3 Reasons to Start with "Why"


If you want to motivate or inspire people to get behind your project or new initiative, you must start by casting a compelling vision.

Need is everywhere.

No matter where you look, whether in your business, community, church or home, you will find something or someone demanding attention. With the overwhelming amount of need around us, we tend to become desensitized to it and only engage in things that compel us. People are typically not motivated to support or give to a need, but they are motivated to give to a vision.

If you want to motivate or inspire people to get behind your project or new initiative, you must start by casting a compelling vision. For business owners or people in leadership positions, getting crystal clear on the reasons behind what you are doing is the key to seeing a successful completion of your efforts. It may be launching a new business, a company trying to expand its operations or building support for a charity event. Regardless of how powerful or impactful the goals or objectives might be, they may never be realized if the vision is not cast correctly.

When casting vision, it is critical to ask the question, “Why?” Why are we doing this? What are the real goals and objectives?

I have witnessed business owners working themselves to death trying to expand their business, but often when asked why, or to share the endgame objective, it is hard for them to find an answer. If a business is going to spend money renovating a lobby space – why? Does this increase revenue, build your brand or expose your business to new potential customers?

Here are three reasons to start with why when casting vision.

Gain support

First, it informs those who are not aware of the need. Maybe an owner of a company has been asked for additional staff, but he decides that instead, capital should be put into new equipment. To get buy-in, the owner must cast the vision of what that equipment will do for the organization over the next few years.

Will it increase profit because of better productivity or enable diversification into other market segments that will result in better long-term stability for the organization? It is difficult for everyone in an organization to have a fully informed perspective on every aspect of an organization’s inner workings, but casting a vision helps gain buy-in.

Inspire the team

Second, you need to inspire people to rally behind the project. In larger businesses, you need your leadership team to be on board so that they can help sell the vision to the rest of the company. With clarity on the why behind your project, you will inspire and excite your people as they envision how much better the future will be when your project or mission is completed.

Disarm the critics

Third, giving your team an answer to the why behind the project disarms the critics. If you are a business owner, you always need to find a politically correct way to disarm the critics, right? Leadership of any type will always be heavily criticized by people inside the organization and certainly from those outside who have even less information. However, when reasons for criticism are legitimately removed and the critic is informed, that criticism loses credibility. Business leaders have a different vantage point and more data behind their decisions. Share that information with the stakeholders and help them visualize what you see. When implementing changes or trying something new, chances are you’ll need the support of others. A compelling “why” becomes the true north for your business compass and guides your decisions and actions.

Donnie Brawner, Partner Colligo Holdings
CEO/Owner, Paragon 360 & Paragon Fabrication

Originally Featured in Springfield Business Journal: 3 Reasons to Start with "Why"