Operationalizing Your “Why”

Dr. Joseph A DeFeo Blog Leave a Comment

As we mentioned in a previous post, your “why” is something you believe in that motivates you to do what you do everyday. There are leaders that live by their why and others that live by their “what”. The ones focused on their “why” are the ones that make significant changes to the world.

There are three components to operationalize your “why”. Without these components it becomes difficult to make your, “why” tangible and real.

1. Charisma

The definition of charisma is “compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others”. There are leaders in every organization, but there are few leaders who truly succeed and change the world. Those great leaders have one thing in common, charisma. Charisma is difficult to create and communicate; people misinterpret it for “energy.” People think that being loud, confident, and taking charge will empower their employees to achieve greatness. Leaders who exhibit these behaviors lead by extrinsic motivators, if you do x you will get y. Energetic leaders motivate and excite their employees by the “what” and tend to only achieve short-term gains. Leaders who exhibit charismatic behaviors lead with intrinsic motivation, and believe in a higher purpose than themselves. Charismatic leaders focus on the “why” and find people who believe in what they believe in and tend to have long-term gains.


2. Clarity

Clarity of purpose is crucial because if you do not have a clearly defined purpose, people cannot relate to why they are working and two things will happen; one they will leave, or two they will stay and become very individualistic. Organizations who suffer from a lack of purpose, suffer from misdirection, lack of alignment, and inefficiencies. A leader needs to have “absolute conviction” in their purpose as it is bigger than oneself and is more than achieving profits. A leader needs to find the right people who are drawn to their purpose and want to help bring it to life. These people become “how” types, they know how to create support structures and processes to make a “why” real and tangible. The “hows” empower their people and allow them to make their own decisions.

Is it the talent you employ or the processes that are in place that make your organization work well (or not so well)? Join us later this month for a live webinar presented by Dr. Joseph A. DeFeo on February 22nd.

3. Champions

Champions are people who represent the “why” but are those “how” types. The difference between a “why” type and a “how” type is the why’s are always looking to the future and the how’s are in the present and make things real. Champions are ones who create trusting environments that allow others to succeed and are the voice of the “why”. Champions are leaders who emulate how to operate in an organization. For a “why” type or a leader to achieve their why they need champions to help make their ideas a reality.

Many people may misinterpret or disagree that these are the components to operationalize a “why” or implement a vision. They may think that energy, strong strategic plans, and the best of the best is what makes an organization successful. While this may be true for short term success, it does not allow for long term success. The energy will fizzle out, those plans will change, and your people will continue to move onto better things. To achieve long term success and inspire people find people who believe what you believe in and start something great.


For more information on operationalizing your why and how Juran can help you leverage it to improve your quality and productivity, please get in touch with the team.


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