That is the message that a wise old janitor kept telling the most successful Kentucky high basketball coach ever who was having a tough season in the fictional book “Lead, for God’s Sake”. The book changed the life of Ohio State football coach Urban Meyer just months before he accepted the head coaching job in 2012 for the Buckeyes, who are still in the afterglow of their National Championship win two weeks ago.
Written by leadership expert Todd Gongwer, the book is about a winning coach who loses his sense of purpose and the reasons why he got into coaching. “He could have changed the name of the coach in the book to mine, Meyer said. The whole book is about Why you do what you do. You can never forget the Why. I forgot the Why.”
Many people don’t realize the emptiness Urban Meyer felt after resigning from coaching in 2010 after coaching Florida to two National Championships. His health, family and relationships were all suffering from his obsessive drive and pressure to win. In the forward to the updated version of the book, Meyer writes, “Eventually these pressures entice us to pursue success, many times at the expense of the most important things in life – relationships; relationships lie at the center of our purpose both in leadership and in life.”
This conclusion may sound simple but just because something sounds simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. “Many times in life our Why goes fuzzy and a split happens”, states Simon Sinek in his groundbreaking book, “Start with Why”. The split occurs when the focus on our pursuits become more about what to do or how to do what’s necessary to succeed because these things are more easily measured through tangible results. Examples of a split are detailed in his book and include companies like Wal-Mart, whose founder Sam Walton was the embodiment of the everyman and always believed: look after people and people will look after you. But after his death Walmart’s Why got fuzzier and fuzzier and a new motivation took over: chasing money. Even Apple’s Why went fuzzy after Steve Jobs was forced out, focusing on evolutionary products vs. the revolutionary ones it was built on. That was until Steve Jobs came back to re-infuse the company with his vision of challenging the status quo and his passion for innovation.
So it seems fitting that our agency just concluded a “Start with Why” book study we began last January. We felt it was important to more clearly define our corporate “Why” and to make sure all of the interactions we have and the decisions we make concerning our clients, teammates and the community are filtered through our Why.
Our Why is still a work in progress but is rooted in this phrase, “To serve others as we would want to be served”. That sounds simple but it’s not always easy. We can assure you it normally takes longer than 15 minutes and certainly doesn’t always save you 15%. But it also just so happens to be centered on something we have always felt has more lasting value: Relationships. We can’t think of a better reason to come to work each day than serving you as we would want to be served by doing our best to provide you peace of mind as you pursue your own Why. Thank you for giving us such a worthy purpose.
Will Adamczyk is a Certified Financial Planner professional with Ramsburg Insurance & Financial Services, He focuses on Retirement and Income Planning for the Baby Boomer generation.