By Tom O’Shea, CMC, Principal
Life is going at such a blurring pace that it often makes everything around us seem fuzzy and out of focus. Have you ever had that feeling? As we travel around the country and globe working with clients in widely diverse industries and settings, this blur seems to be almost universally prevalent. It is particularly profound in situations where the VUCA world has been especially disruptive, or where the leadership strength is noticeably lacking … it is usually a combination of both conditions.
This past year, I have enjoyed watching a collection of videos and reading the first book of an emerging author and speaker named Simon Sinek. His book and website entitled www.startwithwhy.com provides some very meaningful perspective to help bring greater clarity to the blurriness described above including a discussion on what Sinek calls The Golden Circle illustrated here.
Sinek does a very nice job of framing the differentiation that great, inspiring leaders and organizations bring that distinguishes from the norm … they start with WHY. For Sinek, building strong connectivity to the WHY in each of our lives and for each organization is what enables passion and creates an enduring source of positive energy for all who “get it”. The enriching POWER OF WHY is found when we are able to reach the fresh awareness and understanding the vision and purpose for what we do … as a person, leader or organization.
One of my lifelong passions (that was) passed down from my career Navy, sailboat loving father is serving as captain to a crew of family and friends on 40’+ sailboats in nice places like the Chesapeake Bay or the British Virgin Islands. My father has been gone for more than twenty years but many of the lessons I learned from him on our weekend sailing excursions on the Chesapeake Bay remain. Any good sailor knows that one of the most important features of a sound sailing vessel that is heading into volatile, turbulent conditions … is the keel. The keel provides the counterweight that helps transform the force captured from head winds onto the sail propelling forward motion. The absence of a keel would cause the sailboat to either capsize under heavy conditions or simply wander aimlessly since the navigation depends on the keel. In many ways, having clarity about our core purpose and values (WHY) provides a keel for navigating in a VUCA world.
The WHY in our organization is based on our passion for helping client organizations and leaders adapt and thrive in this VUCA world. The HOW provides our portfolio of products and services based on The Agile Model® designed especially to help leaders and teams become more agile in rigorous, sustainable ways. The WHAT helps create an outcome of our services are leaders and organizations that are competing more successfully in this VUCA world because they are focused, fast and flexible.
Take a few minutes and outline the WHY, HOW and WHAT for you as a person, leader and for your organization … if you have one.