Why: It's the most fascinating word in the English dictionary. Without it, creativity and problem solving are lost. It moves us to get up in the morning. It moves us to take action. It's what drives every human activity with heart.

The beauty and power of asking "Why?" has a transformative potency for your company, regardless of market, industry, or size.

This was captured in Simon Sinek's globally popular TED Talk "How Great Leaders Inspire Action."

According to Sinek, all great organizations and leaders have one thing in common: They start by explaining why.

Apple explained it makes beautiful, simple, and user-friendly products. Martin Luther King explained he had a dream that all men would be recognized as equal. The Wright Brothers explained that if they could create flight for humans, it would change the way people live. When "Why" comes before the "What," it makes all the difference.

"People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it."

This is truer today than ever before. Now is the first time in history when all generations are more likely to purchase from a purpose-driven company. Eighty-seven percent of Millennials, now the largest generation, believe that companies should do more than generate profit.

In response to this, a brand new category of business is growing at lightning speed, and moving old companies to change and evolve. It's called "conscious capitalism"--and the transition into this era of business starts with "Why."

A great example of this can be seen in the food business, where purpose-driven startups are meeting the new demand of conscious consumers that is upturning the entire food business.

The beauty of conscious capitalism, though, is you don't have to be a nonprofit to answer "Why." It can be beautiful design, happy employees, or to increase the efficiency of other companies so they can change the world.

For us, it took just 10 minutes, a large sheet of paper, and a magic marker to codify our purpose. Ask yourself what gets you and your employees up in the morning? Why is what you're doing so different? What impact do you want your company to have?

Today, our purpose hangs in our entrance, it's posted in every conference room, it's in every onboarding deck, it's in every sales presentation, and it's printed on every single box we sell.

We exist to positively impact the way food is made, enriching lives and bodies through delicious, convenient foods made from clean, nutritious ingredients.

Our brand is intertwined with our "Why," and it pays dividends. When consumers contact us, they tell us how much they connect with our purpose.

Our team connects with it as well, citing our purpose as the reason why they joined our team and love their jobs. When you work hard at something you don't have a personal connection with, it's called stress. When you work for something you care about, it's called passion.

Because it's no longer just about money or a flashy new car. Both the purchases made and how you spend your day become an extension of who you are and your personality. People look to personally connect with companies in ways they haven't before.

It's never too late to connect a purpose to your company, or to find your "Why."

Published on: Aug 19, 2016