Finding the WHY at Work
At Kenway, we’ve always lived by a set of guiding principles that help us to best determine WHAT and HOW to do things for many years. However, until more recently, I struggled to articulate WHY I enjoy working at Kenway so much. Our guiding principles are certainly part of it, but not the complete story. Therefore, I would answer this question admittedly poorly with the response of, “I don’t ever want to work anywhere else.”
About 18 months ago, Brian King, our CEO, coined our Kenway “Why Statement,” which is simply “to help and be helped.” This is why Kenway exists and why our employees work at Kenway. Brian had his own reasons for the Why, and it has further improved an already very strong company culture in many ways. Selfishly, it has also provided me with increased clarity into why I love my job.
All companies have variations of vision and mission statements, but how many companies actually live by them? How many employees of those companies actually know them, let alone believe in them? At Kenway, we are not only encouraged to know the Why, but must live the Why every day. This company-wide belief and commitment to our Why is at the core of my high level of professional satisfaction.
In talking to friends and family members, it saddens me that so many people dislike their jobs. When I probe further into their reasons for discontent, rarely do I hear responses about the actual work being done, but more often people are upset about aspects of corporate culture that are lacking and out of their spheres of control. For instance, people worry about colleagues “back stabbing” them to move up the corporate ladder or being held to unrealistic sales metrics that can lead to unethical or short-sighted behaviors.
At Kenway, I don’t have any such concerns, because I’m 100% behind our Why, and, just as importantly, Leadership is as well. Commitments are appropriately aligned; if I try as hard as I can to help clients, prospects and colleagues, then I’ve had a great day of which I can be proud. Similarly, if I always ask for help when I need it, I am helping myself and Kenway. I don’t feel the need to measure myself against any metric other than the fact that I ask for help when I need it, and I provide it when I’m asked. It’s an extremely liberating feeling that I wish others could experience more often.
If you are not feeling good about your career, think about your company’s Why. Think about your own Why. Are the two aligned? If not, it could be time to make a change. Interested in talking more? Feel free to reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.