Imagine this exchange: ”What would you like to drink?” ”I’ll have a Diet Coke.” ”We have Diet Pepsi.” ”Then I’ll just have an unsweetened iced tea.” I’ve heard it, or something like it, and I’ll bet you have too. What just happened? Why would someone get so hung up on a brand?
What about computers? Some people are just Mac people while others are PC. Same thing with phones – its either a Blackberry/Droid/Other or its an iPhone. Yankees or Red Sox.
There are lots of possible explanations, like taste preference, where you grew up, what your parents liked. But the big explanation is that you celebrate the specific brand. You might even be a champion of that brand, defending it to the world. You tell your friends and show off your brand through referrals or even through promotion.
And why? Because people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
Why has everyone gobbled up iPads, iPhones and iMacs? Because instead of Apple telling us what they made and how good and beautiful it is, they first tell us that WHY they make products (to challenge the status quo and invite innovation). And that WHY statement speaks directly to the limbic structure of the brain that controls emotion and behavior – the keys to decision making.
Great leaders are the same. They inspire us with the WHY statements, not the statements of plan or promise of results. Great leaders tell us the WHY and we follow, inspired and help supply the HOW and the WHAT. A great leader will be successful if he/she is surrounded by those who believe what he/she believes and can become inspired by that WHY statement.
So, next time, instead of answering the question of WHAT are we going to do, try posing the question of WHY are we going to do it. You might be surprised at the reaction from your team.