By William Seidman Simon Sinek gave an energetic and thought-provoking TED talk a while back on the importance of Why. The work I do with positive deviants strongly supports the importance of a compelling purpose (the why) as a primary motivator of all people. “Whys” that are about creating an important social good, where society truly benefits, are the most powerful motivator of all.  However, Sinek actually presents the connection to the why behind a product and the customers’ purchasing behavior somewhat weakly. This is a version of the “law of attraction” that has gained popularity — and it misses the considerable science in this area.  In our work with performance improvement initiatives in large complex organizations, the single most important factor is the compelling purpose. When presented correctly, it produces a documented neurological response that increases openness to new ideas. Further, when the why is written down and discussed in a group setting there are additional neural effects that enhance acceptance, engagement and ultimately action. But how the compelling purpose is presented can be the difference between another boring executive speech and true motivation.]]>

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