How Your WHY Drives Your HOW

Do you think of our your life as having a purpose? Can you reason that you are here to contribute something for others to consume?

Over the last few years, I have come to the conclusion that my WHY is really quite simple. In fact, it is so simple it can be fully described in five words.

I create and consume experiences.

That is it.

It's a simple way to think about your activities. I often stop myself and think, “Am I creating or consuming?” Most times, I think what I am doing is right. But sometimes I shift my behavior from one to the other.

This article is focused more on my approach in the corporate world. That is where I found my WHY. Once defined, your WHY drives your HOW.

You may be familiar with the concept of your WHY and if you are not, think of it as your life's purpose. To me, your WHY is not a response to an issue or event that happens. Some may feel that their WHY is to be a parent, cancer survivor or a teacher. Those are perfectly good descriptions of what your WHY might be.

I chose to move the definition up a level and to define my WHY as something a little more cerebral. By defining my WHY as creating or consuming experiences I can also be a parent, cancer survivor or a teacher, as well. It's just another level of how you might think about your life.

The fact that I found my WHY at work is something that is of interest to me. I believe I found it there because it is at work where I feel the most freedom.

I have never been comfortable following strict rules or guidelines although I have worked at two major commercial banks and a large insurance company. These are not necessarily the places that you might believe spawn freedom and creativity. The companies where I have had the most success gave me a long leash to operate from. The longer the better. It is not coincidental that these companies derived a lot of value from my activities. I understand (at a high level) what I have to do and off I go to figure out how I am going to achieve the results?

The tactical activities I perform become how I achieve some of the results my units are responsible for. However, how these are performed is guided by one key principal. As the leader, I first must provide a worthwhile experience for my teams to consume so they can perform the work effectively. I like to have a long leash so I provide the same for my team. I like to be comfortable at work so I dress down every day except when I see clients. I am a freak for music so I play it in my office all day. I don't count sick days, vacation days or when people arrive or leave work. Managers who do that are nothing more than supervisors. I don't use quotas but rather have realistic goals people can achieve. If they miss them, we sit and figure out why. Quotas are a threat for firing and are not motivational. Instead, they strike fear and distance between leaders and those who follow them.

I try to create a culture people want to be in and consume.

In return, I listen to my team and what they are experiencing. I will defend my staff at all costs. I will sacrifice my own job to defend theirs. All I expect in return is that they are truthful with me. I go to great lengths hiring the right people and expect and give trust. Mutual trust is the golden rule for me.

I have delivered record sales years many times during my career. I have delivered in high growth, turnaround and mature environments. In addition, I have helped take companies from the bottom to the top of the S Curve. I was a key player in a start up that was sold eight years later for more than $300 million. I have had staff follow me from company to company to company.

My WHY was the key in HOW I did it. Find yours and watch the results come in.

My best, Chris

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