I’ve been thinking about why leaders need to communicate their why and why so many fail to do so.  What it is that ignites passion and high performance in the leaders who I coach and meet at networking events? So many of them have fantastic stories to tell of why the set up their business or their journey to leadership, yet when asked, admit that they have not necessarily shared it with their staff. What an opportunity they are missing to improve employee motivation and also productivity!

Anyone who knows me will not be surprised to hear that I am a big fan of the message of Simon Sinek.

If you haven’t clearly articulated the “why” of your business, people will struggle to be engaged in the “what” their job requires.

In his brilliant 2009 TED Talk and book, Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, he emphasises there has to be a reason—a purpose—for workers to commit and give their best efforts to an organisation:

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. If you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”

Employees who don’t know how their job contributes to the organisation’s purpose—and who cannot clearly articulate this purpose—are unable to give their wholehearted participation. Yet so many of the leaders I meet have not shared their why with their staff!

Igniting passion starts with defining your personal and company purpose: your beliefs, values, passions, principles and connection to the company’s mission.

Purpose isn’t what a group does, but why it does it. Defining your purpose is just the first step. Leaders must share the message and use it to activate people’s emotions and desires.

Purpose and Passion

If having a purpose encourages people to do the right things, then passion motivates them to give an extraordinary performance.

“To put it bluntly, the most important task for any manager today is to create a work environment that inspires exceptional contribution and that merits an outpouring of passion, imagination and initiative.”  Gary Hamel, What Matters Now: How to Win in a World of Relentless Change, Ferocious Competition, and Unstoppable Innovation

Smart leaders infuse passion into their workplaces by hiring for it right from the start. What I find, however, is that few leaders or manager know how to hire for passion. It’s just not something that’s clearly defined or articulated in the workplace, nor in HR processes.

What’s been your experience? Do you have a purpose to your work? One that aligns with the company you work for?

Do you think you’ve shared with your people your why and that of the company?

I’d love to hear what’s happening where you work.

Leave your comments below, I’d love to hear from you.