The timing is perfect….

I have the privilege of teaching doctoral candidates who are leaders in schools and other nonprofit organizations.

Recently I posted an online discussion question asking for reflections on a TED talk by Simon Sinek on the concept of the Why.

Sinek, in his book  “It All Starts with Why ” postulates that leaders and organizations that excel focus first on their Purpose (why ) then their Process (how) and their Product (what).  The Why is our purpose, our passion and what gets us going. Our Emotional Why is not our title or salary, which is the Material Why. The Material Why is important but our Emotional Why is what will keep us going much longer. We see this with multimillion-dollar athletes who quit because “it isn’t fun anymore.”

Timing Is Perfect

The online discussion on this topic was overwhelming. Common posts were “Oh my, the timing of this topic is perfect! We are several weeks into the year, and I think we have lost our purpose. We just muddle through the day.”

Common replies were “The same at my place.”

We had a hot-button topic for class the next session. That discussion was quite animated and led me to remember the same feelings from my years as an administrator. I remembered those days, and I learned to slow down and reflect on my Emotional Why.

I used this discussion to model how leaders lead and learn by asking questions. I asked some tough questions.

  1. Do you slow down and reflect on your Emotional Why, your passion on a regular basis?
  2. Do you systematically review your Why and your goals?
  3. Can those you lead readily see your Emotional Why in your daily actions?
  4. How do you know those you lead can see your Emotional Why in daily activities?
  5. How can you help those you lead to identifying their Emotional Why?

We as leaders must remember that those we lead look at us for direction. We do set the tone.  Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay Cosmetics) often said, “the speed of the leader is the speed of the gang.”

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Do you ask these questions of yourself and in your organization?

Please share any thoughts or comments below in the comment section!
More on working with those you lead on their Why in the next blog post.