Main Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team
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A very nice book I must say.
09 March 2020 (07:54)
[image: ] FACILITATOR SECTION You read in chapter 4 that there were two main tasks for the facilitator: to prepare for a Tribe Why Discovery and then to lead the workshop. We walked through the preparatory steps in chapter 4. Now we’ll talk about everything you need to do in order to guide your group through the session. If you’re new to this experience, we recommend that you closely adhere to the guide. The less you have to worry about the process itself, the more you can put into listening, questioning, analyzing and engaging. If, on the other hand, you are a practiced facilitator, you will likely put your own twist on these instructions and come up with some ideas of your own to make your group’s discovery even more successful. The Why Discovery workshop has three main actions: Set the context Run the Why Discovery Process Draft a Why Statement Now we’ll explain these steps in detail and suggest an approximate time frame for each. [image: ] SET THE CONTEXT [image: ] RUN THE WHY DISCOVERY PROCESS [image: ] DRAFT A WHY STATEMENT [image: ] Set the Context ( [image: ] 45–60 MINUTES) A great way to begin a Tribe Why Discovery is to bring in a senior leader, someone who is respected within the company or group and is already 100 percent on board with the concept of WHY, to explain the reason the session is happening and discuss its significance. That person can also acknowledge how much time the participants are investing in the process. When we know our sacrifice or allocation of time is appreciated, we give it more willingly. The idea is to reassure participants that they have permission to focus fully on the session. This may seem like an obvious point, but individuals often hold back when they feel they should be doing some other work that is “more important” to the company. We want participants to know that this is important work and ; they have permission to fully participate. Having an enthusiastic senior leader introduce the session will also serve to “let you in” as the facilitator. This is especially important if your relationship with the company or group is new. By opening up the session and giving you the floor, the senior leader effectively announces that the company trusts you to guide the group through the Why Discovery process and asks the participants to give you their undivided attention and cooperation. After you have been introduced and the floor is yours, we recommend you begin by sharing a short WHY story. Sharing a personal WHY experience can go a long way toward forging a bond with your audience. If you’re struggling to find a story you’re comfortable sharing, you can use one of the stories we tell in this book (such as Steve, the “man of steel” in the introduction or La Marzocco in chapter 4) or any story you find appealing from Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why. (His descriptions of Apple [Inc.] and Southwest Airlines as companies with powerful WHYs are very clear and compelling.) Whatever story you choose to tell, it should illuminate what’s possible when a group of people are united in service to a higher purpose. It should also illustrate how a common WHY can inspire loyalty in a tribe. The story will function both as a real-life link to the reason for the session—to find the organization’s WHY—and as evidence of the reward to be won by those who stay present and engage in the process. By this point, you will have spoken for about ten minutes, depending on the length of your opening story. That’s plenty for now. It’s time to give the group the opportunity to talk. Invite everyone to pair up with the person beside them (if you have an uneven number, there can also be trios) and come up with a response to this prompt: If you think back to the time when you joined the organization, what inspired you most? What inspires you to keep coming back? FACILITATOR TIP Participants often sit next to people they already know and are comfortable with. It is valuable to mix up the room to have people engage in conversation with someone they don’t know as well. Give the pairs four to six minutes to share their thoughts with each other. Tell them at the get-go that each person in the pair gets two to three minutes of speaking time. To ensure that all voices are heard during this time, gently remind the group, when the time is halfway up, that the idea is for both partners to share. This simple exercise generates good conversation, which is just what you want. The primary purpose is for everyone to participate actively, rather than sit back and watch the workshop happen around them. And because telling stories often prompts emotional responses, this exercise is also a perfect opportunity to prepare the group for what will follow. While there’s no need to have everyone present their story to the full group, you might invite one or two people to share the inspiring story that their partner told them. Although the participants probably won’t realize it yet, these stories are likely connected to the organization’s underlying WHY. Now that the group is engaged, it’s time to lay the foundations for the rest of the session by explaining the crucial concept of the Golden Circle. [image: ] We introduced the Golden Circle in chapter 1. If, as facilitator, you have only read the Tribe Why Discovery chapters, you may find it helpful to read chapter 1 now. Once you’re ready to communicate the Golden Circle to your group, an easy way to begin is to show them Simon’s TED talk video (http://bit.ly/GoldenCircleTalk). Alternatively, you can review the concept with them yourself—free slides and notes are available at http://bit.ly/FYWresources. Your aim is to make sure everyone understands these Golden Circle fundamentals: WHATs are products, services and job functions we perform. HOWs are values, guiding principles and actions that make us stand out. The WHY defines what the organization stands for—it is the collective purpose, cause or belief. It’s human nature to go from what’s easiest to understand to what’s hardest to understand. In terms of the Golden Circle, most of us think, act and communicate from the outside in (WHAT–HOW–WHY). Those with the capacity to inspire do it differently. They think, act and communicate from the inside out (WHY–HOW–WHAT). The WHAT corresponds to the neo-cortex, the “newest” part of our brain, which is responsible for rational, analytical thought and language. The WHY corresponds to the limbic brain, which is responsible for our feelings, such as trust and loyalty. This part of the brain drives all human behavior and decision making but has no capacity for language. This is how we are hardwired; it’s biology, not psychology. People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. When a company has a strong WHY, it inspires trust and loyalty in its customers, clients, employees and supporters, all of whom will cheer you on in your cause. At some point early in the workshop—before, during or after you introduce the Golden Circle and the concept of WHY—it’s entirely possible that you will be challenged by one or more members of the group. We certainly have been. People may say, “This all sounds a little bit fluffy,” or “This is not the reality of business.” Remember, you are trying to get people to think in a new way, so meet them where they are. Respond as best you can—we’ve offered some guidance on how we answer common questions in the “Frequently Asked Questions” appendix at the end of this book (here). The most important thing is to ask these members of the group to trust the process and keep an open mind. Again, the idea is not to convince someone of the value or validity of having a WHY; the idea is to create an environment in which they may come to those conclusions themselves and can contribute to finding their group’s WHY. Next, offer participants a broad overview of what they should expect from the rest of the day, starting with a general time frame, including breaks. Explain that the remainder of the session will have two main parts, each with its own goal: Story Sharing: The goal is to collect specific stories that reveal both the contribution the organization makes to the lives of others and the impact of that contribution over time. Limbic brain: See chapter 4 in Start with Why for more on this topic. [image: ] Drafting the Why Statement: The goal is to take the themes that emerge from the participants’ stories and use them to write the first draft of the tribe’s Why Statement: its purpose, cause or belief. Emphasize the word “draft” in the final goal. Let the group know that the aim is to write a Why Statement that is 75–80 percent complete. This is due to the WHY coming from our limbic brain. Explain that they don’t need it to be perfect; they need it to be actionable. You’ll come back to the reason for this later. [image: ] Run the Why Discovery Process ( [image: ] 2–2.5 HOURS) Sharing personal stories and identifying their themes are critical pieces of the Why Discovery process for individuals and groups alike. In the Tribe Approach, we achieve this through what we call the Three Conversations. The Three Conversations An early Apple slogan once proclaimed, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” These conversations are simple, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy. The tough part is that participants are forced to find language to express how they feel. For a few people, this will be easy enough, but most participants find that having these conversations takes considerable energy. There will likely be times during this process when everything seems messy, when you don’t seem to be getting the responses you need or to be moving closer to WHY. Trust the process. Remember, this exercise is more about the feeling that is generated in the room than the exact words that come out of the conversation. [image: ] The first step in the exercise is to divide the group into three teams of roughly the same size. The easiest way to do this is to split the room between left, right and rear (see diagram above). Ideally each team will be composed of individuals of varying roles, positions, genders and length of time at the organization. If you don’t think the left–right–rear approach will yield enough diversity within teams, you can be more intentional in your assignments. This is not the NFL draft. We’re not suggesting you line everyone up and study their CVs before you assign them to a team. Just use your basic awareness of the demographics in the room and you’ll do fine. The more diverse the experiences represented on each team, the more dynamic and engaged the conversations. And, as discussed earlier, we want people to think differently in this group than they usually do—working with new and unfamiliar people tends to make that happen. Once the teams are established, each group should gather around a flip chart and easel. Encourage teams to get up and stand around their respective flip charts, rather than move their chairs closer. Standing releases energy and makes the process more interactive. You will now present the teams with a starting point for each of the three conversations. We recommend that you project each prompt onto a screen as you introduce it; that way you can be sure that everyone in the room can easily see it and refer back to it as necessary. For each prompt, you will give some direction on how to engage in the conversation and then allow time for team members to discuss among themselves. FACILITATOR TIP It’s best if you don’t share any of the prompts with the group in advance. You want participants to share the first thoughts that come to mind. If you give them the prompts beforehand, they’ll probably overthink things, which could negatively impact the process. CONVERSATION 1: THE HUMAN DIFFERENCE ( [image: ] 20 MINUTES) Tell specific stories of when you have felt most proud to work for this organization. (This isn’t about money or other metrics; it’s about what you have given, not what you’ve received. Tell stories that capture what this organization stands for at its best.) If a movement is to have an impact it must belong to those who join it not just those who lead it. FACILITATOR TIP You can choose to replace the word “organization” with “team,” “group,” “division” or whatever noun is appropriate. But