Originally published November 9, 2012 from our Senior Developer, Gavin Williams.
Have you ever had an experience that caused you to question what is really important? An experience that left you with a desire to be a better quality person, and by extension a need to do work that matters, not just collect a paycheck?
Give me a moment to unpack that. “Work that matters” doesn’t have to mean saving lives as an emergency responder or changing lives as a counselor or in a ministry. If you’re a heating and air repairman, when you go out in the middle of the night to help someone whose furnace is out, you’re doing work that matters. It means being able to go to sleep at night feeling fulfilled by the work I do, and wake up the next day eager to return to it.
So, how can this be applied to the work I do for a company that sells and supports Point of Sale systems? There isn’t anything wrong with my work; the projects are certainly challenging, I earn a reasonable living, the people I work with are good and decent. By all common reasoning, I should be satisfied.
But am I inspired? Does my work really matter?question mark rms pos resized 600
In his book ‘Start with Why?’ author Simon Sinek proposes a simple idea.
In any given company or organization, almost everyone knows WHAT it is they do. A lot of those people know HOW they do it. Very few, however, know WHY they do it. WHY doesn’t mean “to make money” but rather, “what is your purpose, cause, or belief. “
WHY does your company exist?
WHY do you get out of bed every morning?
And WHY should anyone care?
“When most organizations or people think, act, or communicate they do so from the outside in, from WHAT to WHY. And for good reason – they go from the clearest thing to the fuzziest thing. We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.”
“But not the inspired companies. Not the inspired leaders. Every single one of them, regardless of their size or their industry, thinks, acts, and communicates from the inside out.”
Mr. Sinek uses an Apple marketing message to illustrate this. Let me try to use RMS in a similar fashion.
An outside-in message from most companies might sound like this:
At RMS, we sell state-of-the-art Pharmacy Point of Sale systems. We do this by using the best available components and hardware, combined with customizable software and interfaces.
Want to buy one? (insert pregnant silence, crickets chirping…)
Now, for a paradigm shift. Let’s reverse the order, start with a WHY, and use our new Mission Statement.
At RMS, in everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. We believe in small business. We do this by working to make our clients the most profitable and customer-centric in the industry, providing them with innovative solutions using the most reliable components and hardware available, easy to use software and interfaces, an honest and professional team with knowledgeable product support and training. We just happen to offer this in the form of state-of-the-art Pharmacy Point of Sale systems.
Want to buy one?
The message contains the same essential information but is completely different. More to the point, it FEELS different.
There’s no tricks, no manipulation.
I would argue that a sales prospect would be much more eager to buy from us after reading the second message, that existing clients would be far more loyal if they heard and saw an authentic WHY in every interaction we have with them.
I think RMS will attract and keep the best and brightest talent available when we communicate from a genuine WHY, from the inside-out, in all areas of our organization.
This is the potential power of WHY; I hope we can all find a way to start everything we do with it.