Many of us begin the New Year with a list of “resolutions” – a list of “what” we are going to do differently this year. Within a few months, or weeks, or even days, we have broken many of those resolutions. I wonder if the reason is that we began with the wrong question.
Perhaps the question we should start with – before listing any “whats” – is WHY?
Why am I here on this planet?
Why did I choose to serve on this board?
Why do I have the position I have in this organization?
By these “whys” I am not referring to “how did I arrive at where I am?” but rather “for what purpose am I where I am?”
If you serve on a board, support a board, or work in an organization at any level, the first question which needs an answer is “Why is this organization here? What purpose does it serve? What difference is it supposed to make in the world?”
If you are a board member, answering this question is the most important thing your board can do. Before your administrative team and indeed all employees and volunteers can figure out what to do, they need to know WHY. If your board can clearly spell out the “why” – the purpose – what benefits should be produced by your organization’s efforts, who those benefits are for, and what it’s worth to produce them – you will have taken the biggest step you can to inspire results. Your organization’s employees have the knowledge and skill to figure out the how and the what. They need the board to be crystal clear about the WHY. Only then do they have a marker against which to assess whether this year they are fulfilling that “why” better than the year before. As Simon Sinek has pointed out in his book, Start With Why, a well-stated “why” is a continuing source of inspiration
Resolve this year to inspire your organization by being clear about your WHY.