the phrasing should not be otherwise modified. We’ve written it this way for good reason. We’re not looking for the organization’s financial accomplishments here. We’re looking for something more human, something more meaningful that elicits an emotion. Before the teams start to discuss their responses to conversation 1, provide the following guidelines: Each team’s task is to write down, on its flip chart, a sentence or phrase that will help team members recall their stories later. Generalizations are no good. You want stories about specific people and specific moments. The more specific, the better. “I’m proud of the quality of the work we do” is too general. “I was so proud the night I met a woman at a holiday party and she told me that her child’s life had been saved by a cancer drug we developed. I don’t even work in that division, but it reminded me of the importance of our work” is better because it’s more specific and emotional. The outcome described in the stories can be big or small, affecting thousands of people or just one person. The important thing is for the story to cause a visceral, emotional response in the person telling it. Teams should come up with as many quality stories as they can (at least three) within the allotted time. FACILITATOR TIP In some groups, senior people dominate a discussion to the extent that equally valid ideas from others don’t get heard. If you feel this is beginning to happen, step in and encourage those who haven’t spoken yet to contribute their stories. Conversation 1 is not the sort of thing people are used to hearing. So you’ll probably see some puzzled faces. That’s okay. Let the group sit with the prompt for a bit. But once teams start to talk, be prepared to help them stay on track. To give an idea of the sort of output you are looking for, here are some stories the La Marzocco team shared when Peter did this exercise with them and an example of how the team might take notes on their flip chart. “In 2009, we held our first Out of the Box event. This is where we brought together our partners from around the world—suppliers, roasters, baristas and other lovers of coffee. Over two extraordinary days, we shared thoughts and ideas and really just celebrated life. It was meant to be a one-off, but the feedback we received was so wonderful it’s now a biennial event.” (On the flip chart: Out of Box Event—celebrated life.) “We love bringing people together. Recently, we sponsored an exhibition showing photographs of people who work on a coffee farm in Tanzania. The photos are immensely evocative and really help us feel connected to the origin of the beans and those who produce them. While the theme is coffee, it goes deeper than that; it’s about relationship. Some of the proceeds from the exhibition are being used to support the coffee-farm community.” (On the flip chart: Tanzania Photo Exhibition—supporting the farm community and building relationships.) “We work with a coffee roaster in Mexico, in a region where not many people have access to formal higher education. Our company has a policy of hiring people based on who they are and the passion they have—not on the certificates they hold. This has been a huge success, with many of those hired rising to senior positions.” (On the flip chart: Our Hiring Policy—passion versus certificates.) “In an airport, I met someone who has owned the same La Marzocco machine for twenty years, and it still works perfectly. I felt so proud that in a disposable world my company stands for excellence, tradition and value.” (On the flip chart: Loyal Customer—excellence, tradition and value.) [image: ] Reporting Out: Sharing the Stories ([image: ] 25–35 minutes) When time is up, each team will report to the rest of the room, sharing its top two or three stories. By “top” we mean those that resonated most with the team members—the stories that caused the greatest visceral response. People will express how they feel in different ways; they’ll get goose bumps, animated, excited or even choked up. Emotional reactions are cues for you, as the facilitator, to dig deeper. Ask the storyteller to say more about their feelings or what it was about that particular story that evoked such an intense reaction. Returning to the examples from La Marzocco, here are a couple of probing questions Peter could have asked to heighten the storyteller’s emotional connection to the organization’s contribution: “Say more about the feedback from the first Out of the Box event. What did people enjoy so much? What were some of their comments?” “Tell us about the photographs in the exhibition. Did any in particular stand out for you? What was it about those particular photos? What has changed in the lives of those coffee workers? Can you give us a specific example?” FACILITATOR TIP The route to WHY is through WHAT. Instead of asking questions that start with “why”—for example, “Why did you like those particular photos?”—ask “What was it about those particular photos?” People find it easier to answer questions starting with “what” or “how” rather than “why.” We usually allow twenty minutes for sharing stories, but be prepared to let the conversation go longer. This is an immensely valuable part of the process because it’s rare that they get together in a group to think beyond the numbers and reflect on what their organization contributes to others. This is the reason you should allow four to five hours for a Tribe Why Discovery—you want to have the flexibility to let the conversation flow. Once all teams have shared their stories, they’ll be ready to tackle the second conversation. CONVERSATION 2: WHAT’S YOUR CONTRIBUTION? ( [image: ] 10 MINUTES) In each of your stories, what was the specific contribution your organization made to the lives of others? Express it in the form of a basic verb/action phrase: “to (verb).” Working in the same three teams, participants should start a fresh flip-chart page and write down the verbs or action phrases that capture the essence of the contributions implied or expressed in the stories about what made them proud. Before the teams begin, clarify the goals of this particular exercise by explaining that: Verbs are important because our ultimate aim is to discover a WHY that is actionable, not merely descriptive. The verbs/action phrases should not be aspirational. This is about what people in the company have done, not what they hope to do or be. The verbs/action phrases must be directly linked to one or more of the stories the team identified earlier. This link is vital. If it is missing, there is the risk that the task will turn into the type of branding or marketing exercise in which words are chosen because they “sound good.” Tell the group they must support their action phrase with a story that clearly demonstrates the connection. FACILITATOR TIP A good way to keep people on the right track is to have them try to complete the phrase “In this story we showed up and we ed.” Tell them the blank must be filled by a verb. (For example, see here—“More Tribe Examples.”) Since the teams will consider stories that occurred in the past, the action phrases will likely be in the past tense. However, we want to use the infinitive form of the verb—“to ”—since that will help us later in the process. Each team should come up with at least ten verbs/action phrases and no more than will fill a single flip-chart sheet. You will generally find that people are able to engage in and complete this conversation quite quickly. Ten minutes is usually ample time. Here are some of the verbs and action phrases that appeared on La Marzocco’s list when Peter did the company’s Why Discovery: to engage to enrich to build to connect to bring together to inspire to trust to enjoy life to love [image: ] Reporting Out: Gathering the Themes ([image: ] 10–15 MINUTES) Once each team has completed its list of verbs and action phrases, it’s time for them to share with the larger group. Ask a member from each team to call out their words. Now it’s time to use your flip chart. Write each verb or phrase on one of the flip charts at the front of the room. Even better, have a volunteer do the writing so you can concentrate on regulating the pace at which words are called out. When you move on to the next team, do not start another flip-chart page. Capture all the verbs and action phrases offered up by the various teams on a single page. That page will be very important later on. Make sure teams call out all their verbs or action phrases, even if some are the same as or similar to what another team has already said. If a team does supply a verb or phrase that has already been written on the flip chart, don’t write it down a second time. Instead, add an asterisk to the verb or phrase every time it is repeated. Sometimes two teams will come up with phrases that are similar but not identical. For example, one might say, “To foster creativity,” and another might say, “To promote freedom of thought.” The fact that they are thinking along the same lines is a good thing. It means that their stories illustrate a consistent theme within the organization. If you can, have the two teams agree on a consolidated version as you go along. Record that version on the flip chart and mark it with an asterisk. In all, this reporting process usually takes ten minutes. You should now have a single flip-chart page at the front of the room showing all the verbs and action phrases that have been called out, with asterisks marking how often a specific idea has been repeated. If you stand back and look at the list, you should begin to see a number of themes. On La Marzocco’s flip chart, for example, a theme emerged around “to engage,” “to connect” and “to bring together.” There’s perhaps another theme captured by “to enrich” and “to enjoy life.” The exact nature of these themes will be brought home by the stories that are behind them. Break ( [image: ] 15 MINUTES) Managing the energy in the room by scheduling breaks is important. Equally, we want to avoid having breaks that last too long, because this can cause the group to lose momentum. Every group and session will be different and your job as facilitator is to recognize the appropriate times to call a break. We generally have one break after conversation 2. It’s up to you as the facilitator to decide what’s best. Setting up the room properly and having refreshments and amenities on hand will help breaks run on time. CONVERSATION 3: WHAT’S YOUR IMPACT? ( [image: ] 15 MINUTES) After the break, have everyone return to their small teams to work on conversation 3. There’s usually quite a buzz in the room by this point. People will have started to connect to the work they do in a different, more meaningful way. This third conversation is designed to deepen that connection. What did the contributions of your organization allow others to go on to do or be? (Think about how people’s lives were different after they interacted with your organization when at your best.) As people consider their responses, instruct them to refer back to their stories from conversation 1. Again, the goal here is for each team to build on its earlier stories by focusing on the impact of the contributions they described. Urge them to think about the specific people in their stories. What were those individuals able to do or become as a result of the organization’s actions? Remind the group that this is not about numbers or other metrics. What you are looking for is the larger impact, the real human impact. You’ll know that they have begun to hit on this when their responses become visceral and emotional. Using a blank flip-chart page, they should record a sentence or phrase that captures the impact of those contributions. FACILITATOR TIP Sometimes when people get into this conversation they tend to diminish the impact they and their organization have had on the lives of others. They may even talk about their competition and how those companies do the same thing. If this happens, bring them back to their stories. The competition may have a similar WHAT, but it doesn’t have the same WHY stories. The Tribe Approach is not about the competition. It’s about determining what this organization believes in and WHY it exists. Before we can stand out, we must first get clear on what we stand for. To get an idea of what this looks like in practice, check out some of the things the La Marzocco group said about its organization’s impact. We’ve