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What Leaders are Learning

Leaders Know the Why

Leaders Know the Why

Leadership Spokane is committed to the truism that leaders always learn. As we celebrate Mother’s Day, there is one leadership lesson that mothers have mastered…an explanation of the why! Famous leadership guru Simon Sinek had provided a series of lectures including an iconic TED talk where he masterfully describes what really drives organizations and it is not the what and the how but the why. He writes: “Your Why Statement is a sentence that clearly expresses your unique contribution and impact.” When followers understand their why, they are motivated to follow thru and achieve even better results. His best example is the powerful Apple organization who doesn’t just deliver good computers, they deliver an attitude that the world expects. In a Ken Krogue July 2015 Forbes article entitled “Simon Sinek Says ‘Start With Why,’ But Sales Experts Disagree” Sinek paraphrases Apple’s mindset: “Everything we do, we believe in challenging the status quo. We believe in thinking differently. The way we challenge the status quo is by making our products beautifully designed, simple to use, and user friendly. We just happen to make great computers. Want to buy one?” Apple’s stupendous annual sales demonstrate that millions of consumers like challenging the status quo.
There is no one better to explain the why than mothers. Mother’s Day is such an important day because mothers have such a profound impact on each of us. They are the epitome of leadership, defining by how they live countless leadership examples. Truly, mothers demonstrate time management skills daily, help us heal, have empathy, listen and never run out of passion. Mothers lead by example their entire lives. Phaedra Friend in an August 2016 LinkedIn article “7 Ways Being a Mother Made Me a Better Leader” explains: “Every 4-year-old goes through the why phase, and mothers are adept at explaining why kids have to put on their jackets, brush their teeth, be nice, and on and on and on. On a similar page, a big part of being a good leader is understanding your team’s motivations — and that those motivations are as unique as each person on the team. It’s not just about money (although sometimes it is). Truly, a person’s productivity and attitude can change with a personal thank-you note, or a kudos in front of the team. Sometimes motivation is ignited just by putting out a carrot, but everyone has their own unique motivators, and a good manager understands those and uses them to get the orchestra to play a symphony.” The Why always matters…
Every Mother’s Day it is a privilege to write a blog saluting mothers everywhere. Mothers are the bookends for leadership theory. They establish trust which is the baseline for any leader-follower relationship and they know how to answer the tough why question. Mothers are teachers. Henry Ward Beecher rightly said: “The mother’s heart is the child’s schoolroom.” Mothers are leaders too because they are always the best ones to answer the toughest question of all – the “Why?”

My mom taught me that the world is an abundant place and that each of us can manifest the abundance we need. ~Kate Northrup