Those of you who are regular readers of my blog will have heard me refer to my property mentor, Rob Stewart, on a number of occasions. Like me, he enjoys writing a blog and so I wanted to share his latest post with you. Food for thought and a game changer for me as it so relevant in the world of property investing…..

“So, on Thursday at our monthly management meeting I gave a key note talk on “Know your why”.

It’s massively inspired by a guy called Simon Sinek, who is a superb speaker and leadership expert from the States. He gave a Ted talk on this subject, back in 2009. If anyone wants to watch it on YouTube it’s pretty mind blowing how the concept of knowing why you do something rather than how or what you do is the main trait of successful companies and people. I wholeheartedly subscribe to his view point and although we have been doing this for years from a social angle dealing with vulnerable people, helping communities, investing in our people, I didn’t have a framework or set structure to verbalise our “why” – I just knew it was the right thing to do and didn’t necessarily have a theory to back it up.

That was until I saw Simon’s video about 18 months ago and then the penny dropped. If you look at one of the slides entitled “Before today you might have said” it’s pretty accurate in how people think. They understand what they do the most i.e. in our case we rent and sell houses. Then there is the HOW we do it, but very few people know WHY we actually do it.

That’s normal, when we meet people we don’t ask why you do your job, we ask “so what do you do”… Then maybe say “that’s great, so how do you do that” but I’ve never been asked why I do what I do. I think we would get so much more from the person if we asked that question first, not least some shocked faces of the people we ask!

It’s hard to get excited or passionate about something unless you know WHY you do something. Just think of any time you’ve been asked to do something and you didn’t know why. Did you do a skip and a jump on the way to doing the action?

Didn’t think so.

What makes you get up on a morning, what’s your passion, what’s your belief? Without these, most of us just go through the motions hence the reason why success seems so far away and un-achievable.

Something I added to the talk was that people who know their why, often have two traits in abundance that others tend not to have. That of passion and vision.

I used Steve Jobs as an example as he’s someone I think most of us all know and admire in some way. He said “People with passion can change the world for a better place” and I truly believe that. We are passionate about property but also doing the right thing, helping people, building communities and also making our people a better them. When you know why you do something it’s very easy and almost an obligatory trait that you are passionate.

I also spoke about when you know your why, you can inspire your staff. Being a leader is not good enough, anyone can be a leader, just look at politicians. A leader is someone who hold a position of authority, hardly inspiring, but someone who leads is someone who inspires the people around them. As an MD or manager we all should therefore strive to inspire our staff and one of the main ways to do that is to know why we do what we do.

The second trait is vision. Again Steve jobs had vision, he wanted to “put a dent in the universe”, and he knew where he wanted to go and why he wanted to get there.

A great example of this was when Apple were looking for their new CEO and they approached John Sculley the then CEO of Pepsi. Jobs said to Sculley “Do you want to sell sugar water for the rest of your life? Or come with me and change the world”. Now if that’s not showing vision then I don’t know what is.

People who know their why and are therefore passionate and have vision will always be ahead of the competition.

This might come across a bit wishy washy or typical American but this is really powerful and important stuff guys and could help you in your property journey no matter what you choose to do.

Just to note that riches or money is NEVER your why, it’s a result of your why. People who chase the shiny penny very rarely make it.”

Has that got the grey matter sparking?! I hope so – it certainly did for me. I would welcome your comments and feedback…