reprinted their stories from conversation 1 (in italics) along with their answers to conversation 3 so you can clearly see the connections between the two. (These written answers are more detailed than what we’d expect to see on teams’ flip charts. We’ve expanded the group’s answers a bit to help them make more sense as you read them now, out of their original context): “In 2009, we held our first Out of the Box event. This is where we brought together our partners from around the world—suppliers, roasters, baristas and other lovers of coffee. Over two extraordinary days, we shared thoughts and ideas and really just celebrated life. It was meant to be a one-off, but the feedback we received was so wonderful it’s now a biennial event. One of the relationships that grew from this event was between Andrija, a barista based in Serbia, and Catalina, a coffee shop owner in Barcelona. Her coffee shop had become a meeting place for entrepreneurs to develop new ideas and businesses. This inspired Andrija to create a similar shop in Serbia, and it subsequently became the catalyst for several new businesses, making a significant difference to the local community. Without the Out of the Box event, it’s likely that none of this would have happened.” “We love bringing people together. Recently, we sponsored an exhibition showing photographs of people who work on a coffee farm in Tanzania. The photos are immensely evocative and really help us feel connected to the origin of the beans and those who produce them. While the theme is coffee, it goes deeper than that; it’s about relationship. Some of the proceeds from the exhibition are being used to support the coffee-farm community. The money raised makes a real difference to the quality of life of Elisabeth, one of the women in the photographs, and her fellow coffee pickers. But the exhibition’s effect goes beyond that: It has also helped raise awareness of and appreciation for the work the pickers do. As a result, they feel considerably more valued and fulfilled.” “We work with a coffee roaster in Mexico, in a region where not many people have access to formal higher education. Our company has a policy of hiring people based on who they are and the passion they have—not on the certificates they hold. This has been a huge success with many of those hired rising to senior positions. Emilio, for instance, has become head roaster, a position that has allowed him to pull his family out of poverty. The initial opportunity transformed Emilio’s life and has also inspired those around him, so they now see possibility where before they did not.” Give the teams a total of fifteen to twenty minutes to discuss conversation 3. At this point, your role as facilitator is to stand back; you should intervene only when a team needs help to stay on track. You may notice that this conversation, in particular, elicits intensely emotional responses from participants. We’ve seen some of the toughest businessmen become teary-eyed when given the chance to pause and think about the difference they’ve made, through their work, at a fundamentally human level. Even people who seem cool and unemotional during the workshop may approach you afterward to confess privately how moved they were. When people experience these kinds of feelings, whether they realize it or not, their connection to the organization’s WHY is being reinforced. [image: ] Reporting Out: Capturing the Impact ([image: ] 20–30 MINUTES) As with the other conversations, after the discussion wraps, teams will share their responses to conversation 3 with the larger group. Now it is time for you to take a more active role. You will need to be fully engaged, listening and summarizing. Allow twenty to thirty minutes for the remainder of the exercise. To begin, have two fresh flip charts at the front of the room—you’re going to need the space. Invite each team to share their output from conversation 3. Your job is to listen for the single line in each response that encapsulates the impact of the action, the difference it made in the lives of others. Make note of these on your two flip charts so everyone can see them. Just as with conversation 2, if teams come up with similar impact statements, group those phrases together or mark them with an asterisk. Your task is to summarize in a phrase that reminds everyone of the impact and the underlying story. So for the La Marzocco examples, we might have written down: Building the community. (Andrija’s coffee shop inspiring new businesses.) People feeling more valued and fulfilled in life. (Elisabeth and the coffee farm.) People seeing possibility where before they did not. (Emilio becoming head roaster.) After every team has had the chance to share, bring together all the output you have gathered during the session. That includes the one flip-chart page containing all the verbs/action phrases generated from conversation 2 and the two flip-chart pages with impact statements generated from conversation 3. Position those flip charts at the front of the room so all can see them. You now have everything you need for what comes next: drafting the Why Statement. [image: ] Draft a Why Statement ( [image: ] 35–40 MINUTES) The next step in the process is for the group to turn the verbs/action phrases and impact statements elicited from the three conversations into a couple of possible versions of a Why Statement. We call these “Candidate Why Statements” because they will later evolve into a single draft statement that the group will carry forward and refine further. The ability of a group of people to do remarkable things hinges on how well those people can pull together as a team. How to Write a Why Statement ( [image: ] 5 MINUTES) Of course, the group members can’t create a Why Statement if they don’t know what one looks like. So your first point of order, as the facilitator, is to show them. Using a flip chart, or a slide, show the group the basic structure of a Why Statement: TO SO THAT . Explain that although this is not the only way to express a WHY, it is the one Simon and the Start With Why team recommend you start with. This is because the blanks capture the two main components of an actionable WHY and the format focuses everyone on what’s most important. Break down the statement into its two main elements. The first element, “To ,” is the contribution the organization or group makes. The second element, “so that ,” is the impact or effect that contribution has on others. [image: ] Many people will immediately recognize the relationship between the output of the three conversations and the anatomy of the Why Statement. But just to be sure you’re all on the same page, spell out the relationship for everyone. Here’s what you can tell them: conversation 1 and conversation 2 correspond to the contribution element of the statement; conversation 3 corresponds to the impact element. The words and phrases on the flip charts at the front of the room are the inputs that will fill in the blanks. In this concise Why Statement format, we are describing the world we would like to live in (the impact element) and articulating the action we need to take on Monday morning to bring it to life (the contribution element). Candidate Why Statement Exercise ( [image: ] 25 MINUTES) Split the group into two teams of about the same size. Working independently, each team will write one Candidate Why Statement on a fresh flip-chart page and then present it to the rest of the room. Use the instructions below to give them context before they get started. First, to write the “contribution” element of the Why Statement each team needs to look at the flip chart in the front of the room that lists all of the verbs and action phrases they came up with earlier. The team members need to decide, together, which verb or action phrase seems to best capture the contribution they make as an organization. This becomes the contribution part of their Candidate Why Statement. It’s important for them not to get hung up on the dictionary definition of these verbs and action phrases. It’s the feeling the words evoke that’s important. As they work on this, tell them not to worry about passing over the other themes on the flip chart, some of which they may feel also represent who they are, yet aren’t the clear winner. They will come back into play later on when we look at HOWs. For now, each team needs to focus on choosing the verb or action phrase that is first among equals—the one that deeply resonates on a visceral level. Next, they need to review the impact statements on the other flip charts at the front of the room. From that list they must draw the “impact” part of their Candidate Why Statement. The goal for each group is to write a Candidate Why Statement that is so inspiring that the other team will say, “Let’s go with yours!” Give the teams twenty-five minutes to write one Candidate Why Statement each, reminding them again that they must draw on the words and phrases displayed on the flip charts at the front of the room. It is vital that the statements come from this material. Otherwise, people may fall back on general aspirational language or a branding or marketing position. FACILITATOR TIP As the teams start work on this exercise, they may get into a semantic debate about the meaning of certain words. If that happens, refer them back to the stories behind the words and the underlying feeling. It is not so much the dictionary definition of the words that matters. What’s more important is the deeper meaning these words have for the team. To help the teams stay on target, tell them that they will each be asked to bring their Candidate Why Statement to life by linking it to two stories represented on the flip charts. Twenty-five minutes is not a long time for this exercise, but it is enough. We keep it short because we want people to go with their gut (a.k.a. their limbic brain) and not overthink it. After all, the goal at this moment is not to get all the way to a final Why Statement, but to take the first step toward it. We also like to create a little time pressure because it tends to lead people to rely on their emotions. Fear of running out of time encourages them to say, “Oh, what the heck,” and just go with what feels right. [image: ] Reporting Out: Presenting the Candidate Why Statements ([image: ] 5–10 MINUTES) The team presentations should be short—two minutes maximum per team. Each team should cover the two bullet points below and say no more than that: State the WHY (with no explanation or detail) Link to two of the stories shared earlier in the workshop that best exemplify the WHY being lived. Doing so ensures the WHY is based on who you actually are and demonstrates that communicating your stories is a great way to share the WHY. FACILITATOR TIP As each team presents, ask someone from the other team to film them. Nothing fancy required—a phone or tablet camera will serve just fine. Recording the presentations puts the teams a little more on their game; it also preserves a piece of the Why Discovery experience for future reference. Once the two teams have presented their Candidate Why Statements, the group may overwhelmingly agree that one statement captures the WHY better than the other. This was very much the case with La Marzocco. In the event of consensus around one Candidate, that statement becomes the Draft Why Statement that the group will carry forward. Sometimes, the majority will feel that the WHY can be best expressed by combining the two Candidate Why Statements. Work with them to come to an agreement on a single Draft Why Statement. Remember, no one expects this version to be perfect. As we mentioned earlier, the aim of this workshop is to produce a Why Statement that’s 75–80 percent done. That’s the reason we call it a draft—we want to keep the conversation going beyond the end of the discovery session. Once you have arrived at the Draft Why Statement, the teams will probably feel that there’s more work to be done. If so, ask for volunteers (we’d suggest a maximum of six) who would like to continue working on the statement. These “Why Champions” should come together over the following couple of weeks to try to refine the words of the Why Statement. It may take time to find the words that feel right. That’s normal. The most important thing is for the Draft Why Statement to be actionable. Here are some examples of Why Statements at different levels of development. The first