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Finding the "Why" in What You're Doing

WRITTEN BY TREVOR THRONESS

Staff at 3% Realty proudly highlight their sponsored children in Guatemala and their corporate partnership with the community of Acul.
They've found the "why"!

A few months ago I was in a strategy meeting with the executive team of a larger company. The company was doing very well, and one of the items on their agenda to discuss was ‘giving back.’

Various ideas were halfheartedly batted back and forth, but there didn’t seem to be a lot of interest. After a few attempts to prime the pump (seeing them give back interests me), I tabled the issue and moved on.  

Hardly any time had passed before the board chairman, who had been quiet through the ‘give back’ discussion, interrupted the group by saying, “Years ago, I took a group of young guys from one of my companies on a missions trip to help people in the developing world. I told them I’d pay their way and their salaries if they would come on the trip. One of my crews came along – these were hard-working, hard-living guys – and built a house for a poor family. They were so impacted by the relationships they built there that each of them came to me separately, refusing the wages, and asking that the money instead be donated to the community we worked in. The experience changed them, and changed us as a team. So, we need to go back to the ‘giving back’ issue and put it first on the agenda, not last.”

And so we did.

In the runaway bestseller “Start With Why,” Simon Sinek tells us that employees first need a compelling ‘why’ before they fully engage at work. Ideally, the why is something that is bigger than the employee.  

What’s your company’s ‘why’? Is it only re-stocking auto parts, or manning an inside sales desk?  

If so, you might consider a corporate sponsorship where your company partners with a community to help lift that community out of material poverty. If you do, you’ll find the same thing will happen in your company that happens to all givers. You start with the assumption that you’re helping the community, and you end with the realization that most of the benefit is rebounding back to you and your team.  

Your staff will see how others live, and lose a sense of entitlement. They’ll count their blessings rather than their problems. They’ll connect the dots between their inside sales job and helping their community. In short, they will gain a sense of purpose. They will find the ‘why.’

Employees spend more time with you at work than they do with their spouses and families at home. Are you doing all you can to engage them in something bigger?

“In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 NIV)


About Trevor Throness:  Since 1998, Trevor has been a coach to companies in growth. Trained in multiple systems (see the long list on his website!), Trevor still believes that every company is unique and that every solution and tool needs be customized to fit individual situations. A true book lover, Trevor reads over 40 books a year and still makes time to connect with wife of 23 years and his four teenage children. He also enjoys playing guitar and listening to music, but is still recovering from G.A.S (guitar acquisition syndrome).

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Food for the Hungry: Finding the "Why" in What You're Doing
Finding the "Why" in What You're Doing
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Food for the Hungry
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