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Hybrid working: planning for the future
Hybrid working: planning for the future

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3 Identifying and understanding your 'why'

In the last activity we asked you to think about Why a problem may need solving. It may seem obvious, but how often have you asked ‘why’ are you doing something? Most initiatives fail or do not deliver the expected outcomes because there was not the appropriate level of understanding of why something needs to be done, and how that ‘why’ relates to the purpose (strategy) of your organisation. It is the purpose of an organisation that should inspire those within it to work collectively to ensure that the organisation succeeds.

If a strategy is developed to move an organisation from the current state to some envisioned future state, where a problem is solved, an opportunity is exploited and/or a benefit is realised, then it is extremely important to understand what that future state looks like and why we need to get there.

Simon Sinek (2011) an author and inspirational speaker, calls this the ‘Why’ and puts this at the centre of his ‘Golden Circle’ as shown in the figure below. His belief is that most people will know the ‘How’ and ‘What’ an organisation does, but not necessary the ‘Why’. The ‘Why’ for organisations is often encapsulated in their mission statement. The vision statement reflects the ‘What’, and the values and objectives statements describe the ‘How’.

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Figure 11 Simon Sinek’s (2011) ‘Golden Circle’

Sinek suggests that when thinking about developing a strategy and a plan, not just at an organisational level, but also when working on problems and initiatives, this is where we should start because without knowing why we do something (our higher purpose) we will find it extremely difficult to attract the right people that believe in what we do, and who will work hard together towards achieving it.

‘The goal’ Sinek says, ‘is to do business with everybody who needs what you have, the goal is to do business with people who believe what you believe’ (Sinek, 2011).

Activity 9 Start with Why

Timing: 30 minutes

Watch ‘Start with Why’, the TED Talk by Simon Sinek in which he introduces the golden circle and the concept of ‘Why’. As you watch think about the ‘Why’, ‘How’ and ‘What’, and how can you use this approach to help to establish your ‘Why’ for futures planning?

Make notes in the box below in order to refer back to these for later activities in the course or you may wish to draw your own Golden Circle.

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Video 5 Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Action

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2. Look at the following links to see examples of how the Golden Circle has been used.

In the next section we consider establishing your ‘Why’ further.