powerful ally when it comes to building a team of people who are going to help your business grow. And in fact, it’s probably the most underrated quality you can look for in someone you hire.
Where most hiring managers will look at things like skills and qualifications alone (both important), they pale in comparison to the importance that an aligned “why” has. People who believe in your “why” will find a way to make it happen and they’ll often go to great lengths to do so too (including learning new skills if they have to).
But you can’t teach that. Which is why it’s important to make sure you only hire those that believe what you believe right from the start.
How do you do that? Clearly articulate your “why” to the talent pool!
Take it from me… all-stars want to believe in what they are doing and what they are trying to achieve. And when you have a purpose that they can align with, it makes you 10x more attractive to them.
The sales team at Inspire is a great example. They’re doing some amazing stuff with smart renewable energy that’s powered by a common vision of changing the way the world uses power. And since they hired a team that believes in that vision to the core too, their business has 3x’d.
I hope you can see this isn’t just touchy feely mumbo jumbo. Being able to clearly define and align your business around a compelling answer to the question “why?” improves nearly every aspect of it. It’s something of critical importance in today’s day and age!
I’ve talked about ATP’s “why” above, but I want to hear from you. What’s your personal “why”? What’s your business’s “why”? What results have you seen from having one both on a personal and business level? Leave a comment below!