Start with Why

Have you seen the viral TEDx talk from Simon Sinek titled, “Start With Why”? If it’s been a minute, you can check it out here.

Recently, I was talking with the customer service manager of a leading manufacturer of window glass and doors and we were discussing the “big picture” as it related to his automated order management project with Esker. But more on that later …

I once heard an analogy of Sinek’s talk which stated,

  • People buy millions of drill bits every year not because they want drill bits (the WHAT they need) …
  • But because they want holes (the HOW they’re going to do it) …
  • And they want those holes so they can hang a nice painting over the mantle and check off that “honey-do” list. (the WHY they’re doing something)

When we get into the day-to-day trenches of real life, it’s easy to get tunnel vision and focus on the next task ahead. In many scenarios, this is great! But when considering something like process change within an organization, it’s helpful to keep the focus on the big picture, especially when new technology is involved.

For example, take a solution like order management automation. At its surface, it might seem like an isolated solution for a local problem. However, projects that come to fruition always keep their WHY at the forefront of any conversations with others internally.

Which brings me back to my window glass and door friends: What was their WHY, you ask? When the manager took his action plan back to the organization, he lead with WHY this project was a priority, which broke down like this:

  • WHY: We know we’re growing rapidly and plan to double revenues by 2020. Doubling the team size to scale with increased order volumes and inquiries is not an option.
  • HOW: Therefore, we need to look at how we can make our existing team more efficient. We can do this by using automated technology to perform the low-value repetitive tasks that currently takes up 40-60% of their day.
  • WHAT: We need to eliminate manual order entry. Is there something that can do this? Enter Esker.

As their initiative moved forward, every normal project activity one would expect was still carried out. The only difference? The WHY was kept at the forefront of every conversation.

Do you know your WHY on any current projects?

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