If you read the title of this out to a colleague, you have probably confused them since success is normally spelt with an ‘s’ first.
However, this is one of simplest, yet most powerful truths in the world…everything great starts with a ‘why’.
Great organisations like The Scouts, the National Trust, the NHS and many more, all started with someone or a group of people setting out to achieve a common purpose or, in other words, a ‘why’.
This common purpose is sometimes confused with the word vision, but actually it is a step beyond it. A vision means that you have defined some of the elements that help you get there (i.e. some of the ‘what’ and some of the ‘how’). A ‘why’ or common purpose states the intent and it is only this intent that allows great things to happen.
Great businesses like Apple, Disney, Dyson and John Lewis all have this sense of common purpose running through their organisation. Their vision has changed many times along their extraordinary journeys, as have their goals, strategies and plans, but their ‘whys’ have not.
Business, like life, is not a simple journey, so you need an overriding “why” to guide you along the way if you are going to do the extraordinary and persist, adapt and flourish.
When we run The Leadership Team (next one starts on 11th February – 20% off until 11th November) and The Effective Manager (next one starts on 5th November), we always get leaders and managers to double check with themselves that this common purpose is in place before going any further. When it is not (and it often isn’t), we, unsurprisingly, see massive transformations in organisations as the ‘why’ emerges.
Success has always, does now and always will start with a ‘why’.