Here is a short clip of Simon Sinek, talking about what makes teams high performing via a Navy SEALs analogy.
I’m still thinking about it because the team I was working with last week really impressed me with how strongly united it was around a shared WHY. And it was inspiring to see how that helped them problem-solve from a different perspective.
Ask yourself, how connected do you feel to WHY you do the work you do, even when it feels hard, and obstacles get in the way?
Do you feel like:
- You’re clear on why your organisation’s work matters
- There’s a beacon that guides you and gives you energy when things get tough
- Some of your human need to be part of something bigger than yourself is met by the work you do?
I hope you do, if not every day, then at least most of the time.
Knowing the WHY of our work and feeling aligned with it is crucial. It drives us to do better work. It makes us come up with better solutions. It helps us get back up after failure.
The real question I want to ask you though is…does your team feel the same connection with the organisation’s WHY?
Do they understand how their work matters in relation to the WHY?
A recent Gallup poll found that the highest quit rate is among workers who aren’t engaged or who are actively disengaged. In other words, people who aren’t connected to WHY your organisation exists.
And not engaging our teams is expensive. The poll found that low engagement teams typically have turnover rates 18% to 43% higher than highly engaged teams.
The poll also found that pay is not the great motivator many believe it to be. Engaged employees need, on average, a salary bump of 20% to be tempted to leave. But if they’re not engaged? If they aren’t connected to the why? No financial incentive is required. They’re willing to leave your organisation for $0 extra.
We live in a time when everyone is re-thinking their relationship with work. There are several new things on our wishlists. Things like increased flexibility, working exclusively from home, wellbeing initiatives, parking availability at work, less travel, more team gatherings etc.
And I know that, as a leader, sometimes it feels like you can’t meet everyone’s needs.
But one thing you can do as a leader, is ensure that everyone understands your why, is encouraged to think about why they are there and can connect their motivations to the organisation’s why.
(Easier said than done, particularly when you might be in the middle of a very challenging team time.)
There is no quick fix for it. But we know that people who are engaged with their work are happier, more resilient and better performers so it is definitely worth establishing what we can do to help them get there.