two are in the correct form: simple and clear, actionable and free of WHATs, focused on service to others and written in affirmative language that resonates with the group: To believe in people so that they can, in turn, believe in themselves. To provoke people to think differently so that they can be awakened to new possibilities. Next, here are a couple that are almost there: To constantly improve ourselves so that we may be well equipped to overcome the challenges we face. To do good in the world, to help people build skills and to learn constantly and have a clear sense of direction/vision, so that they can accomplish much for themselves, their family and their community, effectively and successfully. Do you see how those two can be improved? The first is about “ourselves” and not about others. The second is about others, but it’s way too complex to be remembered, let alone acted upon. And finally, two more that need quite a bit of work: To support our dealers so that they can have sustainable businesses and realize higher profits. To help clients manage every aspect of their wealth so that they can rest assured that no stone is unturned in their wealth management. These statements are both very firmly focused on WHATs rather than WHYs. Discovering a WHY is as much about the journey as it is about the destination. The process allows us to build the kind of emotional connections to the WHY that will make it genuine, true and long-lasting. Over the months and years that follow your discovery session, it is possible that the words of the organization’s Why Statement will change slightly. What should not change is the feeling behind the words. * * * Wrapping Up the Session ( [image: ] 10–15 MINUTES) The Why Discovery process generates a lot of energy. By the end of a session, many people are fired up and motivated to carry the WHY forward. Help them use that momentum. Even if a “final” Draft Why Statement has not yet been agreed upon, dedicate the end of the Why Discovery session to discussing ways participants can put their WHY into practice. Here are some ideas for how to bring the WHY to life in day-to-day business: Reward the behavior you want to see. When you see people acting in ways that align with the WHY, acknowledge it and praise them. When you make decisions, run your thoughts through a simple filter. Ask, “Does this choice help us move closer to living in alignment to our WHY or not?” Act accordingly. Reframe HOWs and WHATs in the context of the WHY. When assigning new tasks or implementing new strategies, make sure people can see how those things are expressions of the WHY. Be conscious of your leadership. Make it a habit to ask yourself, “What did I do as a leader today that was a tangible manifestation of our WHY?” Provide an opportunity for everyone in the organization to discover their own WHY and to learn how it fits within the organization’s WHY. We’ve shared all the steps we use for conducting a Tribe Why Discovery. As you well know, facilitating is much more than just following steps. It’s as much an art as a science. Only through experience will you find the balance that makes this process uniquely yours. Helping tribes find their WHY is one of our favorite things to do. It brings us a great deal of fulfillment. Although we’ve both done many Why Discoveries, we still get butterflies in our stomachs when we step in front of a room full of people who are eager to find the WHY of their tribe. In these situations, we take a deep breath and source ourselves from a place of being in service to those in the room. Part of being a master facilitator is knowing when to follow the steps and when to trust your intuition. The artful balance is allowing each tribe to find their own path to discovering their WHY. In Appendix 3 at the end of this book, we’ve outlined some of the key points for facilitating this session. You might like to refer to it and add your own notes as you prepare to run your first Why Discovery workshop. Good luck and inspire on! CHAPTER 1 Start with Why A Primer PORTFOLIO / PENGUIN FIND YOUR WHY SIMON SINEK is an optimist who believes in a brighter future for humanity. His talk on TED.com is the third most watched talk of all time. Learn more about his work and how you can inspire those around you at StartWithWhy.com. DAVID MEAD began as a corporate trainer. In 2009, he joined the Start With Why team to develop content to help Simon share his powerful ideas. Now he speaks and facilitates workshops to help shift people’s perceptions about leadership and culture. PETER DOCKER is a former senior Royal Air Force officer and professional pilot. Since joining the Start With Why team in 2011, Peter has worked with organizations around the world to help them articulate their purpose, educate their leaders and to create cultures where each individual thrives. CHAPTER 5 Why Discovery for Groups Part 2: Talking to the Tribe ACKNOWLEDGMENTS There was a time when we didn’t think we’d ever make it to the acknowledgments section of this book! Long story short, this book had started in 2013 as a field guide that Peter had written up. David loved the idea and together we worked to further develop the method. One day we’ll pause to reflect on and retrace the steps of how we suddenly found ourselves writing a full-blown book. Writing this book has been an unbelievably challenging and equally inspiring adventure full of unexpected twists and turns. It would be impossible to name the organizations and individuals that participated in the hundreds of workshops we’ve conducted to hone the methods we shared in these pages. On the surface it would seem they had nothing in common—different industries, different sizes, different business models—yet they all fit in one bucket to us. They were all early adopters. They were willing to step up and join the movement well before we had this process figured out. If it weren’t for you, early adopters, raising your hands to go first, we wouldn’t have the content that fills these pages. A special thanks to all of the organizations who have inspired examples and stories to help bring the Why Discovery processes to life, including La Marzocco, Cuestamoras, Ultimate Software, Studio Awkward and Southwest Airlines. Then there are the numerous individuals who have chatted to us on flights, in bars and other random places, inspiring us by their willingness to share their stories—including Steve the man of steel, Emily and Todd. With Peter in the UK, David in Utah and Simon in New York, it took some serious effort to bring this book to life. Not to mention that we’re all three on the road speaking more than we’re at home! A huge thanks to our respective families who have shown great patience, tolerance, love and support as we have each taken ourselves away to write and rewrite—precious time when we already spend many days a year away from home. Like the instruments in an orchestra, words are nothing without a great arrangement. For that, we thank the skill of the team at Penguin Random House (who between them also helped rid us of a few discordant notes). Adrian Zackheim, Merry Sun, Will Weisser, Victoria Miller, Tara Gilbride, Daniel Lagin, Lisa D’Agostino, Matt Giarratano, Tess Espinoza and Eric Nelson. Indeed, Portfolio deserves a special mention for their patience and support as we navigated our way through this book. There are a few others we’d like to mention by name. The wonderfully straight-talking editor Jenn Hallam, who kept us all focused and who never swayed from giving us all the feedback we needed. Judy Coyne, who took three voices and made it one in a way that appeared effortless. Design and layout ideas came from the creative minds of Farah Assir and Elanor Thompson, without whom this guide would have been so much more difficult to follow. A very special thank you to Monique Helstrom and Molly Strong for orchestrating Simon’s schedule and our collective logistics to make it possible for us to get in the same room (virtually or in person). Our ideas and thoughts were shaped by the feedback and input from some close friends and colleagues, including Stephen Shedletzky and the wider Start With Why team, our friends at the Barry-Wehmiller Leadership Institute and Simon Marshall. We want to especially thank all those who spent time and energy testing out what we have written. Ronit Friedman, Sharon Mass and Keren Peled ran a workshop for Elevation Academy, while Margaret Allgood, Aletheia Silcott and Cheryl Grise took Cox Automotive’s Inventory Solutions group through the process. Michael Redding and Jeffrey Beruan also played an invaluable part in checking that our process worked. Finally, we all want to make a special mention of our dear friend Kim Harrison. Kim guides the whole Start With Why team on a daily basis. Without her remarkable vision and insight, her ability to bring people together in the most powerful way and her unwavering commitment to the Start With Why movement, none of this would have been possible. Always in the background, supporting those in the foreground, she is a remarkable human being and we all love her to bits. APPENDIX 3 Facilitator Tips for Tribe Why Discovery Anyone who’s agreed to serve as a Tribe Why Discovery facilitator for an organization, company or team will want to read chapters 4 and 5 of this book for instructions on how to manage the process—and they’ll also want this appendix as a cheat sheet. Here is a quick summary of the best tips and questions for effective facilitators. Keep it confidential. Don’t share the details or nature of the conversations you will facilitate during the workshop until you’re ready to have them. If participants know in advance what they’re going to discuss, they’ll overthink it. Take a firm hand with “story hogs.” It’s crucial to Tribe Why Discovery that everyone gets the opportunity to share their stories in their small group. Keep an eye on the interactions. If some individuals are being too dominant (senior executives are often guilty of this), step up and gently encourage those who haven’t yet spoken to contribute their stories. If a team member shows emotion as they report out their story, dig deeper. Ask the person to say more about their feelings or what it was about that particular story that evoked such an intense reaction. Be direct. Ask, “What was it about that customer’s phone call that made you remember it all these years later?” Avoid questions that start with “why.” Counterintuitive as it seems, it’s easier to answer a question that starts with “what” or “how.” Steer participants away from progress-killing semantic debates. For example, “Is ‘joy’ really the best word? I think we should say ‘happiness.’” Don’t go down that wormhole. Remind the group that, in this context, dictionary definitions matter less than the general feeling a story evokes. Focus participants on how their tribe does business, rather than on what business they do. Sometimes group members say that their competition does exactly the same thing they do. If that happens, bring them back to their stories. The difference between them and their competitors lies in the HOW, not the WHAT. Make sure you have enough time. A Tribe Why Discovery takes at least four hours. If the organizers ask you to do it in less time, push back. Having the full four hours is crucial. Make sure you have the right setting. The space where the session takes place needs to be: large enough that participants can break into small groups equipped with a snacks table of food and drink private and quiet (e.g., not the room where the Xerox machine is located) set up in advance so that tables are pushed back against the walls and chairs are arranged in a horseshoe supplied with flip charts and easels for each of the subgroups, plus three flip charts on easels for your own use Taking the time to discover our WHY and articulate our HOWs is simply how we begin the journey. Next comes the hard part. We have to act on them. We have to bring them to life. We have to share them. Share Your WHY Just knowing our WHY doesn’t mean we instantly feel comfortable sharing it. In fact, most of us have been communicating with our WHATs—as we’ve been shown to do—for our whole lives. It’s what we’ve been taught. It’s what has been modeled to us. You may find it a serious challenge to communicate your purpose, cause or belief to others. If so, you’re not alone! Remember learning to ride a bike? You felt awkward at