The corporate world: lessons learned

Leadership requires people to stick with you through thick and thin.

Leadership is the ability to rally people not for a single event,but for year. In business,leadership means that customers will continue to support your company even when you slip up.

Great leaders, in contrast, are able to inspire people to act. Those who are able to inspire give people a sense of purpose or belonging that has little to do with any external incentive or benefit to be gained.

After September 11, there were customers who sent cheques to Southwest Airlines to show their support. One note that accompanied a cheque for $1,000 read, “You’ve been so good to me over the years, in these hard times I wanted to say thank you by helping you out.”

WHY: Very few people or companies can clearly articulate WHY they do WHAT they do. When I say WHY, I don’t mean to make money—that’s a result. By WHY I mean what is your purpose, cause or belief? WHY does your company exist? WHY do you get out of bed every morning?

We say WHAT we do, we sometimes say HOW we do it, but we rarely say WHY we do WHAT we do.

It’s worth repeating: people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.

Companies try to sell us WHAT they do, but we buy WHY they do it.

Their products, unto themselves, are not the reason Apple is perceived as superior; their products, WHAT Apple makes, serve as the tangible proof of what they believe. It is that clear correlation between WHAT they do and WHY they do it that makes Apple stand out.

Knowing your WHY is not the only way to be successful, but it is the only way to maintain a lasting success and have a greater blend of innovation and flexibility. When a WHY goes fuzzy, it becomes much more difficult to maintain the growth, loyalty and inspiration.

In all cases, going back to the original purpose, cause or belief will help these industries adapt. Instead of asking, “WHAT should we do to compete?” the questions must be asked, “WHY did we start doing WHAT we’re doing in the first place"

Great #leaders are those who trust their gut. They are those who understand the art before the science. They win hearts before minds. They are the ones who start with WHY.

It all starts with clarity. You have to know WHY you do WHAT you do. If people don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it, so it follows that if you don’t know WHY you do WHAT you do, how will anyone else?

For values or guiding principles to be truly effective they have to be verbs. It’s not “integrity,” it’s “always do the right thing.” It’s not “innovation,” it’s “look at the problem from a different angle.” Articulating our values as verbs gives us a clear idea...

Ask the most successful entrepreneurs and leaders what their secret is and invariably they all say the same thing: “I trust my gut.”

The goal of business should not be to do business with anyone who simply wants what you have. It should be to focus on the people who believe what you believe. When we are selective about doing business only with those who believe in our WHY, trust emerges.

Leading is not the same as being the leader. Being the leader means you hold the highest rank, either by earning it. Leading, however, means that others willingly follow you—not because they have to, not because they are paid to, but because they want to.

It’s not products or services that bind a company together.It’s not size and might that make a company strong, it’s the culture-the strong sense of beliefs and values that everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, all share.

Great companies don’t hire skilled people and motivate them, they hire already motivated people and inspire them. People are either motivated or they are not.

Great organizations become great because the people inside the organization feel protected.The strong sense of culture creates a sense of belonging and acts like a net.People come to work knowing that their bosses,colleague and the organization as a whole will look out for them.

WHY-types are focused on the things most people can’t see, like the future. HOW-types are focused on things most people can see and tend to be better at building structures and processes and getting things done.

Although so many of them fancy themselves visionaries, in reality most successful entrepreneurs are HOW-types. Ask an entrepreneur what they love about being an entrepreneur and most will tell you they love to build things.

The best chief executives are WHY-types— who lead a cause and not just run a company.The best chief financial officers and chief operating officers are high-performing HOW-types, those with the strength to admit they are not visionaries themselves but are inspired by the vision.

Employees come first and if employees are treated right, they treat the outside world right, the outside world uses the company’s product again, and that makes the shareholders happy. That really is the way that it works and it’s not a conundrum at all.

Great organizations don’t just drive profits, they lead people, and they change the course of industries and sometimes our lives in the process.

But if a company tries too many times to “seize market opportunities” inconsistent with their WHY over time, their WHY will go fuzzy and their ability to inspire and command loyalty will.

People don’t buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it, and Apple says and does only the things they believe. If WHAT you do doesn’t prove what you believe, then no one will know what your WHY is and you’ll be forced to compete on price, service, quality, features and benefits.

Those with an ability to never lose sight of WHY,no matter how little or how much they achieve, can inspire us.Those with the ability to never lose sight of WHY and also achieve the milestones that keep everyone focused in the right direction are the great leaders.

If we can’t easily assess a company’s WHY simply from looking at their products,services,marketing and public statements, then odds are high that they don’t know what it is either. If they did, so would we.

Sinegal trusts his gut more than he trusts Wall Street analysts. “Wall Street is in the business of making money between now and next Tuesday,” he said.. “We’re in the business of building an organization, an institution that we hope will be here fifty years from now.”

The Law of Diffusion says that only 2.5 percent of the population has an innovator mentality—they are a group of people willing to trust their intuition and take greater risks than others. Most people don’t want to challenge the status quo.

When you compete against everyone else, no one wants to help you. But when you compete against yourself, everyone wants to help you.

No wonder Walmart has lost its WHY on the basis of which Sam ran this great organisation that it was.

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