Focus on How, Not Why

“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”  ~ Simon Sinek

Simon Sinek was wrong. 

You may be familiar with his 10-year-old TEDxTalk on the Golden Circle, where he encouraged us to start with “why.” Sinek’s talk has become one of the top TEDTalks, with over 47 million views. 

Over the last 10 years, people have struggled to talk about their “why;” their purpose; their vision. Because, as Sinek states, “People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”

People Buy Solutions

Here’s the thing, people rarely buy vision. Instead, they buy solutions. They’re motivated by the WIIFM principle (What’s In It For Me). 

It’s the same for hiring managers. Managers hire because they have a problem, not because they have a vacancy. 

In order to attract the manager’s attention, you need to be seen as the solution to their problem.

By being the solution to the manager’s problem, you appeal to their “why” and make them the hero of whatever challenges they’re faced with.

So, it’s not your why that matters, it’s your boss’s why that matters.

Focus on How

It’s your how that will solve your boss’s / hiring manager’s problem. How is your value proposition–what it is that you do well and how you do it. When you develop SARs–the stories of your accomplishments–how equals the actions you took to successfully address the situation. 

How is your differentiator? It’s why you’re valuable. 

Everyone else focuses on their what–what they do: problem-solving, strategic planning, operations, engineering, accounting, etc. They position themselves as commodities. Commodities are interchangeable. 

By focusing on how you demonstrate value; you’re an asset. You’re providing a roadmap (a solution) to the challenges being confronted. 

Know Your Why, Sell Your How

You should know your purpose, your motivation for doing what you do, but you need to sell how you do it. 

Be sure that your how fits with your boss’s / hiring manager’s why. If you’re really good at collaborating and bringing teams together to tackle a problem, but your boss needs one expert to fix the issue, you’ll be seen as wasting time. 

Make sure your how aligns with your boss’s why.

Can you figure out your how? That one thing you’re really good at? A good way to start is to take the CliftonStrengths assessment (formally called StrengthsFinder). It helps provide a framework for conveying your how

If you need help determining your how–your unique value, let me know, I’ll be glad to talk with you about how best to convey it. 

Because that’s my how.

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If you’re struggling with how to achieve your career goals let’s chat about how I can help. You can use this link to my calendar to schedule the best time to talk.

Image copyright : Olivier Le Moal