Know your WHY
Coaches and consultants can all agree, asking WHY throughout their process is critical in understanding the root of problems and decision making. The most important why to answer is why do you do, what you do? The answer to this complex question is a compass to all other decision making, and the layers of answering this question takes us on a scenic journey of our past experiences challenging our belief system. To take you through the steps of this process, we'll use Behind the Design as the example company.
Behind the Design was founded on 3 core values: Engage, Educate, Evolve with a mission to uplift and rejuvenate the design industry by creating custom training & operational systems for design companies to INSPIRE employees, STREAMLINE costs, and develop ROCKSTAR cultures to drive companies to the next level! So why did we feel like we had to provide the services we do? And if our mission is to rejuvenate, then is there an implication that the industry is needing revival?
On the surface level, we can take the experience of the last decade as our first indication of WHY provide recruiting, training, and consulting services to the design industry. As a 4th generation window covering specialist, I can recall specific instances at industry conferences where the questions of how do I recruit, how do I train, and what should be my processes to develop my team to get consistent results... kept coming up as the topic of discussion. Year over year, the questions went unanswered, going in circles of confusion all while I was responsible to recruit, train, and lead my teams to find consistent success. So I started to study the numbers and analyze how the people affected the numbers, and when I could identify patterns that led to disaster I started to implement systems that would proactively prevent a failure. As I mentioned, that was only the surface level because that was things I could see on a day to day basis.
Then I had to take a step back and figure out if the steps were being accomplished daily, why weren't we getting to our goals faster.
The pattern kept falling on the people, and their level of commitment to making a change.
I realized, they also had to have a WHY for making the change, and "because I said so" or "because that's your job" was not the reason why. They needed a greater understanding of how I came to the conclusion we needed a change and make them understand what role the played in the success or failure of the system. After deep conversations about my why's, we discussed their motivations in making the change and how it could impact the overall team. Giving them a purpose and having them buy into the vision of what is possible, allowed them to take risks and challenge their routines.
That process taught me a lot of things about myself which brings me to the second layer, looking internally at why I feel so passionate about helping employees learn. In most of my career, I've been thrown into the role with no training expected to sink or swim. Thankfully, in most cases I've swam to the finished line, in some cases even medal-ed. In that journey, I saw so many around me go through the same sink or swim process, that ended up sinking for one reason or another. And if that wasn't enough, leadership kept asking why there was such turnover in that position (didn't matter what the position was...)
Identifying patterns was a strength, so it was easy for me to see that it was the lack of training that kept being the culprit. Even taking that theory and putting it to practice, when I would take a new employee through the training process start to finish compared to one that I skipped steps, the later would end up quitting or being let go in the first 90 days. EVERY TIME. That is no coincidence. Because I could control the outcome, to make both my peers more satisfied with their choice in career and to help my company be more profitable by spending less on hiring new people, I made it my mission to pave the road behind me to make it easier for others.
Then I looked at my experience and growing up to figure out why have I had a passion for training and why do I feel like I need to champion the underdog? Previous to my life in window coverings, I was a teacher and theatre major.
From the 4th grade when I dreamt of walking down the red carpet and delivering my Oscar speech to when I was studying directing and acting in college, I was taught the meaning of getting back on the horse after you've fallen off.
Every teacher, friend, and family member I had growing up in my life has taught me a life lesson about perseverance towards your goals. Having practiced that (with the battle scars to prove it) for so long, I felt it was important to share the wealth of knowledge I've gained through those experiences, and again pave the road behind me. As a teacher in the Chicago Public Schools, I always felt most accomplished when the light bulb went off in someone's head, or they asked me for a recommendation to tell everyone about their accomplishments in my class.
So your WHY comes in layers, and its important to reflect on it to have conviction in your decisions and create whatever pathway you desire. You have the power of choice in your life, you just have to make the first decision.