WHY: The World’s Simplest Idea

The inspiration for writing this article came from my experience immediately after presenting at Microsoft’s Worldwide Partner Conference in Toronto, 11-14 July 2016. One of my SAM peers – who was in the audience at the time – came up to me afterwards and thanked me for inspiring him to change his business messaging.

He did this because my presentation asked one question of the audience: Do you know why you do what you do? The answer should never be to make more money. If that is why you are in business, then your business is not sustainable – you must shift. When you know your why, making money becomes an easy by-product.

Most people or organisations focus on what they do but never why they do it – “I work in ITAM, I’m a consultant, I help organisations optimise their IT spend etc.” These are all WHAT statements. They may be descriptive, but they don’t really tell you anything beyond a job role. They don’t say anything about what drives you.

Simon Sinek, author of the bestseller “Start with Why,” flips our traditional method of marketing on its head. According to Sinek, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

Sinek’s famous Golden Circle diagram (read more here: https://gumroad.com/l/GoldenCircle) explains that traditional marketing starts from the outside with What you do, then moves to How you do it. Only then does it move to the middle to state Why you do it (although many businesses stop at How). This outside-in approach is wrong.

Why is the world’s simplest idea.
“Why” has inspired leaders and organisations to communicate from the INSIDE out. This approach links directly to how our brain works. The most successful people in the world are those with the clearest WHY – they have a purpose (and it’s not profit), they believe in what they do (why anyone should care) and they have a cause.

From the Why comes the How and What.
To be successful you must know your purpose. When you are fuelled with purpose you don’t chase success, it pulls you. You must believe in the value you bring. You must sell to people who believe what you believe, not to people who simply need what you have. Look at value from a position of what problem you are solving. What are you bringing to the table? True consultants put in black and white what the business or customers pain is. No pain … No Buy-in and for consultants, No Purchase Order.

At Software Optimisation Services (SOS) we believe that ITAM is one of the most powerful disciplines in our industry. We live and breathe our brand. We want everyone to benefit from ITAM. We experience the extraordinary savings to companies when it is done well. Few organisations make it a priority, even after a sizeable, unbudgeted audit settlement. It is our mission to be the change and show organisations why ITAM is crucial to the business.

We have an insatiable belief in the value of the work we do, to be the experts in a niche discipline that few globally recognise and are able to do well. Before we hire the first question we ask is “Why.”

We have our purpose to make a difference, and not surprisingly the clients, partners and vendors we attract believe in the value of ITAM too. The question is, do you know your Why?

About Filipa Preston

Filipa Preston is CEO and founder of Software Optimisation Services.