August 25, 2015
Why do you do what you do?

By Jacki Hart CLP
Prosperity Partners program manager

“When we are surrounded by people who believe what we believe,
something remarkable emerges.” Simon Sinek

In every workplace there are people who every day are really, really enthused about being a part of the team. There are also usually a few who are lukewarm. They can be really engaged in some activities and tasks, and indifferent with others. And, there’s the some who are there to collect a pay cheque from just another job.
The first group really has unwavering trust in their employer on many levels. The other two groups have varying degrees of trust, and very little loyalty.

A lot of what determines the level of engagement each person brings to work has as much to do with how much they get why the business was founded, as it does with what and how they will do their work or the proficiency in the skill they possess.
The same is true for the patrons of a business. Both groups will trust a company on many levels when they believe in what the company believes. The catch is that it’s a lot harder than you may think to consistently communicate the why.

I’ve recently read Start with Why and attended a couple of lectures by author Simon Sinek. I highly recommend reading this book. You may also simply Google ‘Simon Sinek,’ and listen to a few of his TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) Talks videos. His concept of the golden circle is worthy of your time.
It has certainly re-connected me with why I started my business 22 years ago. It reminds me that the farther I move from the day-to-day part of the business, the less likely new staff and customers are going to really understand the why of Water’s Edge. And it’s those founding why principles that have made it wildly successful, and has set us apart in every way from the competition.
My staff refers to it as threads in Jacki’s head: The invisible, intangible core that when understood, effortlessly connects the dots between every decision and moving part in my business.

I’ve always resisted the marketing temptation for racing my competitors to the bottom of the barrel on price. I smiled somewhat benignly whenever a prospective customer chose a lower priced competitor. I know why my clients are loyal. And, I know a wrong-fit client when I see one. My confidence in my steadfast belief about the business culture that I’ve created grows every time an old client returns after having a few years experience with a lower-priced service provider.
It also happens when a new client expresses that others are cheaper, and they just can’t put their finger on why they’ve decided to come with us. They get that it’s as much what you can’t see. Perhaps it’s intuitive in
nature and is as clear as what you can see that forms the trusting bond of the loyalty.

My newest challenge for 2013 is to reconnect the threads in my head (stuff I just know about on the why we do what we do and how we do it) with the people who are now in the front lines of my service business. I’m tasking myself with articulating those things that I rarely say to my staff about guide thinking and acting successfully in my company. And I plan to continue holding that thinking (our why) in the forefront of their minds, before they dive into how they are going to do what they do.

How about you and your business? Is this winter going to be the time for you to look back and clarify your original why for this career path and business? Is it time to determine where your focus lies on what you do, how you do it, or why you do it?

The Prosperity Partners road map helps you to examine who you and your business are, how you do what you do, and what resources you’re working with to do what you do. Baked invisibly in between who and how falls Sinek’s beautifully articulated concept in Start with Why. What’s really happening when the owner of a business changes his or her marketing message, or doesn’t clearly communicate the why?
Is the staff losing sight of why and focusing only on what they do and how they do it? Without understanding why the company is different, it reduces the business to competing as a commodity on price, features, speed, convenience, etc. Why is the business in business? And why is each person there every day?
If the answers are based on “we produce a commodity” thinking, then price will rule all decisions, and typically beat profit margins into the ground (or into the red). And, along with it go sustainability, engagement, trust and creativity.

I’m excited to have read Start with Why — it speaks so wonderfully to the Prosperity Partners concept of understanding who your business is, why it exists and encourages improvement in managing its changing
challenges in an orderly, responsive way. By following the Prosperity Partners roadmap, you first articulate your own why, and determine where you first need to improve to make the rest all fall into place within the culture and resources of your business.

Join us this winter to start, or re-start your Journey to Prosperity. Get clear on why you are doing what you do. Reconnect with your passion and raison d’etre.
Jacki Hart may be contacted at