A company is a culture. A group of people brought together around a common set of values and beliefs. It’s not products or services that bind the company together. It’s not size and might that make the company strong, it’s the culture – the strong sense of beliefs and values that everyone, from the CEO to the receptionist, all share. So the logic follows, the goal is not to hire people who simply have a skill set you need, the goal is to hire people who believe what you believe.
Simon Sinek in his book Start with WHY says I love asking companies “who they like to hire,” and one of the most common answers I am given is, “We hire only passionate people.” But how do you know if someone is passionate about interviewing, but not so passionate for working? The truth is, almost every person on the planet is passionate, we are just not all passionate for the same things. Starting with WHY when hiring dramatically increases your ability to attract those who are passionate for what you believe. Simply hiring people with a solid resume or great work ethic does not guarantee success. The goal is to hire those who are passionate for your WHY, your purpose, cause or belief, and who have the attitude that fits your culture. Once that is established, only then should their skill set and experience be evaluated.
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. Unless you give motivated people something to believe In, something bigger than their job to work towards, they will motivate themselves to find a new job and you’ll be stuck with whoever is left.
People want to belong, to go to work to be a part of something bigger than the job their doing. Just like building a cathedral, the stonemason does not see himself as any more or less important than the guy making the stained glass windows or even the architect. They are all working together to build a cathedral. It is this bond that creates camaraderie. And the camaraderie and trust are what brings success. People working for a common cause.
Companies with a strong sense of WHY are able to inspire their employees. Those employees are more productive and innovative, and the feeling they bring to work attracts other people eager to work there as well. It’s not such a stretch to see why the company we love to do business with are also the best employers. When people inside the company know why they come to work, people outside the company are vastly more likely to understand why the company is special In these organizations, from the management on down, no one sees themselves as any more or less than anyone else they all need each other.
The role of a leader is not to come up with all the great ideas. The role of a leader is to create an environment in which great ideas can happen. It is the people inside the company, those on the front lines, who are best qualified to find new ways of doing things. The people who answer the phones and talk to customers, for example, can tell you more about the kinds of questions they get than anyone sitting in an executive office on the top floor. If the people inside a company are told to come to work and just do their job, that’s all they will do. If they are constantly reminded WHY the company was founded and told to always look for ways to bring that cause to life while performing their job, however, then they will do more than their job.