Chris and Fred discuss ‘why’ leadership. Not why leadership is important (we know it is). But the sort of leadership that focuses on the ‘why’ of an organization or group of people. ‘Why’ people who work at these organizations get out of bed in the morning. ‘Why’ customers purchase products or services from an organization. And if we get the ‘why’ right … everything becomes a lot easier. Especially reliability.
Join Chris and Fred as they discuss the ‘why’ of organizations. What that organization does or stand for. What it is
- Why. If you don’t know where you are going, then anywhere you land is fine. Simon Sinek says that “people don’t buy what you make, they buy ‘why’ you do it.” What does success look like? Apple’s ‘why’ is to essentially use computer technology in ways that no one has previously thought of. The Apollo Program’s ‘why’ was to land humankind on the moon. What was the ‘why’ of the Space Shuttle Program? Which program was more successful.
- Value. If the ‘why’ of your organization isn’t valuable, then it is a hobby organization. Which might be OK. But if you want commercial success, then your ‘why’ needs to be valuable to customers and create value for beneficiaries and other stakeholders.
- How. This is how your organization operates. Your operating model. Does it support the ‘why?’ Do you have helpful processes and procedures … or crippling bureaucracy?
- Create. You have the ‘why.’ It is ‘valuable.’ You have worked out ‘how’ you are going to do it. Now your people create something. A service. A product. A system. This is essentially the main effort of your organization. This is the act of people doing stuff.
- What. This is the outcome of your creation effort. And if you have done it right, it is a reflection of the ‘why.’ Which means you will be valuable.
- It goes wrong #1 … when ‘value’ becomes the ‘why.’ Jack Welch said the concept of ‘shareholder value’ … where every decision is based on how it improves things like share price. Which means you stop focusing on the main reason your organization is there and you chase short term money. Like Enron.
- It goes wrong #2 … when the ‘what’ replaces the ‘why.’ Think of BlackBerry. They made smartphones with physical keyboards that made writing emails really easy. And this was what customers wanted. But their tastes changed when more and more functionality with large touch screens. But BlackBerry didn’t change. The phone with a keyboard was the most important thing for them. Which means they no longer exist.
- It goes wrong #3 … when the ‘why’ becomes fuzzy, and the ‘creation’ becomes most important. Which means that people do what they personally value. Which tends to be stuff that people think is cool. Think of the Space Shuttle Program … multiple reviews kept saying things like ‘trying to do too much with too little.’ Again … was the Space Shuttle Program a success?
- It goes wrong #4 … when there is bad leadership. Having a great ‘why,’ ‘vision’ or ‘mission’ is great – but if this isn’t constantly reinforced by leadership then the framework fails.
- And Reliability? If reliability is not part of your organization’s ‘why’ then you are in trouble. So what can you do?
- What is yours and your reliability teams’ ‘why’? If you can’t articulate the ‘why’ of you and your reliability team … then who is at fault? What can you say to your CEO to demonstrate that your team has been successful within your larger organization one, two, five or ten years from now?
Enjoy an episode of Speaking of Reliability. Where you can join friends as they discuss reliability topics. Join us as we discuss topics ranging from design for reliability techniques to field data analysis approaches.