Do we focus on the customer too much? Most of us would disagree and say no that we should focus on the customer more. However, recently we have seen a tremendous amount of books written on organizational clarity. One of the reasons is that without understanding our purpose as an organization or as an employee of organization we limit our effectiveness. Dating myself, you go back to the 80’s where a tremendous amount of work was done on corporate vision and mission statements.
In a recent interview, Handling Impossible Projects, I asked author Michael Dobson, “When we think of a crisis like that, how much project planning goes into a crisis, such as Tylenol. Were they just winging it in that instance?”
Michael: Well, the part of the background of the Tylenol situation was that a lot of the executives of Johnson and Johnson had just gone through training or some workshop about corporate ethics. Their vision and mission statements and all these good management practices and they really only had one question to ask themselves. Did we mean all this stuff that we were saying? Once they said “Yes, we did mean it,” then they had a basis to go on.
This demonstrates how this understanding will guide is organizational decision making. Simon Sinek message of starting with Why, (Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action)) embodies this message. Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” He then draws another circle with “How” and another with “What”. It is powerful message and one of best Ted videos of all time. Not to downplay the effectiveness of the message but it is a very clever packaging of the old mission and value statements created in the 1980s.
How do we convert to a powerful Why statement?
Whether you call it Why or Vision, there is not anything else that maybe more instrumental to your success. Do you believe your organization has a heart? Does that mission pulsate throughout the entire organization? It’s not an iterative process. It is not anything that is cloudy or mysterious to your organization. It is Why you get up in the morning and go to work. With Vision, With Why, a unifying theme of purpose exists. All of your objectives, all the measures, all the targets, etc. become aligned.
I believe the simplest method of crafting our Why is through the use of an Organizational Persona Map. We use build personas to understand and empathize with customers but do we have one to understand our own organization? Can we easily identify what is the personality of our organization? As Sinek says, we know what we do and how we do it but do we know why? A humble attempt at creating an Organizational Persona Map: