Starting with WHY

Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to our profession, post-acute and aging services, and began to wonder if anything we do matters.

With all the challenges from regulators, attorneys, payers, and the press, why do we do it? Not WHAT we do, or even HOW we do it, but WHY? Simon Sinek wrote an entire book on the topic, entitled, Start with Why, and spoke on it in a widely viewed TED Talk several years ago (use this link to view the original “Start with WHY” talk

Think about it. Most people know what they’re doing, and some even know how they’re doing it, but very few know why. The problem is that the only part that inspires people is the answer to the Why. It’s our purpose, our belief, our reason for being.

Whether you want to end world suffering, lower your BMI to 8, make the numbers for the next quarter or just make sure the night shift is staffed for tomorrow night, without a why, you’re nowhere.

How often do we ask people what they do, or tell others what we do (the old “elevator speech”)? It’s something society has drilled into us, and causes us to focus on the wrong things.

Honestly, and I’m not being callous, but no one (speaking of customers or anyone you’re working with or serving here) cares what we’re doing. No one even cares how we do it. They only care why we’re doing it.

Once we connect with our why, we give them a belief they can adopt – but not until that emotional connection is created. Then the “what” and the “how” become wonderful ways to justify the why. What we do serves as the proof of why we do it. People buy on emotion and justify by logic. They buy on why.

The same is true for organizations and associations like ACHCA. Facts, figures, statistics, credentials and certifications don’t sell. They don’t inspire. What does sell is our vision of how we can affect our world.

This is the only place passion can be found. Passion isn’t buried in some mind-numbing competitive analysis. It’s in the vision, the belief, the why. We say our mission is to be the catalyst for excellence in post-acute and aging services leadership, but we need to answer the question WHY.

For over 1,800 leaders nationwide, we currently have made that emotional connection, and they’ve aligned their why through their membership. For the rest of the nation’s administrators and post-acute leaders, students, administrators-in-training and academicians, we’ve yet to make that emotional connection.

So, what’s your why? What is ACHCA’s why? For us to truly be the voice for the post-acute professional, we need to answer that question.

We are challenged to discover our association’s why, and when we do, we’ll be able to fully represent our nation’s post-acute leaders because their connection with ACHCA will be emotional, tapping into that which is deep within each of us, and compels us to align with an association that helps us fulfill our true passion, the why we do what we do.

We have begun the process of discovering our association’s why, through a qualitative study we launched this week. Currently, board members, committee members and chapter leaders are being surveyed about the why of ACHCA.

The next step in our plans is to reach out to current, lapsed, and potential members to identify their why. When we align our WHY, our association will truly be the Voice of the Aging Services Professional.

Be on the lookout for updates and the next step in the survey process!

Robert W. Lane, MA, CNHA, FACHCA serves as Director at BKD, LLP located in Oklahoma City, OK.

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Comments on "Starting with WHY"

Comments 0-5 of 2

Allison Duda - Thursday, January 18, 2018

I'm reading this post super late but I could not agree more Bob! Finding your WHY is what caused me to quit my job working for a major luxury brand retailer for nearly 10 years to pursue a career in this field. Can't wait to hear more about the why of ACHCA.

Dr. David G. Wolf - Friday, July 28, 2017

Starting with WHY is a great first step! Everyone has their own WHY and I believe it depends on their own internal and external motivations. The WHY can be expanded well beyond that of the ACHCA. For example, WHY do we work in this industry in general, not just as an administrator? For me, the WHY has more to do with the WHAT we do and HOW we do it. Any administrator who has a great survey understands what I mean. It's not just the outcome that matters, but the fact that you helped to coordinate a team to accomplish something that has real meaning. In long-term care, we help those that cannot help themsevles...Is there a better WHY? As I see it, the diamond has many facets. The lens through which we examine ourselves determines the internal and external motivators that drives us to be great at what we do. Thanks for sharing this Bob, I am behind this idea 100\%!

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