Are you a why-type or a how-type?
In “Start With Why” by Simon Sinek, the author shares why-types are the visionaries and how-types live in the here and now. The how-types are the ones who get things done, who accomplish the why-types’ dreams.
Sinek shared multiple why/how-type partnerships which have led to revolutionary things throughout the years. Whether it was the Wright brothers or Walt and Roy Disney, there was one how-type and one why-type in each partnership.
For example, a biographer wrote of the Disney brothers: “Walt Disney dreamed, drew and imagined; Roy stayed in the shadow, forming an empire.”
And Sinek shares: “Without someone inspired by their vision and the knowledge to make it a reality, most why-types end up as starving visionaries, people with all the answers but never accomplishing much themselves.”
How to Tell a Why-type Versus a How-Type
What are you, campus rec professional? Are you a why or a how-type?
While you might get loads done as a how-type, it’s time to ask if you are getting your why across to your team. Or, if you are a why-type, who are your how-types that see your visions come to life?
Sinek gave another great point in differentiating between the two — and the importance of both — by comparing a vision statement to a mission statement. “The vision is the public statement of the founder’s intent, why the company exists. It is literally the vision of a future that does not yet exist. The mission statement is a description of the route, the guiding principles — how the company intends to create that future. When both of those things are stated clearly, the why-type and the how-type are both certain about their roles in the partnership.”
Do you have to have a why-type? Not necessarily. It definitely helps to have a visionary, but more than likely most of your team will be how-types. Sinek said that’s what most people are — those who get things done. However, it’s easy to get caught in the cycle of simply getting things done versus leading.
And just because you are one type doesn’t mean you can’t be another. “Why-types — people who wake up every day to lead a cause and not just run a company” have a different mindset I believe is attainable.
So if it’s time for you to step into a why-type role, start with a mindset change. Embody your vision statement. Begin to inspire. And watch as the how-types step up to bring your dreams to life.