As humans I think we are all born with the desire to understand why. I’ve come to this conclusion because I have a four year old daughter that is very much into the “but, why Mommy?“ phase. It is no longer cute either. It’s to the frustrating point where it’s less about her curiosity and more about how far she can push mommy over the edge. I caught myself during one of her recent “why” rants fighting my instinct to get irritated because she wasn’t just doing what I was telling her to do. And instead remembered it’s my job as her parent to feed her curiosity and help her understand why in each situation.This reminded me of a TED talk Simon Sinek delivered about how great leaders inspire action.
It’s here if you want to watch it. He also wrote a book about it if you’re super interested: Start with Why.
In his observations Sinek discovered that the greatest leaders think, act, and communicate completely opposite of the way everyone else does. He explains that great leaders, inspire action by starting with why. Rather than answering the questions what, how, why, in that order, they do it in reverse.
So I put this application to the test and have begun reaping the benefits of it. By helping my daughter understand why we have to brush our teeth, I’m inspiring her to act on it. She doesn’t want all her teeth to fall out. That is, as she says, “dis-cus-tin” (disgusting). She understands why. If she doesn’t brush her teeth it will result in pain and misery. This doesn’t mean she’s going to do it from now on without question, but she at least understands and believes in why we do it.
So how do we apply this to our work with or at credit unions? Or rather why should we apply it?
Our answer to why is what sets us apart
We shouldn’t be answering what the difference between banks and credit unions is. We should be telling people why credit unions do what we do. The need to understand why is a natural instinct and understanding it builds loyalty and trust.
As credit unions we should make it our goal to not only do business with people who believe in what we do but to hire people who do as well. It should be our priority a leaders to educate our members and our employees on why.
Answer these questions for your specific role within your organization:
- Why do you do it? – Or as I like to ask it: Why should anyone care?
- How do you do it?
- What do you do?
If you can answer why first, the other two answers fall into place. So I say we all embrace our inner 4 year old and start with why. Inspire action rather than getting frustrated. Plus it will ensure that all of your teeth don’t fall out, which is dis-cus-tin.
Amy Etheridge lives in Warner Robins, Georgia. She is the Senior Marketing Coordinator at Robins Federal Credit Union. Amy started her credit union career 12 years ago as a teller, has worked in branch operations, and then found her calling in the marketing department.