first. Each time you got back on, you focused on a different tactic all the while trying to stay balanced. You were lifting your feet at different times, trying the brakes at various pressures and struggling to look where you wanted to go, all the while preoccupied by what your limbs should be doing. It’s likely you fell off a few times, but you got back on the bike and tried again . . . and again . . . and again. And soon you were flying down the road without even thinking about it. Starting with WHY is no different. Once you get the hang of it, it’s as natural as riding a bike. We find that the best place to practice is among strangers. When meeting someone for the first time, they almost always ask, “What do you do?” This is your opportunity to start with WHY. From this point forward, strangers on planes, chitchatters at cocktail parties and everyone in between represent your metaphorical bicycle. DANGER! DANGER!: Once you know your WHY, you have a choice to live it every day. Living it means consistently taking actions that are in alignment with the things you say. If you say one thing and do another too frequently, you will lose the trust of others. Our actions either add to or take away from the trust and loyalty others feel toward us. When the things we say and the things we do are aligned with what we believe, we are fully living our WHY. Will you choose to take a stand? While you can recite your Why Statement word for word, you can also try variations of your statement and stories to help it give meaning to others. Simon, for example, might say, “I inspire people to do things that inspire them, so that, together, we can change our world.” This is his Why Statement word for word. He sometimes says, “I work with leaders to build inspiring organizations that put people first. I believe that if enough organizations do this, we will change our world.” He often uses our vision statement to begin a conversation. If he’s talking about Start With Why, our organization, he’ll say, “We imagine a world where the vast majority of people wake up inspired to go to work, feel safe when they are there and return home at the end of the day fulfilled by the work they do. Every product we make, every partnership we have and everything we do is to bring this vision to life.” You get the idea. It’s not about using the exact words of your Why Statement, though that’s a good place to start. It’s about finding ways to share who you are and what you stand for. If the first couple of times you try this and you don’t get the reaction you were hoping for, don’t let that discourage you. We both shared some embarrassing tales of our first attempts of starting with WHY while writing this chapter. It’s always easier to look back and laugh after you’ve mastered a skill. We don’t know anyone who has escaped the early days of getting up the courage to share their WHY only to have the person they’re talking to look at them like they have three heads. That’s falling off the bike! It’s going to happen. If that’s the reaction you get, it means one of two things. It could mean that you weren’t very clear. What you meant to say and what actually came out of your mouth were not aligned. Like riding a bike, where you wanted to go and where you ended up weren’t always the same place. It could also be the case that everything came out perfectly but didn’t resonate with the person you were talking to. Remember, the WHY is a filter. When you start with WHY, it attracts people who believe what you believe and repels people who don’t. The person who politely ends the conversation or switches topics is probably someone with whom your WHY does not resonate. That’s perfectly fine. You don’t want to spend a bunch of time small talking with someone who doesn’t believe what you believe. It’s just a sign that there is someone else with whom you could be having a deep and meaningful conversation. Go find them! Share the Tribe’s WHY ( [image: ] 3–4 HOURS) One of the most effective ways to share within an organization is to create an opportunity for others to hear about and feel inspired by the WHY. Then they can take ownership of it and put it into practice. If your tribe is large enough that not everyone could be included in the Why Discovery process, what is the best way to share it with everyone else? If you are the founder of the organization and have discovered your WHY and now want to share it with your tribe, how can you get started? Below is an approach we have used to help people share the WHY with fellow tribe members who were not part of the discovery process. You can also use this approach to onboard new employees or partners, ensuring that the tribe’s WHY stays alive as the organization grows. It’s a simple three-step process, conducted with fifty people at a time in a workshop lasting three to four hours. The facilitator of your Tribe Why Discovery process could be a good candidate to run this workshop too. Here’s the road map: Each step is a facilitated conversation held in a setting similar to the one recommended for the Tribe Why Discovery in chapter 4. [image: ] SHARE THE EXPERIENCE [image: ] [image: ] HELP OTHERS OWN THE WHY [image: ] [image: ] EXPLORE NEW OPPORTUNITIES [image: ] Facilitator Section Who Should Attend? See chapter 7 in Start with Why for more on this topic. [image: ] We recommend that participants in this workshop volunteer to attend. In the early stages of the Why Discovery rollout, you want the early adopters, the people who are interested and excited about participating. Remember the Law of Diffusion of Innovation that Simon talks about in Start with Why, which says that early adopters of innovations will then enthusiastically spread them to others? If it’s possible, start with those people who are most enthusiastic about the Why Discovery work. Early adopters will help you socialize the idea throughout the organization. It will be faster and cheaper to use this approach versus a formal corporate top-down rollout. In the end, it may be formally rolled out even though it’s not the ideal first step in socializing the idea. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to have a few people in the room who don’t check the early adoptors box, but who do need to “get on board” or “buy in” in order for things to move forward, that’s okay. Do your best to ensure the majority of participants are eager to be a part of this new and exciting milestone of the organization. Step 1: Share the Experience ( [image: ] 60–75 minutes) Begin the workshop by reviewing the Golden Circle and the concept of WHY. Some participants may have already heard something about these ideas; others will be starting from zero. Everyone in the room needs to develop a foundational understanding of what it means to start with WHY. An easy way to begin is to show them Simon’s TED talk video (http://bit.ly/GoldenCircleTalk). Alternatively, you can review the concept with them yourself—free slides and notes are available at http://bit.ly/FYWresources. After you review the Golden Circle, invite one or two team members who participated in the Why Discovery process to talk about it. Explain to them in advance that they should not start by revealing the Why Statement straight off. Instead, they should convey to their colleagues how the discovery experience felt. Let these team members do the majority of the talking. But in case you need to help them get rolling (or keep rolling), here are some questions to tuck in your back pocket. Pick and choose the ones you like and feel free to add your own. Tell us what happened during the Why Discovery session. What were some of the stories colleagues shared that particularly resonated with you? What were some of the high points of the session? How did the group respond? What did you learn about your organization or coworkers that you didn’t know before? How does what you heard during the session make you feel about working here? What inspired you most about the Why Discovery process? As your speakers get going, the other members of the group will probably want to ask them questions as well. Encourage everyone to do so, and let the conversation flow. The more the group engages in the discussion, the more they will understand the value of the WHY and the more they will contribute to the workshop. There’s no time limit to this part of the exercise. So don’t rush it. Read the energy in the room. When the interaction reaches a natural stopping point—which could be fifteen minutes after you start, or thirty minutes, or more—you can move on to step 2. Step 2: Help Others Own the WHY ( [image: ] 45–60 MINUTES) Now for the big reveal: you’ll soon be sharing the Why Statement drafted at the discovery session. The best way to begin is by introducing the composition of the statement: [image: ] Explain that the Why Statement the tribe members will soon see was discovered (not created) via the themes that emerged from the stories their colleagues shared. Show the flip chart from the Why Discovery where the Candidate words and phrases were recorded. Talk about the process by which you helped whittle these down to a single Why Statement. Retell participants’ specific stories whenever that seems helpful. These stories will help bring the WHY to life. If you still have the flip-chart pages from the Why Discovery process or even pictures of them, now would be a great time to share them. Seeing those marked up pages with words crossed out and themes circled can help everyone who wasn’t there get an idea of how it all came together. If every member of a team doesn’t grow together they will grow apart. When you finally arrive at the flip-chart page that reveals the Why Statement, read it out loud and then give the group a chance to take it in. This moment is where things can get a little tricky. People can get hung up on the words rather than the meaning and feeling behind the words. We recommend taking a few moments here to let everyone know that the words aren’t perfect. This is just the first iteration or an early iteration of the Why Statement. Let them know that sometimes the words used in a Why Statement may change a little over time, although the feeling behind the WHY does not. Encourage them to withhold their critiques of the specific language, for now, and to focus instead on what the WHY might look like in action. See if you can get everyone to agree that they have a shared sense—a feeling—for the WHY, even if its articulation is not, in their minds, 100 percent perfect. This will help you avoid semantic quicksand and keep the momentum going. We have experienced situations when the WHY simply didn’t resonate with one or two people in the room. Some of the common reasons for this are that: In the past, the organization hasn’t always lived its WHY. The WHY doesn’t align with what the organization and/or the team members have agreed on as their current strategy. Sometimes team members feel it’s right but don’t believe all employees will get behind the WHY, so they feel the need to change it. Occasionally, a team member who doesn’t resonate with the WHY isn’t a great fit for the company. If the majority of the room isn’t on board with the Why Statement, there is a good chance it needs more refining. If everyone is not in consensus about the WHY, that’s okay. Your goal is not to convince everyone to buy in, but to provide an environment in which they have the opportunity to be inspired by it. Remember, the whole idea behind articulating the WHY is so that we can work together to make positive change in the world. Now that everyone has a good understanding of the WHY and its underlying themes and stories, they are ready to be split into groups to carry on the conversation. Ideally, each group will include three to eight people. The groups should be small enough that an effective exchange of ideas can happen. Each group needs to report back to the room at the end of this section, so make sure you don’t have too many groups. One way to encourage ownership of the WHY is to have each group share personal experiences that support it. Here are some prompts to get them started: Tell a specific story about the reason you love working in this organization. Share a story of when you felt proud to be a part of this tribe. What about the story you just shared validates our WHY? Who in our organization best embodies our WHY? Give each group its own flip chart and have the participants write down their answers