It’s Not Start with Why… It’s Start with We

All too often, people and organisations communicate in a very “me to you” way, which whilst it might get short-term results if the volume of communication is large enough, fails to get quality, long-term engagement.

But the thing about ‘scattering’ as an analogy is that the farmer, the seed, and the land all work together to get the results they want.

You have probably heard of the concept Start With Why, which is about beginning with purpose. But Start With We is about beginning with people, and about what we share in common.

This is because humans, as social beings, love to belong to a bigger group. We also tend to live up to the commitments we make, so when someone you are engaging is reminded of their identity as someone who has made some kind of commitment to you, they wish to be consistent to it (known as Commitment and Consistency).

So… when you communicate, begin by using we language, such as talking about shared values, shared traits, shared challenges, shared histories, and shared aspirations. For instance, you could start an email by saying “Together with us as one of our employees, we all share the belief that it’s important to…”, before going on state the purpose behind what you are doing.

Likewise, it really helps to begin meetings with we – framing the next hour within the context of your shared aspirations. In fact, I’ve made it a staple part of my coaching for clients: start every meeting with ‘the we‘, and then go onto ‘the why‘ before you discuss anything else.

It’s all about people, and ultimately as social beings, we is our ultimate why.