Start with Why

In his book START WITH WHY, Simon Sinek makes the case that “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”. He explains that any organization can share what it does; some can explain how they do it (and why they are better than the rest); but very few can clearly articulate why. Why does the organization exist? Why does it do the things it does? Sinek’s primary contention: Those organizations that understand their why (first and foremost) inspire those around them and develop loyal “followers,” that is, people who believe what the organization believes.

Of course, after reading the book, and the associated success stories Sinek describes, it is natural to ask “Do we at Whitlock know our why”? I am happy to say that we do. Our “Why” was formally established in 2005 and has remained consistent since then. In one sentence: To deliver value to others so they will, in turn, be valued! That’s it. We all carry laminated cards that remind us of this. Our methods, processes, and offerings are all branded “ValueFirst.” Earl Nightingale famously posited in 1956, “We become what we think about,” and valuing others, and enhancing their value to their peers/their organization is what we are always thinking about. It is the why we do what we do.

Our why applies especially well to some of the IT teams with whom we work. IT is often underappreciated (and therefore maybe undervalued). We work hard to remedy this when we see it.

What we do is help customers get measurable return from their investment in software technology. How we do it is via our ValueFirst System. Why we do it is … well you know that now. So we compete against ourselves to get better and better at delivering our why. We look for customers who believe what we believe. And as Sinek suggests, we always start with why. So far, so good.

What is your why?

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