“Very very few people or organizations know why they do what they do—and by why, I don’t mean to make a profit—that’s a result, it’s always a result. By why, I mean what’s your purpose? What’s your cause? What’s your belief? Why does your organization exist? Why do you get out of bed in the morning? And why should anyone care?” -Simon Sinek (2009)
This is my why:
We believe in preparing our future leaders for the world of tomorrow.
The way we prepare our future leaders is by equipping them with current information and digital tools within a meaningful learning environment.
We create opportunities for learning through collaboration, investigation, and real-world application using 21st century skills and digital tools in a project-based e-learning context.
(And by “we,” I mean all those who support and encourage project-based learning.)
I’d like to restate my Big Hairy Audacious Goal (BHAG) because this is where I looked back to during the time I was creating my why:
The student will collaboratively solve a real-world problem or question using 21st century skills and digital tools through a project-based e-learning context.
A why statement can be used to speak to the heart, create a sense of urgency, and lower complacency when trying to create change in an organization. Simon Sinek (2009) asks “Why do you get out of bed in the morning?” in his TEDxPugetSound Talk. I believe you make a connection with your audience when you address the personal reasoning behind why you do what you do. But not only do you have to address it, you have to show it by becoming it—becoming your why. I get out of bed in the morning because I want to make a difference in the world I live in—and that’s by opening, not molding, the fresh and curious minds of my students. When you address your why, you are letting people in and showing them your world—a world that they too, would like to become a part of.
But addressing your why is not enough; you have to create a sense of urgency among the people who will be affected (Kotter, 2013). You have to create a solid foundation in which you can create this change in your organization. People don’t want to hear about a change without first knowing your why. There is no need in creating a sense of urgency when it comes to education. It is already there. It takes place every single day when teachers and administrators are making decisions about what and how students will learn. But are they making the right decisions?
Unfortunately, you can talk and talk about how you want to create change in your organization but it will serve no purpose until your own audience changes—changes their behavior to become proactive. This is where you have to lower the level of complacency in your organization by not stating the facts, but by stating your truth—your personal truth (Asacker, 2014). Desire moves us and through our story, our identity, we state our personal truth—who we are and what we want to become. I am a teacher. I want to become a leader.
So, what’s your story? What’s your why?
Asacker, Tom. (2014). Why TED Talks Don’t Change People’s Behaviors. TEDxCambridge. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W0jTZ-GP0N4&feature=youtu.be.
Kotter, John. (2013). Leading Change: Establish a Sense of Urgency. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Yfrj2Y9IlI&feature=youtu.be
Sinek, Simon. (2009). Start with why — how great leaders inspire action. TEDxPugetSound. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZoJKF_VuA.