You’ve probably visited a new church before. And hopefully, you’ve had a great experience doing so: everyone, from the kids check-in volunteers to the person who made the coffee, was welcoming and helpful. The signs were easy to read and placed exactly where you needed them to be. The members were friendly and so happy to meet you. The band sounded like they had rehearsed, and the preacher was enthusiastic and well-spoken. You may have been a visitor, but you didn’t feel out of place at all. You had a great experience because the church’s leaders were careful to make sure that everything was in place for visitors to feel welcomed. This church is constantly meeting new people because they believe that Jesus has welcomed them into his Kingdom, and they want to extend that to the world. This church has a clear and compelling Why, and it affects everything they do.
Why? Not What.
Simon Sinek, author of global bestseller, Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action, spearheads the notion that the why behind your organization is the greatest differentiator among your competitors. This topic hit a collective nerve, as Sinek’s concept of Start With Why became the third most watched talk on Ted.com. In it, Sinek implores, “Every organization on the planet knows what they are doing — 100 percent. Some know how they do it...Very, very few people or organizations know why they do it.”
Take a moment to hear Sinek explain why most organizations start with what, when they should be starting with why.
Have you ever considered the Why of your organization, over the What?
The “What-first approach” determines: Your organization does X (what). You do X by doing it X way (how). This approach is void of why, and in essence, lacks motivating purpose and meaning. For instance, the local elementary school is holding a fundraiser. They’re raising funds by having the kids sell wrapping paper to their parents and grandparents. But Why?
The “Why-first approach” determines: You saw a need in our society (why), and you try to serve that need by doing X (how), so you started a non-profit (what). For example, Habitat for Humanity believes that people should live in safe and affordable houses (why), so they engage volunteers and donors (how) to build great, simple houses (what). Millions of volunteers and donors have gotten on board with their Why. And because the How and What are working too, Habitat for Humanity is thriving.
As Sinek suggests, when you start with Why, your consumers have a reason to be loyal. Far more so than when you simply present your What.
Start with Why
It’s easy to get caught up in the What - the details and programs that keep our organizations running. But as you think through your church or organization’s website, logo, mission statement, and strategy, be sure to take time to think through and start with Why. Using this strategic form of thinking helps you answer the many questions about what you should be saying and doing to reach and engage the people in your community.
Does your organization have a clear WHY? Our consultants can help you think through your mission and vision to create a clear and compelling WHY. Or, for help in the area of Communications & Creative Media, set up an initial meeting with Jon!
Jon brings a wealth of experience in the area of communications and creative media. Over the past 15 years, he has served at 3 of the 20 largest churches in the country overseeing worship, creative, and communications teams. He is the founder and creative lead at Neue, a digital content agency in Philadelphia. He brings experience in communications and creative media assessment, project advising, and staff coaching.