to each of these questions as a list of short sentences or phrases, with an emphasis on stories. Just as in the Why Discovery session, the stories that carry the most meaning will be the ones that are the most specific and human. Allow at least twenty to thirty minutes for this exercise. More often than not, you’ll need to bring the segment to a close due to lack of time, not due to a lack of conversation among the participants. After you call a halt, have each group report on their discussion to the rest of the team. That should take about five to seven minutes per group. When people get passionate about how their personal experiences line up with the WHY, it means they are starting to take ownership of it, which reinforces their connection to the work and to each other. Channel the energy generated by this exercise into the final piece of the workshop. Step 3: Explore New Opportunities ( [image: ] 45 minutes) Our WHY comes from our past, but its value and promise lie in the future. An inspiring, clearly articulated WHY acts as a springboard for new and different ways an organization can move forward. Using our tribe’s WHY to take us into the future is the focus of the final part of this workshop. We call this a “Conversation of Possibility.” This is the time for participants to throw out ideas about how the organization, guided by its WHY, can advance in new or different ways. This is more than your average brainstorming session. You know that kind of brainstorming session we’re talking about, where we begin thinking big until one of us starts anticipating obstacles and challenges, and within three minutes most of us are convinced the new big idea is impossible. “Resource constraints” is one popular bogeyman; you can no doubt think of others. Sadly, when we do this we stall our ideas before they even get started and prevent ourselves from taking action. We limit our progress to small steps, when we could be taking giant leaps. A Conversation of Possibility keeps us away from that excessively safe path. It gives us permission to change our thinking and an opportunity to get out of our own way. Divide participants into the same groups as before. Explain that in a Conversation of Possibility, resource constraints do not apply. Encourage participants to share any and all ideas—after all, you never know where they will lead. We’ve seen people bring up an idea they themselves advertised in advance as stupid and then watch as the group transformed it into something everyone was eager to implement. The bigger the ideas the better. Nothing is off the table. Nothing is impossible. Nothing is “stupid.” At the same time, make sure everyone understands that a Conversation of Possibility is just that—a conversation. If you surface an idea and it’s well received, that does not imply that you are now committed to taking it forward. If people fear that offering a suggestion will stick them with making it a reality, they may keep their most ambitious ideas to themselves. It’s important to state that a Conversation of Possibility is full of possibility yet requires no commitment. There are just two rules for this exercise: Every idea must align with the WHY. Group members can add new ideas or build on someone else’s. They cannot say, “No way,” “That won’t work” or “We can’t do that”—that’s not the conversation we’re in. To get things started, instruct the groups to answer this question: Knowing this is our WHY, what could be possible inside our organization? (For example, think about what systems and processes might be modified or introduced.) The idea here is to get the team looking inward. Remember we must practice what we preach. We must be what we say we are. This is the opportunity to ensure the things we say and the things we do inside the organization are a reflection of who we truly are. People on the inside should first live the WHY for each other; after that, they can focus on how the WHY affects those on the outside. Many organizations want to go directly to a client or product focus. Encourage them to stay in an internal conversation first, and assure them we’ll get to the WHATs next. The question above can get them started. After ten minutes or so, throw out a new question: Given the WHY of this organization, what other WHATs are possible? (For example, think about what else we could offer by way of products or services, or the way we communicate with the people we serve.) So often, organizations get comfortable providing their core offerings and don’t consider what other products, services or partnerships could help them live their WHY. (If Apple had done that, none of us would have iPhones, iPads or iTunes.) By specifically asking participants to explore new products or services, this question aims to inspire them to realize that a product can be wildly different from their current offering and still be 100 percent compatible with the organization’s WHY. The groups should write their thoughts on their flip charts. After twenty to thirty minutes, ask them to report to the room. As people hear what the other groups have to say, they may be inspired to think of even more possibilities. It’s like climbing the staircase of a tall tower—as you take each step, more comes into view. To complete the Conversation of Possibility, ask if anyone would like to make a commitment to carry forward the work of the WHY. Specifically, you should ask for commitments to: Be “Why Champions” who will keep the WHY alive every day by living it and sharing it with others. Take any of the possibilities identified by the team and turn them into action. If the HOWs haven’t been stated as recommended in chapter 6, it would be ideal for volunteers to identify the organization’s HOWs by exploring other themes that emerged during the Why Discovery. The goal is that by the end of this workshop, team members who had no part in the discovery process will be starting to take ownership of the WHY, which releases energy and inspiration. Each participant will have started to bring the WHY alive with stories of their own. The more they talk about it, the more the WHY starts to take hold. This is how to begin to scale the power of WHY. * * * Live Your WHY Communicating our WHY is an essential part of identifying the people in the world who believe what we believe, who will be our trusted friends, loyal clients or customers, dedicated employees and inspired partners in bringing our WHY to life. That’s huge. And it’s only the beginning. For an individual, finding their WHY may lead them to realize that there is something else they could be doing or somewhere else they could be doing it that would likely leave them feeling more fulfilled. Finding an organization’s WHY can lead to a similar conclusion. Maybe the organization should be offering a different product or service. Maybe it should reconsider its hiring process or its metrics for progress. Perhaps certain employees would do better in different positions or divisions. Or maybe they simply aren’t the right fit at all. After discovering the WHY and articulating the HOWs it’s easier to see which team members, strategies, policies, procedures, systems, products and internal and external communications are in or out of alignment with your core beliefs. If the initial list of things you’d like to change is pretty long, that’s normal. It doesn’t mean that you have to make immediate or drastic changes. Allow your WHY and HOWs to settle a bit before you move forward in a new direction. Build the relationship to them as you consider how they might shape your next steps. If you decide a change feels right based on what you’ve learned about yourself and your organization, start small and move forward with confidence. Remember, the times we feel most fulfilled are the times we are living our WHY. It has always been that way; we just couldn’t put it into words. Now you can share your WHY and act on it intentionally. When you keep your WHY on a piece of paper in a drawer, you have a piece of paper in a drawer. When you live your WHY, you thrive and so do the people around you. * * * Keep the WHY Alive Peter recently flew Southwest Airlines from St. Louis, Missouri, to Columbus, Ohio. The flight was packed, and the overhead bins were full. As the final passengers boarded, they were instructed to leave their carry-on bags in the forward galley for loading into the baggage hold. Peter could see the flight attendant working hard to make sure each bag was properly labeled for transfer. For more about Southwest, read chapter 5 of Start with Why. [image: ] This is not an unusual scene on domestic flights. It’s what happened next that was surprising. As Peter watched, the plane’s captain peered around the flight-deck door and caught sight of the flight attendant labeling bags and then carrying them onto the Jetway for loading. Immediately, and without hesitation, the captain climbed out of his seat and started to help. Peter was amazed. There’s a pretty sharp line drawn between flight-deck crew and cabin crew on airlines these days, yet here was a senior captain crossing that line to help another member of the Southwest team ensure that the passengers’ bags would make it to where they had to go. By his actions, by his tone in speaking to the flight attendant and by the way he handled the bags, this captain demonstrated to everyone watching that he cared. Peter looked up at the airline’s crest on the bulkhead, which bears the outline of a heart at its center, and smiled. He had just witnessed their WHY in action. Southwest Airlines is a company that builds its business around a belief in caring for its employees, who in turn care for their customers. In Start with Why, Simon cited the airline as an example of an organization that thinks, acts and communicates by starting with WHY. As we write this book seven years later, it seems that Southwest’s WHY remains alive and kicking. * * * For more on the “split,” read chapter 12 in Start with Why. [image: ] To keep the WHY alive over time, we must keep it front and center, communicating it and committing to living it—on purpose, with purpose—every day. Otherwise, a WHY can fizzle, fade or be forgotten. In an organization, when the WHY goes fuzzy, we call this the “split.” [image: ] Every organization’s development, growth or results can be measured on two axes. The first is time and the second is another metric, usually revenue. When an organization is founded, what it does is inextricably linked with why it does what it does, even if the company can’t express its WHY in words. As the organization grows, its WHAT and WHY grow hand in hand. But as the business scales over time and more and more people are hired, that’s when the split becomes a real threat. In the beginning, when an organization is small, the founder makes the initial hires and directly shares their vision with the team. The entire tribe is often working from the same office; if not, they generally are in daily contact. Employees are inspired by the founder’s vision and excited to come to work. They give the organization everything they’ve got, even if the pay is low and the hours are long. Under these circumstances, the WHY remains alive and well. As the organization gets bigger, things begin to change. The original founder assigns someone to hire and manage some of the staff. Eventually a management structure is put in place to handle the growth. The person who was hired to hire people now hires someone else to help with this task. After a while, those being hired are further and further removed from the founder and the reason the organization does what it does. The newer hires instinctively start to focus on the more easily measurable WHAT and soon the WHY becomes fuzzy. The point at which this occurs—when the WHY goes fuzzy and the focus shifts to the WHAT—is the split. Although we may not be able to articulate the change, we can all recognize when our organization experiences the split. Symptoms include increased stress, decreased passion and lower productivity, engagement and innovation. People start saying things like “It used to feel like a family around here. Now it just feels like a job.” Whereas people were formerly inspired to stay with the organization, now executives and upper management must actively work to retain them, using tactics such as salary increases, bonuses tied to delivery and share options available only to individuals who’ll commit to