Why the Why Matters?

As the new nation of America emerged, a new army was raised. In order to bring discipline to the men, George Washington got the help of Baron Fredrich von Steuben. Baron von Struben was a european military man. He understood how to command men and was engaged to be the drill master of the new american army. Upon interacting with the american army men, he noticed this;

Steuben catered to the needs and ideologies of the men in the Continental Army. He knew that soldiers who felt that military service was not a necessity, would often question authority. When given an order many soldiers would ask ‘Why?’ This was what Steuben realized and built his form of discipline around. If a soldier asked why, and there was a good reason for it, then the soldier would ultimately obey the order. This is why the uniformity and simplicity of Steuben’s system was so successful in the Continental Army.  – via freerepublic.com

This idea helped the american army and I believe fostered a sense of shared vision among the founding people of the new nation of America. Their nation was built on a collective dream, unlike many other nations led by kings or the dream of a single man. This even translates to organizations. Is your company built on the dreams & aspirations of the employees or always led by a single person’s demands.

This is how people get motivated. Its the WHY…. not the what. And that is why it is so important to know your WHYs and share them when telling your story. Use it wisely!

Watch again Dan Pink’s talk on Drive (RSA Animated)

Here is Simon Sinek’s talk on the importance of Why



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