How do I develop our “why” we exist as a company?

A brief case

Mohr

Mark Mohr

President and chief executive officer

First Bank Financial Centre

“The idea of discovering ‘why’ a company exists has become popular, thanks to author and speaker Simon Sinek. Sinek argues that people don’t buy what you do, but rather why you do it.

For First Bank Financial Centre, discovering our ‘why’ began with an examination of our mission statement. A well-crafted mission statement brings customers, employees and company leaders together under a succinct statement that defines what a business stands for. In short, it’s why you exist.

“In 2019, we’re celebrating our 160th anniversary, and for generations we’ve offered quality financial products and services. We also donate money to area nonprofits and our employees spend over 15,000 hours a year volunteering. But that’s not why we’re in business; rather, that’s simply what we do.

“The real, and harder, question to answer is why we offer those products and services, and support local organizations. We help people save for future goals, buy homes, and start and grow businesses. We support organizations that have a true impact on the lives of those in the communities we serve.

“Our ‘why,’ and our mission statement, is ‘Make Lives Better.’ These three words declare to our customers and communities why we’re in business, and provide a mandate to our employees to positively impact those around them.”

Gramoll

Kirk Gramoll 

Owner

TeamLogic IT

“As the owner of a new technology firm, developing the ‘why’ our company exists started with crafting a mission statement. While there isn’t necessarily a formal reason for a mission statement, it’s an important exercise that helps employees and key stakeholders to grapple with the ‘big questions’ and crystalize ideas on what really matters. It’s a chance to explore both on-the-ground reasons behind our company’s existence and the higher purpose we hope to imbue. Our mission statement has also become a critical reference point to measure reality against our goals.

“At TeamLogic IT, our mission is to ‘make technology an asset for small and medium-sized businesses by providing solutions for companies to be more efficient, secure and successful.’ By sharing a common purpose between employer, employees and our clients, our work extends beyond punching the clock. Our mission is tied to the success of clients: their wins are our wins; same for their losses.

“Additionally, our core values (concepts like respect, empowerment and a commitment to excellence) were developed during a team meeting that required real, transparent conversations. By creating a dialogue about the ‘why’ behind work, our team can hold the business accountable and, ultimately, work more effectively. A common vision touches on all aspects of business – from recruitment to client relationships to how we define success.”

Bjella

Ross Bjella

Founder and chief executive officer

Alithias Inc.

“Alithias provides patient advocacy services to help employees navigate our complex health care system. We found that the better we understood our customer, the more passionate we became about our ‘why.’

“Early-stage companies often create solutions that address a specific market opportunity. The solution is often more about improving how something is done, such as by developing a new technology or more efficiently providing a service. At Alithias, we initially thought our ‘why’ was simply ‘to create better software.’ But as we observed how customers used the software and asked many, many questions to understand their true needs, our ‘why’ changed dramatically.

“Alithias’ driving mission is to provide our clients an excellent health care benefits experience, from certifying the procedure to ensuring all the accompanying paperwork is processed correctly. Creative software is just one way we do this. Understanding what our customers really wanted allowed us to create additional high-value services, including some that had nothing to do with software.

“Understanding the ‘why’ required a commitment to understand our customers’ deepest needs. The result was a solution much bigger than our initial idea.”

Mohr

Mark Mohr

President and chief executive officer

First Bank Financial Centre

“The idea of discovering ‘why’ a company exists has become popular, thanks to author and speaker Simon Sinek. Sinek argues that people don’t buy what you do, but rather why you do it.

For First Bank Financial Centre, discovering our ‘why’ began with an examination of our mission statement. A well-crafted mission statement brings customers, employees and company leaders together under a succinct statement that defines what a business stands for. In short, it’s why you exist.

“In 2019, we’re celebrating our 160th anniversary, and for generations we’ve offered quality financial products and services. We also donate money to area nonprofits and our employees spend over 15,000 hours a year volunteering. But that’s not why we’re in business; rather, that’s simply what we do.

“The real, and harder, question to answer is why we offer those products and services, and support local organizations. We help people save for future goals, buy homes, and start and grow businesses. We support organizations that have a true impact on the lives of those in the communities we serve.

“Our ‘why,’ and our mission statement, is ‘Make Lives Better.’ These three words declare to our customers and communities why we’re in business, and provide a mandate to our employees to positively impact those around them.”

Gramoll

Kirk Gramoll 

Owner

TeamLogic IT

“As the owner of a new technology firm, developing the ‘why’ our company exists started with crafting a mission statement. While there isn’t necessarily a formal reason for a mission statement, it’s an important exercise that helps employees and key stakeholders to grapple with the ‘big questions’ and crystalize ideas on what really matters. It’s a chance to explore both on-the-ground reasons behind our company’s existence and the higher purpose we hope to imbue. Our mission statement has also become a critical reference point to measure reality against our goals.

“At TeamLogic IT, our mission is to ‘make technology an asset for small and medium-sized businesses by providing solutions for companies to be more efficient, secure and successful.’ By sharing a common purpose between employer, employees and our clients, our work extends beyond punching the clock. Our mission is tied to the success of clients: their wins are our wins; same for their losses.

“Additionally, our core values (concepts like respect, empowerment and a commitment to excellence) were developed during a team meeting that required real, transparent conversations. By creating a dialogue about the ‘why’ behind work, our team can hold the business accountable and, ultimately, work more effectively. A common vision touches on all aspects of business – from recruitment to client relationships to how we define success.”

Bjella

Ross Bjella

Founder and chief executive officer

Alithias Inc.

“Alithias provides patient advocacy services to help employees navigate our complex health care system. We found that the better we understood our customer, the more passionate we became about our ‘why.’

“Early-stage companies often create solutions that address a specific market opportunity. The solution is often more about improving how something is done, such as by developing a new technology or more efficiently providing a service. At Alithias, we initially thought our ‘why’ was simply ‘to create better software.’ But as we observed how customers used the software and asked many, many questions to understand their true needs, our ‘why’ changed dramatically.

“Alithias’ driving mission is to provide our clients an excellent health care benefits experience, from certifying the procedure to ensuring all the accompanying paperwork is processed correctly. Creative software is just one way we do this. Understanding what our customers really wanted allowed us to create additional high-value services, including some that had nothing to do with software.

“Understanding the ‘why’ required a commitment to understand our customers’ deepest needs. The result was a solution much bigger than our initial idea.”

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