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Ethical Edge Letters on Integrity  

Click here for Russell Williams' bio


Tuesday, October 26, 2010
Use the superstar's secret
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
I choose to ...
Find the answer to your 'why'


“The best way out is always through.”
— Robert Frost

Recently, I sat at the feet (I was in the front row!) of world-renowned business leader and author Ken Blanchard as he addressed a group of professionals in San Diego at an event hosted by the Center for Wealth & Legacy. Blanchard stoked my inner fire as he focused on one question: WHY?

Blanchard's comments came on the heels of a super presentation by Randy Ataide, executive director of the Fermanian Business & Economics Institute at Point Loma Nazarene University. Ataide had a bundle of powerful ideas to share, two of which unknowingly set the stage for Blanchard to take everyone present on a fast-track lap with his inspirational mind. Ataide commented that working harder will not necessarily keep you in business. What will keep you in business is knowing your WHY. Why are you doing what you do? Not what, not how. Ataide urged his audience to diligently pursue the WHY question into 2011.

Then came Blanchard! He loved what he had heard from Ataide. He was ready to accelerate a finely tuned engine for a fast lap around the track as he put his foot to the floor addressing: What is your WHY?
Blanchard talked about his extensive work with Southwest Airlines, and he described how this company has continued to experience extraordinary growth in a brutally tough market. And the reason? Southwest knows its WHY! The WHY of Southwest is not defined by running airplanes here, there and everywhere. Southwest knows its WHY by being in the relationship business, helping family and friends afford to make loving touches and memories together in the special times of their lives. And, yes, Southwest accomplishes its WHY with a fleet of planes, which is the HOW of Southwest. Blanchard said that if you ask Southwest employees about what they are doing, the vast majority will tell you that they’re in the business of providing happiness and love. And doing so while having fun at work and a smile on their face!

Blanchard spent the rest of his time driving home the basic lesson of all business life: It’s about relationship. Being financially successful is the result of relationships, and all businesses need to know that at the center of their WHY is the story of relationship building.

Nothing new, right! But as the audience listened to Blanchard, they experienced his conviction, passion and clarity of thought that the WHY of relationship building in business was far greater than sweet sentiment.

Mission Integrity Action

What is your WHY? Let the question simmer this week as you enter in and out of conversations with family, friends, community partners and professional associates. Get inspired by and connected to the WHY of your everyday activity and productivity. Your WHY is your fire!

Russell Williams,
founder/president
Passkeys Foundation/Ethical Edge
ethicaledge.org