What’s your “Why?”
Perhaps Simon Sinek’s concept and book, Start with Why are familiar to you. You’ve got his concept to thank if you’ve been to a conference recently and inevitably heard the speaker deviate from their regularly scheduled talk to show a picture of their kids/dog/family and say, “This is my why…this is why I do what I do.”
Sinek’s theory is most businesses don’t know why they do what they do; they focus on the outcomes. When you start with why, you focus on your purpose, and the what and how radiate out from the core of your “why.”
In theory, I get it. In reality, I find the whole here’s-a-picture-of-my-family cringy and 🙄 inducing. Maybe it’s just me.
I propose a better question: who is it for?
Back in September, I got the news that I needed some follow-up testing for a potential medical issue. Spoiler alert: all is well! The actual spoiler: I found out two weeks ago. Four months of uncertainty, telling myself all was good except at 3:00 AM when I was doomed. Four months of follow-up calls to three sets of doctors. Four months of nonsense, including the old insurance run-around: “We can’t do the procedure there because it’s associated with a hospital group.” I mean, they’re not associated with Jiffy Lube–I would think having a medical procedure associated with a hospital group would be a bonus. 🤔
Then there was that November hurricane that hit Florida, which apparently knocked out the internet and/or image downloading capability at the image center. Three weeks of daily calls getting the, “Press one and someone will call you back” message–they never did. To hit redial, be on hold for 30 minutes, getting through to someone to say, “Let me connect you…we’re still waiting for the images to download, someone will call you back.”
They didn’t. So I kept calling. To find out that the images were finally downloaded…but their MRI machine was now broken “and we don’t know when it will be fixed.” Prompting more calls to my doctor asking for the next insurance option–which at that point might as well have been a Jiffy Lube.
Appointment finally made, there was the quiet, calm fun of getting an MRI, then to be told I’d have the results in two days. Two days come, two days go. The calls to my doctor kick in again, for them to call me back to tell me that they never received the results. More calls. More waiting. More bills. To finally hear the news, “All is good!”
I talked to a lot of people at a lot of different doctor’s offices. I felt bad for the poor woman at the image center. I could only imagine her stress and frustration of having technology that wouldn’t function and then machines that were broken and all of the patients like me calling constantly because we were worried about our health.
For her to think about, “What’s Precision Imaging Center’s ‘why’?” is a complete stretch. That’s the last thing on her mind.
But who is it for? That seems a bit more tangible.
Who is the other person on the line whose voice you now recognize because they call you daily? Who is that person that keeps calling and what are they experiencing? Who are you sending the test for?
Perhaps if the “who” was in the forefront, they might have had the thought, “This person is probably calling because they are worried about the big C. This person just wants to get checked to know all is OK. Therefore, this person doesn’t need to hear one more time our computers aren’t downloading, they need to get in somewhere to get screened. Let me suggest somewhere else.”
Or the folks at the imaging center who forgot to send the results. “That woman was just on an MRI table for 30 minutes. That is not a fun way to spend time. I’m sure she’s concerned. I’m going to make sure I get these results off to her doctor.”
The “who” is more tangible. The “who” could be you. When I think about the “who” behind what I do, I feel much more connected, much more inclined to take action, and much more…purposeful.
Perhaps the “who” is my “why?” Which is a total 🤯.
For now, I’d suggest you switch your “why” question to “who” questions, and notice if you feel a bit more purposeful in what you’re doing.