What’s Your Why? Strategic Planning in 2017

What's Your Why?

“What’s your purpose? Why did you start? Why do your people love what they do? Why would great people want to work with you? Why is your culture so positive? Why do you feel like you are completely out of control? How will you see your vision through without you around? Is what you do centred around you, or around something bigger? 

Strategic planning has changed

Strategic planning shouldn’t be an exercise only for the vice presidents or executive staff. If you still think you can create a plan for your staff and they will happily see it through you may bit a tad crazy. No smart, driven employee wants to be told what to do anymore. No great culture is created within a 10+ page strategic planning document. The direction should be set by a board or visionary person, the goal of the organization has to be set by the president or executive director, and the actually monthly, weekly, and daily work plan must be made by the staff who are going to see it through.

Why, How, What - your organizational strategy

Every company and organization knows what they do, if not, they won’t be in business much longer. Most organizations also know how they do what they do. Be that a Wal-mart (mass distribution) or Cirque Du Soleil (unique experience), for most organizations it is relatively simple to determine how they do what they do. But what is more difficulty to understand (and many business owners don’t) is why a companies does what it does.
The why is the central purpose of the organization. Organizations that have a clear why are easy to spot. They understand they’re own business and they’ve built a following by creating a certain expectation for everything they do. You can call it smart “branding” but that’s just the outcome of a strong why. Branding is a lag metric whereas employee engagement is a lead metric. Organizations with a clear why focus on lead metrics, metrics that influence positive change, not just reflect it like “branding”.

Examples of Why, How, What


Why: question the status quo.

How: By leading with design inside and out, we create user friendly, highly intuitive devices.

What: Phones, music players, computers, tablets that are some of the best on the market. All having a similar clean design and simple interface.



Why: Make air travel easier.
How: By empowering employees to be decision makers they are responsible for the culture they create.
What: Employees that actually care about you as a customer as well as treat you like a friend, telling a joke on a flight, or giving you an extra chocolate wafer because you accidentally “misplaced” your first one.
(online stationary retailer)

Why: be the supplier of choice.
How: By doing things over and above what was expected, not just once, but every time, it creates a culture of over delivering.
What: The stationary you order (business cards, post cards) is of the highest quality (American Psycho style) and always comes with fun packaging. The Postcards came in a pack that says on the outside in bold lettering “Slower Than Email” . Every time I’ve ordered anything it always comes at least 4-5 days early.

Great product + fun packaging and design = loyal customers



Why: to equip the very best athletes (and anyone striving to be) in the world.
How: By having the best athletes in the world use and endorse your products over and over.
What: 99% of all wannabe sports enthusiasts think they’ll be “just like Kobe” in the shoes, or putting just like Tiger with the clubs.
Regina Police
(public organization)

Why: to keep Regina safe, together.
How: By putting public service first.
What: respectable, professional, service
UofR Alumni board

Why: to build pride.
How: By engaging with alumni, providing valuable services and creating a community of like-minded people.
What: several events, scholarships, sponsorships, to award alumni, and support UofR events.
Regina Volleyball Club
Why: to grow volleyball.
How: By creating an experience for all athletes in the club that makes them want to come back again and again.
What: teams, programs and camps that people talk about after, that people come back to year after year. Every positive experience creates a future customer.
The Onion
(online news publication)

Why: make people laugh at news
How: create stories that people want to share
What: satirically, yet brilliantly written faux news articles that millions of people consume every day.
Scott Collegiate

Why: my hommies learn here
How: by creating a better, more engaging school experience
What: classes that get attended more, students that learn more, teachers to achieve more.
Strategy Lab
(marketing company)

Why: help people think about marketing differently
How: by working harder and caring more
What: websites, online advertising, social media, and marketing strategies that get talked about.

Download a copy of the Why, How, What Examples

If you want a word document or a pdf of the why, how, what examples. You can down load them here:

Examples of why, how, what strategy Word document 

Examples of why, how, what PDF document