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Want To or How To: People & Core Purpose

Posted by Douglas A Wick on Thu, Aug 28, 2014

What’s more important?  Want to or how to? 

It’s a question that resonated with me when I began reading a book my coaching brother, Gary Gunn, shared with me 9 Lies That Are Holding Your Business Back, by Steve Chandler, Sam Beckford.  It’s a simple book intended for small businesses but it yields a great number of valuable insights and reminders.

The authors note that in starting and running a business, “You have to want to succeed. If you want to badly enough, you'll always find the how to.”

This is why a Core Purpose is so valuable.  It’s why discovering your own Core Purpose and Personal Mission Statement is essential.  It’s a message repeated many times, including The Power of Full Engagement, which powerfully advocates energy not time is the most important resource for growth and getting things done. It’s why Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, Start with Why is so popular. 

Do you ask yourself, “Why do I want to succeed?”

Just as importantly do your employees have that desire, that sense of purpose?

As William Pollard, author of The Soul of the Firm states, “People want to work for a cause, not just for a living. When there is alignment between the cause of the firm and the cause of its people, move over—because there will be extraordinary performance.”

How’s that working for you?

Can you objectively answer that question as absolutely yes?  As Greg McKeown suggests in Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, can you give that one a 9 on a scale of 0-10?

If not I recommend  working on your purpose.  Possibly yours and your company’s if they both can’t be answered to that level.

If your business is succeeding chances are you’ve gotten this right!  If it’s not empirically stated and documented somewhere, maybe it’s’ time to do so.

My E-Myth experience started with discovering our Primary Aim, ourselves as coaches and then with each small business owner we worked with.  Why?  Because one thing Michael Gerber knew is that purpose, the drive the energy to grow and build a business required a deep reservoir of energy.  Purpose provides the energy, motivation, and the courage to tackle those obstacles that lesser degrees of desire and commitment fall short of mobilizing.

The importance of a Core Purpose is more important than ever in attracting the most important ingredient in building your business:  People

Which would you rather have someone who is so motivated by why you do what you do, or someone who knows how to do it, but is lackadaisical in their efforts and performance?

Does your interview process discover whether or not your Core Purpose turns the applicant on? If you’ve not identified your Core Purpose it’s difficult to answer to address that question isn’t it?

The authors of the book call this Intention Deficit Disorder.  Simply stated it’s no real clarity about what result you intend to produce.

There’s a good example in the book on this that hit home as the father of two teenage sons.  Let’s suppose your teenage son (or daughter) room is chronically messy.  Would it occur to you to send him to a seminar (they’d probably be more open to a webinar on their computer or mobile device) on “how to clean a room?” 

Of course you wouldn’t.  How to is not missing here.  “Want to” is what’s missing!

Examine your business, yourself and your people.   Is it want to or how to that’s missing in your business.  

Positioning Systems can help you with the how to.  How to discipline your team, build priorities, metrics, dashboards, meeting rhythms and along with your priorities, long term and short term strategic plans.  We can even help you identify your “want to!” 

The question is do you know your “want to?”  

Speaking of “how to” November 12th we are offering a Mastering the Rockefeller Habits Four Decisions Workshop in Cedar Rapids.  How to will be provided in a jam packed day of strategizing and planning on some of the essential Best Practices and top thought leadership we provide our customers with.  Are you in?

We do get to why in our Rockefeller Habits Coaching; due to the development time it requires it's just not part of this workshop. 

You can download a copy of the flyer here, or simply register for the event at


Topics: Business Growth, People, Core Purpose, Business Culture

Challenges of Scaling Up a Business 







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Certified Gazelles Coach

Doug Wick, President

Positioning Systems


The Strategic Discipline Blog focuses on midsize business owners with a ravenous appetite to improve his or her leadership skills and business results.

Our 3 disciplines include:

- Priorities
- Metrics
- Meeting Rhythms

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