Bernie Anderson
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the blog

Current musings, whatever they may be. 

Vision: Know Your Why

What do you do?

That's an easy question. Anyone can answer it. I sell widgets. I make coffee. I raise money. I lay bricks. I trade stocks. I preach sermons. I rear children. I write books. I create art. Everyone does something.

Every one of these things - and, in fact, every job everywhere ever - can be done with complete abandon to the work. Or each could be done dispassionately.

But here's the more difficult question.


Why do you do it?

This is tougher.

I wrote about Zion Coffee in Peoria, IL a few weeks ago. Zion Coffee is about more than making coffee and you can tell when you walk in the door. Sure, the product is great. The atmosphere is inviting. People are hanging out and enjoying themselves. But that isn't the hard part. Lots of coffee shops are able to serve a great product in a great atmosphere. The hard part is the "why" and Zion Coffee makes their "why" very clear. They were founded to advance the lives of small coffee farmers and their surrounding communities. This drives their business, influences their product, and affects the way they interact with guests in their shop. Zion Coffee knows their why. Their why is to serve and empower "the other side of the cup."

Leaders must answer this question.

Why do we do what we do?

It is impossible to lead others toward a compelling vision of the future if nobody knows why they even want to go there. Why is it important? Why does it matter? Why will this thing change the world? Or, at the very least, change me.

Coming up with the why is not easy. It takes brain work. But it's important brainwork.

It's the difference between average leadership and exceptional leadership.