Rise Performance Group

Leaders Start with the “Why” before the “What”

Leaders start with the “why” before the “what.”

That’s because people need a reason to believe.  A cause.  That’s according to Bob Kaplitz and Mark Fenner of the Rise Performance Group.

As leadership expert John Maxwell says, “Leadership is simply about influencing people. Nothing more, nothing less.”

The true test of a leader is to ask him to create positive change in an organization.  Change starts with a vision of the future.  And visions start with “why”?  A “what” doesn’t matter until you have a “why.”

Author and leadership speaker Simon Sinek makes this point, with a caution:  As companies grow. they may fail to focus on their “why” — the reason or their being.


Beginning as a student in anthropology, Sinek turned his fascination with people into a career of convincing people to do what inspires them.

Through his struggle to rediscover his excitement about life and work, he made some profound realizations and began helping his friends and their friends to find their “why” — at first charging just $100, person by person. Never planning to write a book, he penned “Start With Why” simply as a way to distribute his message.

The Rise Performance Group focuses on the “Why” when helping clients to develop a strategic plan to drive leadership.  Questions include:

  • Why are you passionate about what you and your company do?
  • How does it drive your competitive advantage?
  • How can you reinforce your “why” for new employees or employees didn’t appreciate the “why”?

Recently, Fenner and Kaplitz raised the issue of the “why?” behind their existence with a client.  Their answer:  “Our product saves lives.  We do it by separating drinking from driving.  Our ignition interlock products are breath alcohol analyzers that keep drivers with DWIs/DUIs from operating vehicles if their breath alcohol level is over a pre-set level.”

“Talk about a cause!  Now that’s a why!” Kaplitz says.

Put the meaning of “why” back into the minds of your employees by investing in a leadership development program.  It turns managers into leaders.  Contact Bob Kaplitz and Mark Fenner for more information at 214.766.4236.

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