five more years with the organization. This kind of money-based manipulation can work in the short term but inevitably fails in the long run. Eventually, employee trust and loyalty break down, performance suffers, numbers drop, layoffs begin and the entire culture of the organization begins to erode. Any organization, even one with a great WHY-based culture, can find itself at the split if it loses focus on the reason it does what it does. Being aware of the problem, however, means that you, as an organization, can guard against it. Ultimate Software offers a perfect example of how an organization can fend off the split. It is not only experiencing explosive growth, but also has a thriving “people first” culture. The company is a regular in Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For list. In 2017, it was number seven on that list and was also voted number two in People magazine’s Companies That Care list. In early 2014, they asked us to get involved—not because they were experiencing the split but because they wanted to inoculate themselves against it. They asked us to help them design leadership training that would ensure their leaders had everything they needed so they could always choose to do the right thing. The leadership team at Ultimate Software knows their WHY: To provide for people so that they thrive and feel empowered to always do the right thing. They use that WHY to shape the organization’s culture and they envision its future through that lens. Their WHY is not just corporate wallpaper. They live it and breathe it. And they are hypervigilant in protecting it. Ultimate Software prevents the split from happening by consciously, continuously and relentlessly aligning WHAT they do with WHY they do it—and they are succeeding beautifully. * * * Whether you are proactively protecting a thriving, long-lived WHY or need to resuscitate a WHY that has been neglected or ignored, one of the most powerful tools at your disposal is also the simplest: storytelling. This is true whether you are an organization or an individual. Storytelling is the way knowledge and understanding have been passed down for millennia, since long before the invention of written language. Storytelling is part of what it is to be human. And the best stories share our values and beliefs. Those stories are powerful. Those stories inspire. Those stories are both the source of our WHY and the fuel that keeps our WHY alive. That’s the reason companies that understand the importance of living their WHY make it easy for their teams to fortify themselves with stories. Throughout this book, we have talked about the importance of stories for the discovery process. Your WHY comes from your stories—the moments in your life when you felt most fulfilled, the moments when you were your very best self. The more you act intentionally on your WHY, the more of these satisfying stories you will collect. And those stories will deepen your relationship to your WHY and inspire you to keep going. In turn, you’ll inspire others. Inspire On We mentioned several times that we find facilitating Why Discoveries to be the most fulfilling and inspiring work we do. It’s one thing to discover your own WHY, it’s another thing to help someone discover theirs. We recommend you do both! Our team at Start With Why is working hard to build a world where the vast majority of people wake up inspired to go to work, feel safe when they are there and return home at the end of the day fulfilled by the work they do. We are working hard to ensure that every employee has a Golden Circle on their desk and every organization can clearly articulate their higher purpose, cause or belief. This book is just one of the things we are doing to help bring our WHY to life. We know we can’t do this alone. Thank you for joining the movement, for helping us share the WHY. Inspire on! INTRODUCTION We travel a lot for business, but sometimes our business just won’t wait—it climbs right onto the plane and finds us. That’s what happened to Peter one day, on a flight from Miami to St. Louis. Here’s the story as Peter tells it: I was exhausted. All I wanted to do was get to where I was going. Another flight. Another stranger to sit next to. I prayed to the airline gods for a seatmate who wouldn’t invade my space, physically or verbally. I just wanted to be left alone. But as it turned out, my neighbor was going to be one of those people and this was going to be one of those flights. I was settling in for the four-hour trip when Steve sat down and introduced himself. After some chitchat, he started telling me what he does for a living. If you’ve been in this situation, you already know that Steve was not, say, a bodyguard for Hollywood stars, eager to share behind-the-scenes stories about their love lives and recreational drug use. No salacious stories or gossip to entertain me for the flight. No. For twenty-three years, Steve had been selling steel. Yup, steel. Riveting. It turns out, however, the steel Steve sells is not just the run-of-the-mill variety. His company, based in Sweden, produces a particularly pure form of steel that enables machines to run more efficiently because their parts—for example, a car’s transmission—are lighter. An engineer himself, Steve could personally attest to his product’s superiority over other options on the market. As he wrapped up, Steve looked at me expectantly, obviously longing for a follow-up question that would let him talk more about steel. Trouble was, I didn’t much care what Steve did. It’s not that I’m aloof or unsociable or only interested in gossip. I’m none of the above. What draws me in is not what people do for a living but why they do it. So instead of asking Steve how much his steel costs and who his best clients are, I turned to him and said, “So what?” “Well, er,” Steve faltered, not understanding the question. So I put it another way: “I get that the steel you sell is very pure. I get that it allows for lighter components, which makes machines more efficient. But so what?” Steve stammered a bit more, then blurted out, “Well, not so much material needs to be used.” Getting closer. I pushed a little more. “And what difference does that make?” For a moment Steve looked as if he might crumble. All he’d wanted was to make small talk. Now he was stuck with my weird questions for the next three hours (the tables had turned). But we kept talking and I helped him find his answers. As it turns out, such pure steel means that parts built with less material still remain strong. Using less material means needing to do less smelting (the process of extracting metal from its ore), so less energy is used in the steel production process and thus less pollution is created. And when the steel is used to produce a machine such as a car, those advantages are repeated: the car is lighter, so it uses less fuel and therefore produces less pollution. And as if that weren’t enough, purer steel is easier to recycle than other varieties. This was actually interesting . . . but we still hadn’t gotten to why Steve was so enthusiastic about his job. “Saving fuel and reducing pollution is great,” I said, “but there must be something more to this business that’s kept you going for twenty-three years.” That’s a long time to do something and still be passionate about it. “There must be something more at stake, something you truly believe in,” I prodded him. And then it happened. For the first time in our conversation, I saw Steve’s eyes light up. And his feelings poured out. Steve is committed to keeping the planet healthy for his children and future generations, and one way to do that is to be more responsible in the way we use our planet’s rich resources. For all the time he’d been talking to me about steel, he never once mentioned this, yet it was the very thing that inspired him to start telling a stranger on a plane all about pure steel. I asked Steve for permission to rephrase his sales pitch. “In simple terms,” I began, speaking as if I were Steve, “I believe in using natural resources for the benefit of humankind. And I also believe that we should do so responsibly, leaving the planet safe and healthy for our children. This is what led me to become an engineer and to join my current organization. Our company, based in Sweden—a country committed to sustainability—has developed a way to help engineers create lighter, more efficient, greener products. And our particular path to sustainability happens to be lightweight steel.” “Thank you,” Steve said, beaming. “You’ve just put into words the reason I love what I do.” Simply by starting my version of the pitch with why he loves his job, I helped Steve see that it’s not what he does that has kept him fulfilled for more than two decades. What inspires him is why he does it. By connecting his work to his sense of purpose, Steve had discovered his WHY. * * * Your vision is only actionable if you say it out loud. If you keep it to yourself, it will remain a figment of your imagination. Every one of us has a WHY, a deep-seated purpose, cause or belief that is the source of our passion and inspiration. You may not yet know what yours is or how to express it in words. But we guarantee, you have one. If you’d like to understand your WHY, and would rather not wait until Peter sits next to you on a flight, this book can help. We believe that all of us deserve to live as Steve does: waking up inspired to go to work and coming home, at the end of the day, feeling fulfilled by the work we do. Fulfillment isn’t another word for happiness. All kinds of things make us happy at work: hitting a goal, getting a promotion, landing a new client, completing a project—the list goes on. But happiness is temporary; the feeling doesn’t last. Nobody walks around energized by the memory of a goal hit twelve months ago. That intensity passes with time. Fulfillment is deeper. Fulfillment lasts. The difference between happiness and fulfillment is the difference between liking something and loving something. We don’t necessarily like our kids all the time, for example, but we do love them all the time. We don’t necessarily find happiness in our jobs every day, but we can feel fulfilled by our work every day if it makes us feel part of something bigger than ourselves. (That’s the reason we can feel unfulfilled even if we’re successful by standard measures like compensation and status. Fulfillment comes when our job connects directly to our WHY.) Steve, our man of steel, finds happiness when he closes a deal but finds fulfillment knowing that he is contributing to a higher cause with larger implications. Happiness comes from what we do. Fulfillment comes from why we do it. Steve is a lucky man. Though he couldn’t articulate his WHY until he met and talked with Peter, he had been living his WHY for decades and as a result felt inspired and fulfilled. But what if the company in Sweden had been acquired by a larger company that downsized Steve? What if he’d had to look for a new job without knowing his WHY? Given his decades of experience, he’d most likely have tried for another job selling steel. But if the new company wasn’t dedicated to sustainability, his sense of purpose would have vanished along with his enthusiasm when talking to strangers on planes. And he might never have connected the pieces and seen that his passion for his work actually had nothing to do with steel in the first place. If we want to feel an undying passion for our work, if we want to feel we are contributing to something bigger than ourselves, we all need to know our WHY. And that’s the reason we wrote this book. * * * Find Your Why is a distillation of what our team has learned from over twenty-five years of collective experience conducting Why Discoveries. We have helped all kinds of people—including entrepreneurs, individual employees, small businesses and teams within large businesses—to find their WHY. This book was designed to help you find yours. Below is an outline of the seven chapters. The first two contain information that’s fundamental to finding your WHY, and we urge everyone to read them. After that, you can move on to either chapter 3 or chapter 4, depending on whether you’re discovering your WHY as an individual or as a team or group member. Finally, we recommend that all readers review chapters 5, 6 and 7. At the end of the book, we offer assorted bits of additional information that may help you as questions