Intrapreneurship starts with a WHY

Many companies don´t really know why their customers are their customers or why their employees are their employees.

When I read this sentence from the book of Simon Sinek Start with why, I realized that it described quite well the situation of different companies we are collaborating. Even if we go further, we can also ask if we as a customer, employee or entrepeneur if we actually know what is our WHY, the inner passions which inspires and moves us to the action and some cases deliver our gift to the world..

I would like to share in this post and essay of this book. The author bring us an alternative perspective to understand who inspire rather than manipulate or manage people in order to motivate, attract or produce transformation in people within organizations or even with their customers. This new perspective has been really useful for us to focus and modelize a the first phase of the procces to implement a sustainable individual transformation and create intrapenurial teams of workers (and clients).

The book combine different theories like the Golden Circle, The law of difussion of innovation, The Split proccess, and others theories that we have used and aplied to build up our model of intrapreneurship.

Golden Circle Principles:

Probably is a simple idea codify all we do in 3 layers: Why? How? What?  But the reflection behind this is huge and useful. This little idea explains why some organizations and some leaders are able to inspire where others aren’t.

Figure1 by Olatz Ibarretxe (Oh! Visual Thinking)

Very few people or organizations know why they do what they do. What’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?

Simon Sinek consider that the balance of the Clarity of Why, the discipline of How, and the consistency of What gives us Authenticity. When we say and do things that we believe.

Inspired leaders and the inspired organizations act and communicate from the inside out. In other words, when we communicate from the outside in, yes, people can understand vast amounts of complicated information like features and benefits. It just doesn’t drive behavior. When we can communicate from the inside out, we’re talking directly to the part of the brain that controls behavior, and then we allow people to rationalize it with the tangible things we say and do. This is where gut decisions come from. Why are you buying in this shop and not in the other? I don´t know, but I have not doubts that I am in the rigth one.
They’re comfortable making intuitive decisions that are driven by what they believe and not just what product is available.

It is really interesting. We can sort out many learnings if we aply this teorhy in the customers decision-making process and in the definition on what is our relationship with them. In the other hand, I see cristal clear that we need to build up a value proposal based in a new conection between workers and customers. As we learned from Nan Huai-Chin, besides the knowledge there is another resource that increase if we share it: emotions or feelings. If the workers are happy, clients will be happy.

The truth is almost every person on the planet is passionate, we are just not all passionate for the same things. One of the key we have identified is that individuals can find out projects and actions which motivate and inspire them, specially those which they start running from the scratch and they feel owner or entrpeneur. They start working from the why.

We must care for our customers but also for us, our team and the things we do. If we don´t love our work, we don´t look out each other, wee feel unfulfilled. And the worst thing, is that we transmit this emotion.

The definition of Trust

When we surround ourselves with people who believe in what we believe, you create something remarkable that is TRUST.

Building trust means sharing more than just goals, means sharing beliefs and the reasons for things. It is the individual connection with the team.

When we surround ourselves with people who believe in the same as we (people who take care of each other) what happens:

  • We have more confidence to take risks
  • We have more confidence to experiment (requiring fail by the way)
  • We have more confidence to explore, meet other people.

Our survival depends on our ability to surround ourselves with people who believe in what we believe.

Split happens

We have been working with a retail company where we have indentify some of these characteristic. Starting from the losing of trust and the clear split of the what and the why. Founders are able to join the what with the why. Inspire the what of each one. But when the company become bigger and bigger this conection disappear.

The reality of the most of the teams in each store, and also in the headquartes is that the “mood”, for different reasons, is not so active as in the past, where the feelings and the activity were more similar to entrepeneurs.

At the beginning, ideas are fueled by passion, and that causes us to do quite irrational (and sometimes extraordinary) things. But when the Split happens, the Why starts to go fuzzy, the passion is gone and inspiration is at minimum.

Being cheap does not inspire employees to give their blood, sweat and tears. There has to be something else, a deeper purpose. Look after others (believe in people) could be one of the most powerful cause or belief.

If you look after people, people look after you. The more you could give to employees, customers and the community; the more that employees, customers and the community would give back to the company. The inspiration came not simply from Customer Service but from service itself. Service like this higher purpose.
In many situations we lose the track and this WHY goes fuzzy, and can become all about cheap. We can even mantain the same What and How, but if the Why goes fuzzy and our company transform into impersonal goliath our capacity to transmit something different disappear.

From the beginning we saw intrapreneurship as the enabler to figure out how we could support grassroots innovation in each store and in each team based in a radical new relationship with customers. From my point of view, this is the next breakthrough innovation. Entrepreneurial teams of employees/members designing with customers new solutions and experiences.

We fancy a good revolution where there is not difference between a customer and a worker. Ones believes in our Why and because of this choose to work in the company, and the customer believes in our Why and choose to buy in our stores. One of our goals is to find customer who believe what we believe and work together so that we can all succeed.

THANKS !! I want to thank my colleagues, soulmates and co-dreamers of the Petrol Station team who are doing an amazing work trying to make the revolution happens. All the best for you guys (Pedro, Markel, Ainhoa, Miren, Jose Mari). And of course!! thanks to all Mondragon Team Academy crew and Eroski Eibar team.  Finally an special mention to Iñigo Blanco for suffering and supporting also the proccess 🙂

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