I’ve been working my way through Find Your Why, the 2017 follow-up to Simon Sinek’s groundbreaking Start with Why. Written by Sinek along with colleagues Peter Docker and David Mead, Find Your Why is a hands-on, step-by-step guide to help you find your WHY.
While the concept of the powerful advantage held by individuals, companies and organizations who understand their why was clear (think Apple, Southwest Airlines, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.), Start with Why left off precisely at the point of explaining how to discover what your why actually is.
Find Your Why: A Practical Guide for Discovering Purpose for You and Your Team is very much what it says it is. A very practical guide to implementing the powerful ideas originally shared in Sinek’s 2009 TED talk and then published in Start with Why.
After an introduction that sets up the premise for the book and an opening chapter that functions as a primer to remind and bring up to speed on the ideas of Start with Why, the authors begin the step-by-step tutorial on discovering your why, first as an individual and then (if needed) as a tribe (“any group of people who come together around a common set of values and beliefs”).
The tutorial is quite robust. A key component in the discovery of a personal why is the participation of the right partner who is innately curious, can actively listen, ask the right kind of questions, probing for hidden themes that reveal a personal why. Once discovered, Find Your Why includes a rich set of resources to guide the partner in their role.
Even more helpful are the exercises and processes that help prepare for and implement a why discovery workshop for a tribe. In the same way there are resources to help the partner prepare to help an individual discover their why, there is plenty of help in chapter 5 and in the appendix to equip a facilitator for the workshop.
Another very important chapter details developing the how statements that, along with a compelling why, are the recipe for success. I found it helpful to think about how statements as similar to what most organizations describe as the behaviors generated by values. When values are authentic (not aspirational), they act as a kind of filter that determine the behaviors associated with how we do what we do. This chapter is packed with ideas for uncovering the hows of your tribe and examples of organizations that have stated their why and hows.
Chapter 7 is all about taking a stand to live out your why and hows. While it is a labor of love to discover your why and hows, it is a daily process to live it out. There is ample instruction here to help tribes state their why and hows in a way that declares progress with the rest of an organization. At the same time, the authors are clear that discovering them and stating them are the beginning of a daily journey.
I picked up Find Your Why because I believe it plays a role in the preferred future conversation. Without an understanding of why you do what you do, and how you intend to do it…how can you actually arrive at the preferred future?
Find Your Why is an essential addition to the toolbox. I highly recommend it.