“Directions are instructions given to explain how. Direction is a vision offered to explain why.” Simon Sinek
As I am seeing a growing demand for schools to learn how to use social media tools in classrooms with students, staff, and parents, I have continuously tried to focus on this Simon Sinek video (which I have mentioned several times in this blog). In the Ted Talk, Sinek continuously says the same phrase over and over again:
“People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”
Although this can be taken as a very “business-driven” phrase, there is definitely a connection to the work that we are doing within our schools and especially with our students, staff, and stakeholders. I have this huge belief that people want to be inspired and want purpose in their lives, they don’t want to just “show up” and do the work.
With that being said, I have seen the importance of defining the “why” in my own experience. Often I have been asked to work with staff to either give a talk, and to follow up by doing a workshop on how to help educators get connected. Sometimes however though, I have been asked to simply do the workshop portion. Although doing the latter is much more time efficient for that day, in the long run, if we do not clearly articulate “why” we are doing what we are doing, the “what” and the “how” are lost.
Recently, I had the opportunity to work with a school staff and gave a presentation on some of the trends happening in our world, and how we can leverage technology in a way to connect with our students, school community, and the rest of the world. After the presentation, we were meant to do a workshop on Google Apps, but questions came up about Twitter, and how they would use that tool to connect and learn with so many great educators around the world. The questions were inspired and teachers were excited about moving forward and learning something new. As I left to head off to my next meeting, the entire staff was still there working on what I had tried to teach them. It was inspiring for me to see and I was reluctant to leave.
I am not certain if the discussion that I had with them that day will stick with them, but I do know that taking that hour before and sharing them “why” we are trying to move forward will definitely increase the percentage of success. As educators (and as people in general), we are always stressed about the amount of time that we have in a day, but as I have been told often, “sometimes we have to go slow, to go fast”. Taking that time to discuss the why was important and needed. It is also a lesson that I can learn greatly from as I continue my own work.
I have embedded the Sinek video below…if you have not seen it, it is definitely worth the 19 minutes it takes to watch it.