Leadership Development

The 3 Levels of Organization

The what and how of an organization are very important. However, the why at the core of your actions and is the most critical and the most overlooked.

Hey Leaders!

If I asked you what you do as a team member or family member, you could probably answer that without thinking. If I asked you how you do it, you might put a little more thought into it but you'd be able to explain that easily too. However, if I asked you why do those things or why you do them that way, then I would venture to guess that you'd have to think for a while or maybe get back with me with your answer.


photo courtesy of Uwe Hermann via Flickr photo courtesy of Uwe Hermann via Flickr


While "what" and "how" are very important, the "why" at the core of your actions or organization is the most critical and sadly the most overlooked. It's truly the engine room of us as humans. These principles are best illustrated by New York Times Bestseller, Simon Sinek, in his book Start With Why (he will be speaking at the upcoming leadership conference Leadercast. See The Resources section below for more info). The most simple way to view this is in something Sinek calls the "Golden Circle."

So, let's take get some clarity on what each of these key terms mean:

Every organization on the planet
knows WHAT they do. These are
products they sell or the services
they offer.

Some organizations
know HOW they do it. These
are the things that make
them special or set them
apart from their competition.

Very few organizations know WHY
they do what they do. WHY is not
about making money. That’s a result. It’s a purpose, cause or belief. It’s the very reason your organization exists.

We have to start in the middle of the circle and work our way out. Only when we have all three synchronized will we see the incredibly successful results we want, and others will be far more likely to buy in to what we're doing or selling.

For example, in my profession of trucking insurance, I can tell a prospect that I am selling them better coverage (the what) through the use of unique insurance programs (the how) and they may think it sounds ok. However, if I tell them that I want to sell them better coverage (the what) through the use of unique insurance programs (the how) so that more of their drivers will get home safely to their families (the why), then I think we can all see that I'll probably be more likely to make the sale. All because I based my what and how on a great why.

I'll finish with this, my first exposure to this way of thinking was at the Unleash! Conference last fall hosted by NewSpring Church. The Pastor of Family Ministries and speaker for the youth ministry, Brad Cooper, was talking about their student ministry model and how we can take what we're learning and apply it when we got home. However, he started with this statement and it stuck with me and it comes to mind whenever I see someone else's success that I would love to replicate in my own life at work or home.

Want what I want, don't do what I do. Pastor Brad Cooper

So, my question to you is this; what is YOUR why?

Lead Your Home! Lead Your Work! Lead Your Life!


Book: Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action by Simon Sinek

PowerPoint: Golden Circle PowerPoint that more fully explains the concepts mentioned

Podcast: The EntreLeadership Podcast (Interview with Simon Sinek was on Aug 17, 2011)

Website: Leadercast.com

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