If you figure out the big question, it’ll invigorate your culture, differentiate your company, and inform everything you do in your business.
Why? It’s a simple question that doesn’t always have a simple answer. But discovering our company’s Why has been the differentiator in our success.
After spending nearly 20 years in the AEC industry, I started asking myself why – why did I choose this career? Why do I get out of bed every morning? And why does any of this matter? I was burnt out. If I wanted to continue the path of my civil engineering career, something needed to change. I wanted flexibility, balance, and purpose in the workplace so I could get back to the core of who I really was – as a person and as an engineer.
I joined forces with a handful of colleagues who shared my values and beliefs, and we founded CORE Consultants. We were finding balance, having fun, and producing great work. And people were noticing. Our clients were enthusiastic for our cause and referring more and more work. We turned a profit in the first year, and nearly tripled our revenue in the second year.
Our unique culture was unwritten but engrained into our team members in those early years at CORE. But as our company grew, it became evident that we needed to formally articulate CORE’s Why in order to maintain the culture that had been vital to our early success. We gave all our team members the opportunity to contribute to our company’s Why – one-on-one discussions, survey feedback, and a Why discovery retreat. The process of refining and redefining our Why was powerful, and it reaffirmed the reason why we started CORE in the first place.
CORE exists “to empower people to thrive at home, at work, and in their community.” Understanding and communicating our Why has inspired and instilled trust and loyalty in our employees and customers alike. While your company’s Why will be different from ours, it will help you to maintain your culture, differentiate your company, and inform everything you do in your business:
- Mission and vision. Knowing our Why made developing our mission and vision statements relatively simple. Because our Why is people-centric, our mission and vision are people-centric. Both support our culture of balance, fun, passion, and producing great work. And our people identify with it.
- Recruiting and retention. Communicating our Why to potential employees allows us to attract the right employees that share our values and beliefs. Hiring the right people from the get-go enhances our culture and improves loyalty and retention.
- Marketing and business development. Our Why inspires our marketing and business development efforts – from our elevator speech, to our social media, to our website – we love showing potential customers how we are thriving, and they want to become part of it! Communicating our Why in our marketing and business development efforts helps us to attract customers who share our values and promotes long-term, win-win business partnerships.
Need further proof that knowing your Why will benefit your company? Simon Sinek, leadership guru and author of Find Your Why has found that “people and organizations who know their Why enjoy greater long-term success, command greater trust and loyalty among employees and customers, and are more forward thinking and innovative than their competition.”
Understanding our Why has made all the difference in CORE’s success – both for our culture and the bottom line. Our focus on people and balance has resulted in happy employees, happy clients, and successful communities. It’s why our clients choose us over our competitors. It’s why our employees come to work every day. It’s why I chose this career. It’s why I get out of bed every morning. And why it all matters.
Blake Calvert, P.E., is principal, president, and CEO of CORE Consultants, Inc. The Colorado start-up received Zweig Group’s inaugural Top New Venture Award in 2018 (#1). Learn more about CORE by visiting liveyourcore.com.