arise. Chapter 1 is a highly condensed recap of Start with Why, the book written by Simon Sinek, who popularized the concept of WHY. This section discusses some of the benefits of knowing your WHY. Chapter 2 provides an overview of the process of discovering your WHY. This is important to read whether you’re doing this on your own or with a team. Chapter 3 is the step-by-step process for individuals—entrepreneurs or employees—to find their personal WHY. If you are using this book to help your team or organization find its WHY, though not imperative, completing this section and learning your own WHY can help you lead your group through the discovery process. Chapter 4 explains what you need to do to prepare for a Why Discovery for a team, organization or any “tribe” in which people are brought together to work. Chapter 5 picks up where chapter 4 leaves off and explains how to take a tribe through the Why Discovery process. The WHY is the destination and HOWs are the route we take to get there. Chapter 6 is all about the HOWs, the actions we take to bring our WHY to life. Chapter 7 explains how to share your WHY with others, and how to begin to live your WHY and put it into practice. The appendixes provide answers to the questions we receive most often in our workshops and “cheat sheets” for when you (or another facilitator) are conducting the workshops. One of the hardest things to predict about finding your WHY is how long it will take. In chapters 3 through 5, we outline the process for individuals and tribes, and estimate, based on our experience, approximately how much time each step will take. But these numbers are only averages. For some, the process goes more quickly, and for others, more slowly. There is no “right” amount of time. What’s important is to stick with each section or step until you feel confident about moving on to the next one. To be honest, knowing you’re about to turn the page to chapter 1, we feel a little jealous. We love helping people find their WHY. For us—Peter and David—we wish we could be there personally with each one of you. But our vision is to bring the WHY to life for as many people as possible. And so we will be your virtual guides as you set off on your adventure. Inspire on! APPENDIX 1 Frequently Asked Questions We’ve had the privilege to work with thousands of people in our workshops, and they’ve asked good questions. It might be fair to assume that, since WHY is our passion, all the answers were on the tips of our tongues. Some were, but some really challenged us, and thinking them through deepened, expanded and clarified our own understanding of WHY. We thought it would add value to this book if we shared the most commonly raised workshop questions, along with our responses. We especially recommend that facilitators read this section, since they may receive similar questions from Tribe Why Discovery participants. For Individuals Can my WHY be my family? Family inspires great love and commitment, and most of us want very much to care for our spouse or partner and our children. But a WHY is who we are wherever we are—not just at home, but also at work or out with friends. Though it may seem strange to speak in these terms, family is actually a WHAT. Your WHY will come not from talking about your family, but from talking about the feelings your family evokes in you. During the Why Discovery process, you will inevitably find that the contribution you make to your family members and the impact it has on them are the same contribution you will make and impact you will have on others in any situation that brings out your best self. The bottom line is your family is not your WHY. The reason your best friend loves you is the same reason your significant other loves you, and it’s the same reason your best client or colleagues love you too. Can I have more than one WHY? Nope. Each of us has one WHY and one WHY only. The WHY is the one common thread that brings out the best in us and makes us feel the most fulfilled. As Simon often says, “If you’re different at work than you are at home, in one of those two places you’re lying.” Who we are at our core does not change depending on where we find ourselves. We either live in alignment with our WHY or we do not. If you feel as if you have one WHY at work and a different one at home (or in some other context), you may be focusing too much on what you are doing at each respective place. Instead, think about the common factors at home and at work that leave you feeling inspired and fulfilled. That’s where you’ll get clarity of your WHY. Can my WHY change as I get older? Our WHY is fully formed by our mid- to late-teens. By that age we’ve experienced enough and made enough choices of our own that we can recognize the situations in which we’ll thrive and those in which we will not. But while you may have sensed your WHY at that age, you probably weren’t able to express it. That’s because the WHY comes from the limbic part of the brain, which has no capacity for language, so it’s hard to put it into words. As years go by, and we gain a deeper understanding of our WHY and the contribution and impact we make, we may find more precise and meaningful language in which to express it. However, the feelings behind the words will stay the same. The words you use may change, but your WHY will not. If we feel at a certain point in our lives that our WHY has fundamentally changed, there are a few possible reasons. The most common is that we didn’t truly know or understand our WHY before, often because we were too focused on WHATs. Or perhaps we’ve had an experience that felt transformative—a personal struggle, a tragedy, the death of a loved one. While such events can certainly affect us deeply, they don’t change who we are at our core. If these events inspire us to reconsider what’s important, to live or think in a more positive way, that doesn’t mean our WHY has changed. It means we have gained a deeper understanding of ourselves and have begun to live in closer alignment with our WHY. Another perspective on this is that a challenge or loss can throw us temporarily out of balance. Once we regain our balance, we will see that our WHY is fundamentally the same as it always was. What if I don’t have a WHY? You do have a WHY. Everyone does. The only question is whether you’re willing to let yourself be open and vulnerable enough to discover what it is. As long as you are honest with yourself and others, you will discover your WHY. It may not be perfectly articulated or polished right away, but we’ve never had to break the bad news to someone that they don’t have a WHY after all! The classic bell curve puts early adopters on the left, the majority in the middle, and laggards on the right. WHY follows a similar pattern. Some people are willing and eager to learn their WHY. They believe WHYs exist and are willing to risk a little to discover what theirs is. Others, aren’t ready or willing to take the risks involved in discovering what theirs is. In the end, there are sometimes those who, quite frankly, just don’t care one way or another. Our goal is not to try to convince the unready or the indifferent. Our goal is to work with those who are inspired by the concept of WHY and have a genuine desire to discover their own. Can a WHY be bad or evil? A WHY, by definition, is positive and generative. It serves others and makes a positive contribution to their lives. Those who turn their WHYs to destructive ends have chosen to manifest their purpose, cause or belief through results (WHATs) that hurt, disrespect or otherwise do not serve others. In the thousands of Why Discoveries we’ve done, we’ve never had anyone with a Why Statement that implied it could only be used in bad or evil ways. What one does in the name of their WHY is what determines how others view their actions. What’s the reason the WHY is always in service to others? It comes down to the difference between happiness and fulfillment. Happiness comes from the things we do for ourselves, such as buying a new pair of shoes or the latest smartphone, and can offer a quick hit of dopamine that makes us feel good. But when that feeling wears off, we need to do or buy something else to get the next hit. Shopping (or jogging or drinking wine or sailing or whatever else) may give us fleeting happiness but will never give us lasting fulfillment. The happiness in serving ourselves is real but often fleeting; the fulfillment in serving others is lasting. The problem comes when there’s a lack of balance between the pursuit of happiness and the pursuit of fulfillment. That’s not just philosophy; it’s biology. For more about this, we suggest reading Simon’s book Leaders Eat Last. We’ve met plenty of people over the years who, despite high salaries and the luxurious lifestyles that money can buy, aren’t truly fulfilled and feel that there’s something missing in their lives. Ironically, people whose WHY is in service to others, rather than for themselves, are the ones who ultimately best serve themselves, because in the end they experience the deepest fulfillment. How can I make my WHY sound different from everyone else’s? This question stems from the perception that we are all competing and somehow our WHY has to be better than, or at least different from, that of our rivals. But what if the only person we’re competing with is ourselves? What if we showed up every day to be a better version of ourselves, living more in line with our own WHY than we did the day before? When we are truly connected to our WHY and the stories from our past that have led to its discovery, it doesn’t matter if our WHY sounds like someone else’s. It’s ours and it has deep meaning to us. It represents who we are at our very best. When people first hear about the WHY, they sometimes think we’re talking about a person’s “special sauce.” The WHY is not about finding a competitive advantage. It’s okay and not even surprising if all your closest competitors got into the business (whatever it is) for reasons similar to yours. However, even if your WHY is similar to your competitor’s, what’s likely to be very different is the way you bring it to life through your guiding principles, behaviors and actions (your HOWs). In other words, you’re unique, not in your WHY alone but in the combination of your WHY and your HOWs. This combination makes you one-of-a-kind. If my WHY doesn’t align with the work I’m doing, do I have to quit? We don’t have to do anything. The short answer to this question is . . . maybe. If your work and your WHY aren’t aligning, you don’t necessarily have to throw everything away. We can’t always control the environment we’re in, but we can take responsibility for the way we show up. Your first step should be to positively influence those around you every day. Start by living your WHY the best way you can. It’s just possible that, if you do, things will begin to change for the better. If that doesn’t work, it’s important to remember that our goal is to surround ourselves with people who believe what we believe. If that simply isn’t possible where you are, you have a choice to make. You can actively look for a job that’s more in line with your WHY. Or you can try to make the best of where you are. Just remember, moving toward something (e.g., a situation in which you can thrive and live your WHY) is always better than moving away from something (e.g., a situation that isn’t working for you). My boss (or significant other, or sister or best friend) really needs to do a Why Discovery! How can I make that happen? You’re probably right that this person would benefit. However, it’s not up to you to convince others. They have to feel that Why Discovery would be right for them. One way we can inspire them to do a discovery is to live our own WHY. They may see the fulfillment you find through what you’ve learned and choose to find out more. Or they may not. We can lead a horse to water and even shove its head in the trough—but that just drowns the horse. I want to live my WHY but I’m not getting what I need for me to be at my best. We can’t tell from your statement whether you feel your missing piece is tangible or intangible, so we’ll give you both answers. The first: if you’re implying that there’s a tangible WHAT that’s necessary for you to live your WHY, you’re wrong. None of us needs any specific job, position, title, technology or piece of equipment in order to effect the change we want t